Child Therapy Services Near Chicago

There are times in every child and adolescent’s life when navigating through a school day, interacting with family members and peers, as well as learning about oneself prove to be overwhelming. Many children and adolescents need extra supportive therapy in order to effectively manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

  • Once you have verified your behavioral health insurance benefits for in network and out of network insurance carriers and completed the intake process, one or several of the following services may be recommended for your child and family.

Individual Therapy

Within individual therapy, the clinicians at Afg Guidance Center strive to create a safe and comfortable environment in which a child or teen can use a variety of tools to understand their thoughts, feelings and behaviors in order to promote change. Given that older children and teens are often better able to communicate verbally, cognitive interventions, better known as talk therapy, in addition to behavioral interventions allow an older child or teen to identify, express, and explore the link between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Also, expressive activities such as creative writing, art and music allow older kids to express themselves. Younger children, including preschoolers, can also use creative activities, better known as play therapy, as a natural way to express themselves. Through a variety of tools, including dolls, sand tray, art, play, and dance/movement, younger children can communicate their thoughts and feelings.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an extremely useful intervention to help a family cope with changes or transitions. We believe in the traditional use of family therapy, where all identified family members join together and guided by a clinician, focus on the acknowledged and agreed upon difficulties. We believe that working with a family provides individual members an opportunity to grow and develop independently, yet collectively as part of the family system. Within the context of family therapy sessions, members learn to understand, appreciate and cope with presenting emotional, behavioral or social problems of a child, teen or parent. Many interventions may be utilized such as talk, play or behavioral strategies aimed at promoting encouragement, nurturing, understanding and ultimately change. We commonly explore the behavioral, social and emotional expectations of each member, and their roles within the family system. We also explore patterns of interactions, as well as, communication between family members. In order to promote change, we look to identify the dynamics that contribute to challenges while seeking to identify the strengths of each member and the system. Additionally, we view family therapy occurring when siblings work together to resolve issues such as concerns of rivalry or adjusting to changes in the family system. It is not uncommon for other identified extended family members such as grandparents or stepparents to become involved in a session if deemed appropriate or helpful.

Group Therapy

Group therapy helps individuals enhance their emotional growth, social awareness and personal problem solving skills. Child and adolescent groups are designed to focus on specific issues such as adhd, depression or anxiety. Groups can also focus on developing social skills, coping skills and self-expression skills. Afg groups are co-led by 2 therapist with a maximum of 8 individual members depending upon the age range of the group. Group members are encouraged to interact with each other by self- reflecting or disclosing their own personal challenges and successes to other members. Issues of confidentiality are regularly discussed and members are encouraged to remain respectful of each other.

ADHD Coaching

ADHD Coaching focuses on help one learn to self-regulate or manage their behaviors. Essentially, the goal of ADHD coaching is to give children and adolescents tools they will be able to use eventually on their own to function more effectively in a variety of problematic situations. Also, coaching targets only 1 or 2 specific behaviors at a time, such as using an assignment notebook daily and putting all completed homework assignments in a designated folder, that are directly related to one’s goals. Additionally, there are daily coaching homework assignments given designed to continue to enhance developing skills. Ultimately, the goals and interventions of ADHD coaching are designed to develop effective habits through the use of repetition and practice that will enable your child or teen to function independently at school, home and within the community.

Therapy Groups

At Afg Guidance Center, we believe that a group therapy setting is a great place to learn and practice developing skills and behaviors in a safe, supportive and structured environment. Group therapy helps individuals enhance their emotional growth, social awareness and personal problem solving skills. Child and adolescent groups are designed to focus on specific issues such as adhd, depression or anxiety. These groups also focus on developing social skills, coping skills and self-expression skills. Afg Guidance Center groups are co-led by 2 therapist with a maximum of 8 individual members depending upon the age range of the group. Group members are encouraged to interact with each other by self- reflecting or disclosing their own personal challenges and successes to other members. Issues of confidentiality are regularly discussed and members are encouraged to remain respectful of each other. Afg Guidance Center’s supportive parent groups provide parents with a venue to discuss their concerns, challenges and successes with each other to learn from and support one another while having their questions answered by the group leaders.

ADHD Group: This group was created to help children and adolescents learn new emotional, behavioral and social skills in four major areas of concern: behaviors, school success, social development, and self-esteem. Each session will teach group participants how to handle different aspects of their ADHD better, and have fun while learning.

Anxiety Coping Skills Group: The overall goal of this group is to teach children and adolescents to recognize signs of unwanted anxious arousal and to let these signs serve as cues for the use of anxiety management strategies. Identifying the cognitive processes associated with excessive anxious arousal, learning cognitive strategies for anxiety management, developing behavioral relaxation skills, as well engaging in performance-based practice opportunities are sequences throughout the group work through during weekly meetings to build positive adaptive skills.

Depression Management Skills Group: The successful treatment of depressed youth is a complex process. Often times too much time is spent on managing behavior and not enough time is spent teaching skills. This group is designed for individual in middle and high school. By using input from real life situations, group participants can integrate concerns into the treatment learning how to take assume an active problem solving approach to life’s challenges. The goal of this group is to produce a change in the way participants perceive themselves, relationships with others, the world in general, and their thoughts and belief regarding their future.

Girls Socialization Support Group: In our fast-paced society, girls are often forced to grow up too quickly. As they navigate their turbulent adolescent years, girls frequently feel alone in their struggles. This is a group designed to give teenage girls an opportunity to feel empowered, gain self-awareness, develop positive coping mechanisms, improve daily problem-solving skills, feels connect with other girls, and make healthy decisions through this often challenging period of their lives.

Parenting Group: As we know, parenting does not come with a guide book. Participants in this group will be provided with a venue where they can ask questions, express their concerns, share their challenges as well as their successes while parenting children and adolescents who are struggling with behavioral health problems. Also, parents have to opportunity to learn techniques that will allow them to increase positive behavior in their children and adolescents as well as decrease the negative behaviors while developing effective, stress-relieving parenting strategies.

College Readiness Group

The AFG College Readiness Group is available to high school students looking to prepare themselves for the rigorous academic, emotional, and social challenges of college life. The program consists of 6-8 group modules designed to bolster both confidence and awareness of the college transition. By educating students and providing an environment open to questions and concerns, the AFG College Readiness Group exists to provide a safe place for students.

Topics prepared by the therapist include:

  • Study Skills: Making better habits
  • Independence: Learning to manage time and autonomy
  • Interests & Choices: How to grow without burning out
  • Relationships: How to keep friends and make new ones
  • Self-Reliance v. Reaching out: When to know the difference
  • Academic Planning: Navigating resources and programs
  • Physical Health: Managing energy, exhaustion, and rest
  • Geography: How to get your bearings and why it matters
  • Success: Setting and achieving short and long term goals