My Approach to Christian Counseling for Children and Teens with Anxiety
As a Christian, your faith means everything to you. It’s not just a belief system but a committed way of living. Your values, perspectives, and decisions all identify you as a follower and lover of Jesus.
And as a parent, you’ve done your best to instill faith-filled values and beliefs into your children. But the world can be a tough place for young Christians right now. There are so many different political, moral, and religious perspectives – all competing for our children’s attention through technology and 24-hour media.
It can be hard for them to process their own thoughts amid all the noise. It’s no wonder that teen anxiety is on the rise even among Christians.
Clearly, you want someone who is skilled at working with kids and teens with anxiety and who gets great results.
But you also want someone who is equally strong in their Christian faith and who understands how to bring God into your child’s healing process.
A Christian Perspective on Online Anxiety Therapy for Kids and Teens
At Briefly Counseling, I understand that your child’s mental and spiritual health are interdependent on one another.
And that’s why I integrate the Christian worldview with one of the most effective counseling approaches available today – Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. I have found this combination to produce excellent outcomes.
What is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)?
In short, Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a questions-based process that inspires your child to create change quickly.
This change is produced by asking your child to describe what their life will look and feel like should online therapy be successful.
I love using the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) approach because it’s quick and effective.
How Do I as a Christian Therapist in Illinois and Florida Work with Your Child and Teen?
Sometimes it can be hard to imagine what integrating a counseling approach such as Solution Focused Brief Therapy with Christian beliefs would look like.
To start with, let’s take a look at some of the main views I hold about your child.
Your child has the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Because your child has the mind of Christ, they already have the capacity to answer questions and arrive at where they want to go. God has given them tremendous abilities, competencies, and traits to use in making changes in their life.
I believe your child has a specific set of resources and skills that will ultimately free their life of the problem. God has given them exactly what they need to successfully implement change. It’s a matter of helping your child become aware of these internal and external resources.
Your child has been given hope. (Romans 15:13)
Most of my clients are not exactly abounding in hope when they first come to see me. They often feel defeated and unsure of how to move forward. They might struggle to believe that they have what it takes to move towards fewer anxiety symptoms. But there’s also the hopeful side of them that whispers that change might just be possible.
I see it as my job to remind them that God is a God of hope and that nothing is too difficult for Him. I ask questions to the hopeful version of your child because when they do move forward, it will be this hopeful version that accomplishes it.
Your child deserves both my hope and expectancy and I remind them that God is faithful to complete the work He has started.
Your child is strong. (Psalm 18:39)
Every person has moments where they forget how amazing, powerful, and strong they are, especially anxious kids and teens. Often, they may need others to tell them just how wonderfully made they really are.
They need to be reminded of how God has already armed them with strength and given them all they need to overcome. Once kids grasp this truth, they can take steps to conquer almost any problem they face in life. When you view kids and teens as strong, that’s who they become.
Your child can do hard things. (Philippians 4:13)
Because your child can do all things through God who has equipped, strengthened and empowered them, I talk to this capable version of your child. I see your child as more than capable of achieving what they want.
Now just because your child has anxiety does not mean they lack motivation and I consider it my job to help them discover what they’re motivated towards. Already inherent in your child are the resources, skills, and strengths they need to resolve their problem. Often only the smallest of movements is needed to set in motion a solution to the problem.
Setting Your Child’s Expectation for Our First Online Christian Counseling Session
Sometimes kids and teens can be wary of online therapy because they’re unfamiliar with the process. Often just reviewing the flow of a typical counseling session can ease any fears or hesitation.
Every session is different, of course just as every child is unique. However, I do follow a similar structure:
Tell me about yourself.
Getting to know my client’s story is such an honor. And so, I will always start off by asking your child to tell me a little bit about themselves. I may ask them to tell me about their family, favorite friend, or person in their life as well as pets, hobbies, and fun activities they’re involved in.
If appropriate, I may also ask the following questions: What is your relationship to God like and how do you feel about Him? Do you sense His presence and help when feeling anxious or is He more distant? What are you good at and what quality are you most grateful to God for giving you?
What are your best hopes from our talking together?
Sometimes this question can also take the form of “What have you been hoping for as a result of talking to me?” From the start, it’s important for your child to understand that they determine what we talk about as well as decide whether our work together is useful to them.
For many kids and teens with anxiety, best hopes usually take the form of wanting to be happy, relaxed, confident, and brave.
What would you begin to notice if this were true in your life?
In other words, if this happy, relaxed, confident, and brave version of your child were to start showing up more, what would be the first sign to them that things were different? We look at the detailed descriptions of what might be different in their lives including their relationship to God and others.
In all my questions, I’m inferring that their best hopes can and likely will become a reality. I’m communicating that they have the ability to shift their patterns of attention and behavior (along with God’s help) and begin to experience less anxiety in their lives.
What resources and instances of success support your best hopes?
Once your child has described in detail what their best hopes achieved would look like, we get to work looking for signs that they’re already happening in your child’s life. These signs may be happening in the present or recent past.
The point is to highlight anything they’re doing or have done in the past that fits with attaining the future they’ve been describing in detail. What I’m looking for your child to articulate is this – What resources and strengths do I have in my life that make my best hopes possible?
