Child Behavior and Anger Management Counseling

CHILD THERAPY FOR BEHAVIOR AND ANGER

Many children have large emotions. Our child anger and behavioral management therapy works with families to find lasting behavioral solutions for kids and teens.

Is your child prone to violent and explosive outbursts at the slightest trigger?

Is your child prone to violent and explosive outbursts at the slightest trigger? Is this creating significant problems at home or school? Behavior and anger issues in a child can be frustrating to deal with as a parent. It can make us parents lose our own temper as well, frustrated as to what to do next. We understand. We have helped parents find solutions for all kinds of behavioral issues in their child.

In addition to specific issues caused by poor emotional regulation, a mistempered child can upset family dynamics. Because families act as a system, difficult behaviors in one member can reverberate among others, causing stress and anxiety among parents for example.

Many parents feel that they are to blame and while parenting contributes to behavior among children there are many other factors outside of one’s control. Understand that this isn’t your fault, and helping your child find solutions is the best step forward for everyone in the family.

With the proper attitude and approach “normalcy” is possible. Our child therapists have helped families find the solutions that are best for them.

Signs that your child may benefit from behavior and anger management therapy:

  • Physically hurting themselves, others, animals, etc.
  • Threatens physical harm to resolve issues
  • Frequent tantrums (especially past age 4)
  • Having the smallest provocation send them over the edge
  • Frequently lose friends due to their anger or emotional outbursts 
  • Yelling/screaming
  • Bodyshakes, stomachaches
  • Constant interruptions
  • Attention craving behavior
  • Refusing to follow directions often

Anger Issues in Kids are Common

Being upset or showing anger is one of our most basic emotions, and is also one of the main reasons we see children in therapy. Your first reaction may want to ask your kid “What do you even have to be angry about? You are a kid!” The truth is that kids face many pressures that are of major importance to them, pressures that we’ve long forgotten. The increasing hours of school and decreasing emphasis on playtime deprives children of the healthy emotional outlets that once let that pressure escape.  

Often the pressure on parents to be seen as having perfectly “normal” kids can backfire. If we are constantly asking our kids to suppress their difficult emotions in order to seem okay, we only end up teaching them to bottle them up more and in turn let their emotions control them more than they control their emotions. Our years of experience have shown us and alternatives in behavioral management therapy helps kids learn to express themselves in a healthy way.

Our Approach to Anger and Behavior Management

Our approach to anger management is the same as any of our other emotional behavioral management approaches. We first help children conceptualize their anger (for some as a tangible object) and help them work though how that emotion impacts them. 

We use  a mindfulness approach at the core of our work in which we help kids find a new relationship to their emotions in which they can accept that negative thoughts are there without fighting them or totally giving into the impulse of them. It takes time to help kids become masters of their emotions, but the payoff is wonderful. Some kids also find benefit in small emotion management techniques and approaches that they can use during the day. 

When we help children find greater mindfulness over their emotions, we help them to become more aware of their thoughts and emotions, reduce irritability, and build healthy responses to obstacles. 

On top of emotionally and mindfulness focused work we also draw from cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT, art therapy, play therapy, behavioral homework (kids and parents), and games to promote healthy communication and emotional regulation. 

As children graduate therapy they are able to communicate their feelings clearly, and work well with other children with less issues. 

As we conclude therapy in the teenage years, children should be able to let their anger pass quickly and be able to come to compromises with other people in their life rather than lash out.

Behavior and Attention-seeking

Many behavior issues have their roots in wanting attention (especially from parents). Kids can act in a certain way knowing that you will respond and pay closer attention to them. Keep an eye out for this, if you spend a day where there is a lot of 1-on-1 time with the child, do they have less outbursts? 

That’s not to say that the solution is to cave and always give them attention all of the time, but noticing it is there is the first step. Lasting solutions require a retraining of the family dynamics from both the parent and child during therapy. 

Executive Functioning

Executive functioning is the process through which children analyze tasks, prioritize them and break them into steps. Children that have difficulty with this often also have learning difficulties as they find it difficult to be organized, remember tasks, do homework and finish tasks. The fact is that all children are born with the potential to develop executive functioning skills, some children just may need more support getting there. 

Our approach to help children build these skills involves ‘scaffolding’, which helps them practice some basic skills in a controlled environment before using them in daily life. We like to think of the part of the brain that controls executive functioning as similar to a muscle that we help your child exercise. 

