Pediatric & Teen Psychology


The emotional needs of children are similar to those of adults, but developmentally they are not yet fully able to communicate those needs to others. Thus, often adults see a child throwing a tantrum “for no good reason.” However, if the child had the emotional insight and vocabulary he or she might be able to ask for nurturance, comfort, or attention, etc. Traditional “talk therapy” is often not effective for younger children for this reason.

Compass Counseling & Psychology Services staff members who see clients under the age of 12 have extensive training in helping children recognize their emotional needs and find ways to get those needs met more appropriately. Therapy for children often looks like play because this is a child’s natural way of learning and exploring the world.

Treatment plans are tailored to the unique needs of each child.  We firmly believe that parents are the expert on their child and therefore parents and/or other adults in the child’s life will work with their child’s psychologist to form a consistent game plan for behavior change at home and school. Parent and family involvement in the treatment process can greatly increase the success of therapy.


Teens are growing physically, mentally and emotionally at a phenomenal rate. Many parents say their child went from a little kid to a more challenging teenage version of themselves almost overnight. The brain’s frontal lobe–which is tasked with future planning, decision making and personality expression –is not completely developed until a person’s early 20’s. Thus, an adolescent may look physically more like an adult, but developmentally the teenage brain is immature.

While some teens would outwardly disagree, they don’t know everything. Sometimes they will ask questions and discuss situations and feelings with a psychologist that they don’t feel comfortable bringing up with their parent–even if the relationship with the parent is good. The psychologist is a “neutral party” whose only interest is helping them grow and mature.