Thank you for your time.
When finishing a counseling session, I always thank your child for their willingness to work and acknowledge their patience in answering my questions! I also summarize whatever your child has said that could be helpful in making further progress.
I don’t give homework per se, but I do ask them to continue noticing when their best hopes are present. Other than that, I simply honor the process and trust that God is leading your child to their destination.
Setting Your Child’s Expectation for Follow-Up Sessions in Online Christian Counseling in Illinois and Florida
Because God is dynamic and always moving in our lives, I assume that some change (even if it’s small) has taken place between sessions. It may not be readily apparent to your child and so my role is to help them notice. My first question in a follow-up session then is almost always: “What’s been better since we last met?”
Based on your child’s answers, we look at how God has been active in their lives that week and how they partnered with God to make progress or change happen.
These are some of my favorite questions to ask:
- “How did these changes happen?”
- “What did you do to have life be different for you?”
- “How did God help you make these changes?”
- “If these changes were to continue, how would you notice or what would continue to be different?”
- “What have you drawn on inside of yourself to make these changes?”
- “Or what has God given you that allows you to do this?”
- “What’s something you didn’t know about yourself before but now do?”
- “And what does this say about you?”
And even if nothing actually got better from one session to the next, your child still did something to prevent their anxiety symptoms or situation from getting far worse. We would then have a conversation about what actions your child did take.
Four Benefits of Online Christian Counseling for Teens and Children in Illinois and Florida
There are numerous benefits to having your child work with a Christian therapist when receiving counseling for anxiety. Here are four important ones.
Our conversations honor God and Biblical beliefs.
Always respectful of how much your child wants to integrate their faith into our counseling sessions, I will incorporate God’s Word as desired. I let your child take the lead and do not impose an agenda. I always welcome the opportunity to process their problems/concerns through a Biblical lens as well as explore their beliefs and relationship to God.
Online Christian therapy sessions are non-judgmental and safe.
My approach is to be warm, nonjudgmental, and Christlike in all my interactions with clients. I want your child to feel safe, welcomed, and accepted for who they are. Your child can talk to me about any problem or issue they are facing without fear of condemnation or shame.
Your child’s faith journey is respected.
No two people are alike and that includes their faith journey. Some kids and teens are spiritually mature and wish to integrate their faith a great deal in our online Christian counseling sessions. Others are just beginning their walk of faith. Wherever your child falls on the continuum, I simply meet them where they’re at.
The application of faith is key.
Sometimes kids and teens have a difficult time applying their faith to everyday problems or challenging situations. They struggle because they don’t know what that looks like exactly. By receiving online Christian counseling that aligns with their spiritual beliefs, your child will gain an understanding of how to apply what they’re learning into everyday life.
Why Christian Counseling in Illinois and Florida and SFBT Work So Well Together
Let’s be honest, most anxious kids and teens would rather be anywhere than in a therapy office no matter how helpful it might be. Online therapy not only takes up precious time but can also feel intimidating. I understand the hesitancy.
That’s why Christian counseling and Solution Focused Brief Therapy are such a great combination. Your child gets the Biblical worldview and values you desire plus a proven and effective therapeutic approach that facilitates change in the shortest amount of time.
Here are 4 additional benefits your child gains from receiving anxiety treatment in Illinois at Briefly Counseling:
The average number of online therapy sessions is 5.
At Briefly Counseling, we work quickly and effectively. Most clients receive anywhere from 4 to 7 sessions with the average being 5. From the start, we’re already working with termination in mind. The goal is to provide only the number of sessions truly needed, useful and that promote change in your child’s life.
We ask God to help your child creatively build change.
Through prayer, your child is encouraged to ask God what He wants to change in their thinking and/or behavior. Together, we then explore that creative world where things could be different. What might your child notice or be like if they found themselves in that world?
Your child’s God-given abilities and resources are emphasized.
Change occurs because your child chooses to participate in it. What specific actions did they take to make the change happen? How did they rely on the abilities and resources generously given to them by God? How confident are they that they can facilitate further change in their life given the success they just had?
Your child begins to understand that they have more control over their lives than perhaps originally thought. Change happens because your child decides to make it happen.
Online therapy ends when you and your child see progress.
At Briefly Counseling, we work with the end in sight. We do not believe that more therapy is better. Once your child’s anxiety has decreased and they are confident they can maintain the changes they have made, we begin to taper off our sessions. This usually takes the form of stretching out the time between sessions. Termination then evolves into a natural ending.
Begin Christian Online Counseling for Kids and Teens with Anxiety in Illinois and now Florida!
Using a Biblical worldview, I help kids and teens reduce their anxiety and build resilience so they can become a happier, more confident version of themselves.
As an experienced and caring Christian therapist, I love providing counseling for anxiety. To start your child’s counseling journey, call me at 224-236-2296 or email Helena@BrieflyCounseling.com to schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation.
Whether you’re on the North Shore, in Naperville, Chicago, Champaign, Barrington, Libertyville, Glenview, or downstate Illinois, I can help.
And effective 2024, I am now licensed in Florida! For parents in Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Crestview, Coral Gables, Weston, Parkland, Naples, Marco Island, and Pinecrest, I have immediate openings.
Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.