Five Helpful Therapies for Adopted Children
- Play Therapy
- Art and Music Therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Bio-feedback Therapy
- Family Therapy
Adopted children face many challenges when they’re transitioning to a new home – even one with devoted and loving parents. Most adopted children come from situations of abuse and neglect – and many inhabit the purgatorial world of foster care for some time before they are adopted by a family. As discussed in this Huffington Post article, adopted children face a range of psychological issues, from post-traumatic stress to fear of abandonment. But there are a variety of methods adept at successfully transitioning children into an adoptive home. Here are five therapies beneficial to adopted children.
Play therapy incorporates traditional methods of play – dolls, toys, games, and so forth – with open communication with the child to determine their fears, anxieties, and sources of anger – while assisting the child to develop appropriate coping mechanisms in the context of their new life. Play therapy can be done with or without the adoptive parents present, and is one of the most effective ways to help an adopted child adjust to their new home and family – and cope healthfully with past traumas.
Art and Music Therapy
Art and music therapy is helpful to patients of all ages, but especially so to children. Patients are encouraged to explore available mediums freely and express themselves creatively, and in most art and music therapy settings, the therapist instructs the child in techniques or styles that they may enjoy and can incorporate into their creations. Arts therapies have been shown to significantly improve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and to help patients of every stripe in constructively coping with their past history and learning to set goals – whether for their psychological health, schooling, profession, or any other area that requires goal-setting.
Individual therapy serves to help the adoptive child express their feelings freely and without fear of judgment in a safe space. The therapist will work with the child one-on-one to help them work through their feelings and fears, and to advise the child of appropriate methodologies they can use to manage their fears and past traumas, as well as to build healthy and loving relationships with their new families.
Bio-feedback therapy is an excellent option for adoptive children that have experienced significant trauma or abuse. Bio-feedback monitors involuntary bodily responses to past traumas, and helps the patient to become aware of these responses and self-regulate. It is especially helpful for children who have anxiety, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or learning disabilities.
Family therapy constructs a safe and judgment-free setting in which families can discuss their feelings, anxieties, and fears and, in addition, to discuss the joys and positive features of their familial relationships. Adoptive children can, with the help of a qualified family therapist, identify these factors as well, and work with their fellow family members to identify issues and find solutions that will work for the entire family group.
Adoptive children need a great amount of care and compassion, especially when they are newly integrating into their adoptive family. These five therapies – especially if one or more are combined – can serve to help adoptive children feel safe, loved, and welcome within their new family setting, and help them constructively adjust to their new life.