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If you have a broken arm or a bad cold, you go to the doctor for help and to feel better, right? Well, sometimes kids and adults have problems that can't be seen as easily as a broken bone or a runny nose. When people have problems or trouble with emotions, sometimes they see a therapist to get help.

Therapists are experts in the ways people think, feel, and act. They help kids understand feelings, take care of problems, and cope with difficult situations. A therapist's job is to help kids do better and feel better. Therapists do their work mainly by listening to and talking with kids.

Different types of therapists help kids — some are doctors called psychologists (say: sy-KOL-uh-jists) or psychiatrists (say: sy-KY-uh-trists), and some are counselors or social workers.

What Do Therapists Help With?

Therapists help kids with many kinds of things — from small problems to big ones. It all depends on what a kid needs help with.

Many kids need help dealing with strong or difficult feelings. Here are some of the kinds of problems that kids can have:

  • dealing with so much shyness that they don't feel comfortable enough to talk to friends or teachers
  • feeling so worried, stressed, or afraid that they can't sleep, have fun, or enjoy school
  • going through a lot of sadness, depression, or grief
  • having trouble because of too much anger

Therapists can help kids understand any kind of difficult emotion and learn positive ways to react so they can enjoy life more.

Therapists also help kids who are going through difficult family situations — such as divorce, the death of someone close, or a serious health problem. Therapists help kids heal if they have been through things like abuse, violence, or a disaster. When a therapist listens and understands what you're going through, it can help you cope, feel supported, and more confident about better times ahead.

For kids who need it, therapists can teach how to get along better with people — like classmates, brothers or sisters, or parents. Or how to be a better sport when they lose. Or how to wait their turn, play fair, or listen better (so they get in trouble less often!).

For those who need it, therapists can coach kids to get better at learning, paying attention in class, homework, or improving grades. They also can coach kids who need help sticking with a plan for healthy eating, exercise, and getting enough sleep. If you need help quitting a habit that's bad for them, a therapist can help.

Whatever problem a kid is having — you name it! — a therapist can help them learn the skills to solve it, do better, and feel better.