Symptom + Treatment Approach

Clinical Symptoms are negative symptoms that interfere in a child’s life negatively in a persistent way, lowering their level of functioning and impacting healthy development. This is typically why children are brought into therapy.

"Enter into children's play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts and souls meet." 
- Virginia Axline

Clinical Symptoms

Typically children are brought into therapy because they are exhibiting symptoms that are negatively interfering with their life, lowering their level of functioning and impacting healthy development. 


These Symptoms May Include:
  • Difficulty sleeping, recurrent nightmares and chronic bed-wetting

  • Problems with eating (loss of appetite or binging), elimination, toileting

  • Excessive worry, sadness, anger or fear

  • General anxiety separation anxiety, persistent fears, panic, phobias (hyper-arousal)

  • Excessive shyness, social withdrawal, isolation

  • Behavioural/developmental regression

  • Adjustment problems

  • Aggressive behaviour, rage (hurting self or others)

  • Pre-occupation with sexual behaviour

  • Compulsive behaviour

  • Depression and extreme fatigue (hypo-arousal)

  • Self-harm, suicidal ideation

  • Drug and alcohol use

  • Risk-taking behaviours

  • Defiance to authority figures and mistrust in adults

  • Tummy and head aches

  • Persistent lying

  • Zoned out most of the time (freeze mode)

  • Chronic low self-confidence/self-esteem

  • Always in fight or flight mode

  • Diagnosis of behavioural, emotional, or developmental disorder

  • Social and relational challenges, withdrawal from normal play

  • Self-regulation challenges, low affect tolerance

  • School challenges: confusion, trouble concentrating, decline in academic functioning

  • Attachment challenges with important people


Experiences That May Lead to Clinical Symptoms:
  • Parental conflict, separation, or divorce: perceived loss of family unit, caught in the middle, experiencing hostility, moving from one place to another, getting to know new family, new roles, parent instability etc

  • Living in a pandemic

  • General loss: relationship, hope, core beliefs etc

  • Adjustment to adoption, or foster care

  • Illness or hospitalization of self, loved one, or pet

  • Experiencing a car accident, getting in an accident in which they were really hurt

  • Witnessing something scary

  • Certain aspects of cultural and or negative community-based experience

  • Abuse (Sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual and neglect)

  • Natural disasters: war, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami, avalanche, fires etc

  • Relational trauma: bullying, peer rejection, physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual abuse and/or neglect and abandonment, racism, sexism, homophobia, witnessing domestic violence, persistent abuse of power by adults

  • Death & Loss: death of a loved one or pet, witnessing death

  • Miscellaneous traumas:  a single scary incident, accident, personal failures, social problems, animal nips, and nightmares etc

  • Medical/Dental: waking up during surgery with out parents, ongoing medical problems, frightening experience in general

  • Transitions: moving into a new grade, moving from childhood to adolescence, moving homes, living in new neighbourhood, getting to know a new family, new immigrants or refugees (Eg: culture shock, fleeing war or unpleasant circumstance in home country), new sibling

  • Discrimination, racism, hate crime


A Note On Ongoing Distress:

Children and youth who are in environments that contribute to clinical symptoms and unhealthy development are likely in an active state of fight, flight, freeze or shut down. These children will be treated to manage symptoms but cannot be expected to recover from trauma and ongoing challenges because they are not experiences in the past and therefore able to be resolved. Parents/guardians must manage therapeutic expectations in these cases and must be prepared to make interventions in the contexts of the environments which are contributing to the child’s clinical symptoms.

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Kindred Counselling is located at:

Boundary View Plaza

The Enterprise Centre, Suite 201 3701 E Hastings St, Burnaby, BC

T: 604-637-2074

E: tara@kindred-counselling.com 

Kindred Counselling acknowledges and thanks the Coast Salish Nations of Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish on whose traditional territories we work, learn and live.