6 Warning Signs That Your Child May Need Psychiatric Grief Counseling

Has your child recently experienced a traumatic event in his or her life? Whether it is the loss of a loved one or some other type of personal trauma, your child may be having a tough time coping. Some children show outward signs of grief or emotional turmoil while others keep their feelings well hidden. If you suspect your child may need some type of psychiatric therapy to help him or her deal with emotions, be on the lookout for the following indications:

1. A Loss of Interest in Friends, Favorite Activities, or Toys

Does your usually outgoing and cheerful child suddenly seem withdrawn from friends? Does he or she show a lack of interest in favorite activities, sports, or playthings? If your child shows a sudden detachment towards family, friends and everyday activities, it may be time to seek therapy. While it may be normal for a child to experience withdrawal for a short period of time following a traumatic event, if this continues for a long period of time (several weeks, for instance) or interferes with school work or everyday activities, you might want to consider pediatric counseling of some sort.

2. Frequent Bouts of Crying

Does your previously happy child seem very sad and prone to bouts of crying episodes, perhaps with more and more frequency? If he or she gets teary or cries for no apparent reason or at unexpected times, it may be time to consider professional intervention.

3. Frequent Nightmares

Many children who have gone through personal trauma experience frequent nightmares. Does your child have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Has he or she suddenly awoken during the night, seemingly upset or frightened? These may be signs of underlying emotional distress. If your child is unable or unwilling to talk about those bad dreams, a child psychiatrist or therapist may be able to help.

4. Sudden Displays of Aggression

If your child has never been the aggressive type and is usually easy going and even-tempered, yet suddenly has been picking fights at home or at school, this could be a warning sign. Sometimes children find it difficult to express their frustration or sadness through words or through a healthy outlet. For some children, aggression or disruptive behavior becomes their "outlet."

It's not a good idea to look upon these negative behaviors as a passing phase that will resolve on its own, because in many cases, it will not. Aggression is unhealthy and may cause many issues and escalate into a bigger problem if ignored. Speak with your child's school counselor or pediatrician. You may be given advice or a referral to a qualified child psychiatrist or therapist.

5. Self-Destructive Behavior or Threats of Self-Harm

Has your child suddenly become reckless or been placing himself or herself in danger? Has he or she shown signs of self-mutilation through cutting or other harmful actions? Has the child threatened suicide? Don't assume it is an idle threat. If any of these signs are present, you should seek professional psychiatric help for your child at once.

6. A Morbid Curiosity or Preoccupation With Death

Has your child been talking about death or dying a lot? Does he or she speak of being with a departed loved one or family pet that has passed on? If so, your child may need professional counseling to help him or her through the grief before he or she does something drastic.

If your child displays any of the above-mentioned signs or seems extremely sad, moody, or otherwise "out of character," it may be a good idea to seek professional counseling. Through play acting and other means of therapy, your child may get the help he or she needs to resume a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to choose a child psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in pediatric grief counseling. Contact a representative from a company like Comprehensive Behavioral Health Associates Inc for more information.