Behavior and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Sometimes when we talk about poor behavior management we can find the root cause is due to an autism spectrum disorder. If your child isn’t registering their classmates emotions (perhaps playing rough without knowing they went too far) autism may be at play. Children can behave in a way that hurts others, because they may not recognize that they are hurting others. This can make it difficult for them to make friends. Autistic children also tend to have big emotions that they can’t prioritize as well as other kids.  

When it comes to autism there are tried and true actions that can help. At Acuity when dealing with autism, we use the gold standard approach: applied behavioral analysis (ABA). The specifics of this approach vary depending on the child, but overall they increase communication, social and academic skills. 

For example, an autistic child that is socially anxious may spend time learning real world skills like saying “hello” to others they meet. This may start within therapy and branch out to homework in day to day life. After all, the end goal of ABA is to teach skills and perspectives that can be applied to daily life. 

While we don’t work with children who only have ASD and no other condition, we do work on any other mental health issues associated with autism. For example, 40% of children with autism also have anxiety. Read more about our approach to anxiety in children. Any number of other mental health concerns are common in children with autism as well. Including depression and trauma.

 

Advice for Parents:
Anger Issues in Kids

 

Don’t judge your child for displaying a negative emotion (like anger), but do restrict the bad behaviors that come with that. Say “It’s okay to be angry,” but set strong limits with immediate consequences.

Use positive reinforcement rather than guilt and shame to encourage progress.

Reinforce the skills and ideas taught in therapy during daily life.

You can’t fight fire with fire, don’t get angry to control an angry child. 

Work with the child to identify the triggers that make them angry and what they think about their anger, how they feel when angry (tense, scared, etc.) Bring these insights into session.

 

Frequently Asked Questions for Children/Teen Counseling

Do you prescribe medication for children?

We typically suggest that parents start with talk therapy before jumping into medication. Once we have a good grasp on what the situation is, we connect parents with psychopharmacologists in the area who can prescribe appropriate medications. Generally, we listen to the cues of parents on this. Some parents avoid medicating their child and we can work with a more naturalistic approach (but we will advise what we think may be best as well).

Will you disagree with my parenting?

We won’t criticise your parenting, but will follow your lead. However, issues in families and in children typically are related to the family system.That means that the best results happen when there is significant parental involvement and buy-in. We will suggest certain actions you can take in terms of your parenting, but we understand that ultimately the responsibility lies in your methods

Do you work with divorced parents?

We do work with divorced parents. We will collaborate primarily with whatever parent is bringing the child to therapy. If you have joint custody that may mean we work with parents on alternatinating weeks. If the parents can be civil then they can both be included in group sessions when needed. In any case, we don’t take sides between parental conflicts, and prefer to have a parenting plan in place when it comes to implementation of therapy solutions. Please note that our therapists are mandated court reporters. We must report any instances of abuse, hurt, neglect, financial exploitation or serious threats children make to others or themselves.

Which therapist is right for us?

Let us help you find the right therapist. Many of our therapists specialize in anxiety, so view our profiles online to learn more about specific counselors specializing in anxiety treatment or speak with our Client Care Coordinator, who can help you with a personalized match to the right therapist for your needs. 

Finding the RIGHT therapist is the most important piece of reaching your goals.

How long does Therapy take?

Counseling works best within the framework of a safe and trusted therapeutic alliance. Since it takes time to build this relationship with your therapist, we recommend committing to weekly sessions for at least 8 weeks. Research shows that consistency adds to the positive outcomes of therapy. Once you reach your 8-week goal, you and your therapist can discuss a frequency of sessions that will support your continued success.

I’ve never done therapy before...What can I expect in my sessions?

The unknown of anything new can make it scary. Especially if you’ve never been to counseling before. Let us show you the “roadmap” so you know what to expect:

1st Session:
This first meeting is an introduction for both you and your counselor. Your therapist will explain the therapy process and go over the specifics of informed consent. From there, your therapist will gather additional information about your history, current circumstances, as well as struggles and personal strengths, which will help them to define a treatment plan that aligns with your goals. 

This is also the chance for you to learn more about your therapist. We encourage you to ask questions and get to know them; the relationship you build with your therapist will be the most important part of your work together. 

