Children's grief can look much different from the way that adults grieve. A particular child's reaction to a significant death may vary depending on the child's age and the type of relationship he or she had with the person who has died. Very young children are primarily aware of a change in the mood or circumstances of their immediate surroundings. They may display symptoms of anxiety or changes in eating and sleeping habits. School-age children may not yet be able to understand the finality of death, and it's normal for them to ask repetitive questions about the death in order to gradually process what has happened. With this age, it's important to respond honestly and with terminology that is age-appropriate. Preschoolers and elementary-age children often work out their grief through play. Older children may have many questions about the specific details of how the death occurred, and they may exhibit concern about the well-being of adult family members. In all cases, it's not unusual for children to move in and out of active grieving, appearing to be happy or unconcerned at times and sad or angry at other times. Parents should seek out professional help from a children's grief counselor if their child's grief reaction appears to significantly interfere with normal functioning. In the case where the child has lost a caregiver, grief counseling with a focus on play therapy or art therapy can be helpful as the family adjusts to a new way of life.
In individual counseling, you meet privately with a state-licensed counselor in order to make progress toward mental health goals that are set collaboratively. The counselor will use active listening skills and other therapeutic interventions to guide you in exploring and resolving personal difficulties. Counselors are bound by law and professional ethics to respect confidentiality, meaning that none of the details of what you share with your counselor will be disclosed to any third party. Your counselor will not offer specific advice on how to solve your problem; instead, he or she will guide you in developing your own internal resources in order to find a satisfactory solution. Individual counseling is appropriate for adults, teenagers, or children who need professional support with a specific issue related to emotional wellness, interpersonal relationships, or situational problems. Individual counseling is different from family therapy in that the focus is on supporting and developing one person's resources, rather than meeting the needs of the family as a group.