2nd Session and Future sessions:
In your weekly sessions, you and your therapist will use evidenced based therapies such as CBT, Mindfulness or ACT, to help you address your symptoms of worry, stress and anxiety. For anxiety rooted in trauma, or related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), your therapist may recommend treatment with EMDR.

Closing Sessions:
Our goal is for you to find relief from your anxiety and be ready to “graduate” from therapy. In the last few sessions with your therapist, you will review your initial goals, the progress you have made, and solidify your new skills for managing anxiety in your life. At your last meeting together, you’ll have the time for the meaningful goodbye with your therapist.

How much does Counseling cost?

We strive to create access to high quality mental healthcare for everyone. Our therapists’ rates vary by experience and specialized training. We will make every effort to find the right therapist for you. 

Acuity Counseling also accepts health insurance and offers both in-network and out-of-network coverage. 

We are in-network partners with: 

Aetna

Cigna

First Choice

Premera Blue Cross

* We do not participate in EAP plans

Why don’t you only use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

While we use CBT as an aspect of our therapeutic approaches, we know that every individual is different. No one responds to any method perfectly, so by employing many techniques we are able to provide the most personalized support. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is talked about in relation to mental health so often because it has a large body of research behind it and is easy to replicate across all cases. This is why you may hear it called “evidence based,” which it certainly is. However, we use other evidence based therapies in conjunction with CBT in our therapies.

How can I evaluate whether therapy is working?

Acuity is unique because we use research backed questionnaires to assess your mood, goals and progress. From time to time we may share with you your progress on these reports, “you report being angry 30% less days than when you started therapy,” and then ask what your goals for the future may be. We have found that by having clients set their own goals and following up regularly we can achieve better results.

Is medication used in conjunction with your therapy?

Some conditions for some people are best treated with the help of medication. If we find it necessary after our initial assessments, we will discuss types of medication, your comfort with it, and the pros and cons of medication with you. If you so choose, we can refer you to the appropriate psychopharmacologist in the area. If you are already on medication, we will coordinate treatment with your primary provider.

How long does therapy take?

Counseling works best within the framework of a safe and trusted therapeutic alliance. Since it takes time to build this relationship with your therapist, we recommend committing to weekly sessions for at least 8 weeks. Research shows that consistency adds to the positive outcomes of therapy. Once you reach your 8-week goal, you and your therapist can discuss a frequency of sessions that will support your continued success.

Break-free and begin your journey to

Your best
YOU.

There is a future life where trauma does not control your day. Imagine yourself feeling calm, confident and ready to handle new situations with ease. The tools to living the life you have always envisioned are here, at your fingertips.

Acuity Counseling can help.

 

Schedule your therapy session online

Reach out directly to our Client Care Coordinator for questions, matching, and scheduling:

Online Counseling

Our services are also available online through Zoom. Telehealth/Online counseling gives you the opportunity to explore your challenges in life without complicating your daily schedule.

GET STARTED

If you have questions and would like to talk about any of our counseling services, please reach out for a complimentary phone consultation or send us an email.

First Session Within 72 Hours of Calling

We book you an appointment within 24 hours of contacting us (usually less) and make sure your first appointment is soon after.

Seattle: 206-922-2376

Bellevue: 425-549-3242

Bothell/Woodinville: 206-910-9476

info@acuitycounseling.net

for Billing questions call:
206-910-9476

 

SCHEDULING

Use our Online Scheduling Tool or call our office to schedule your appointment, or for any changes regarding scheduling.

Schedule by phone: 206-910-9476

INSURANCE

Counseling services are often covered in full or in part by your health insurance company. Acuity Counseling proudly accepts most major health insurance plans.

Aetna

First Choice

HMA

Meritain

Cigna

GEHA

Sound Health & Wellness

We do not participate
in EAP Plans

Acuity Counseling Locations

Seattle

Bellevue

Bothell/Woodinville

BELLEVUE, WA
Cascade Place II
12729 Northup Way, Suite 6
Bellevue WA 98005
(206) 910-9476

SEATTLE, WA
Plaza 600 Building
600 Stewart St, Suite 1228
Seattle WA 98101
(206) 910-9476

BOTHELL/WOODINVILLE
Falcon View
12900 NE 180th St, Suite 160
Bothell, WA 98011
(206) 910-9476

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