August 17, 2023by Shari Markovich

Are you concerned about your child or teen’s mental health? Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy, can be an effective tool to help young people struggling with a wide range of emotional and behavioural issues, such as anxiety in children and depression in teens. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of how CBT works and explore its many benefits, as well as provide tips for making sure your child or teenager is getting the most out of their therapy sessions.

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioural therapy has gained much popularity in recent years, particularly for its effectiveness in treating behavioural problems in children. This form of therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns, which can lead to more positive behaviours. By helping children understand the link between their emotions and actions, CBT therapists can offer children a practical, evidence-based approach to managing their behaviour.

While CBT techniques vary based on the individual needs of each child, the goal of CBT for children and teens is always the same: to help children achieve their full potential by teaching them to become more aware of their thoughts and emotions, and to develop the skills they need to control them.

Who Can Benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

While cognitive therapy was initially designed for adults struggling with depression and anxiety, today CBT is used to treat children and teens with a variety of behavioural and mental health issues, such as:

  • Anxiety in children, such as generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or specific phobias
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), specifically children who need support in managing impulsivity, improving attention, and developing organizational skills
  • Aggression, oppositional behaviour, conduct disorder, or defiance
  • Trauma-related issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or the effects of adverse experiences
  • Depression in teens, including low mood, loss of interest, and feelings of hopelessness
  • Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias or fears that significantly impact their daily functioning.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

In essence, CBT empowers children and teens to take control of their own thoughts and emotions, enabling them to overcome their negative beliefs and emotions. Below is a step-by-step guide on how CBT works.

  1. Assessment and Collaborative Relationship: The first step of CBT involves conducting a thorough assessment of the child’s symptoms, family dynamics, social environment, and any other relevant factors. This assessment helps to create a collaborative relationship between the therapist and child, which is essential for successful treatment.
  1. Identification of Negative Thoughts and Beliefs: Once the initial assessment has been completed, the CBT therapist will work with the child to identify any negative thoughts or beliefs that may be contributing to their symptoms. This can be done through a variety of techniques such as cognitive restructuring, journaling, or role-playing.
  1. Cognitive Restructuring: The next step is to help the child replace their negative thoughts with more positive ones. This can be done by teaching them new ways of thinking about situations and teaching them how to challenge irrational beliefs or distorted thinking patterns.
  1. Behaviour Activation and Skills Training: CBT for children also focuses on teaching new skills that can help children manage their emotions more effectively and increase positive behaviours. This includes teaching relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
  1. Exposure and Desensitization: For children who are struggling with anxiety-related issues, exposure therapy may be used in order to gradually desensitize them from fear-inducing triggers or situations. This involves exposing the child to increasingly difficult scenarios while providing coping strategies for managing fear or distress.
  1. Homework and Practice: Throughout treatment, it is important for children to practice what they have learned outside of cognitive therapy sessions in order for it to become a habit or part of their daily routine. Thus, anxiety therapists will often assign homework that allows children to practice new skills they have learned.
  1. Evaluation and Monitoring: Finally, it is important for psychotherapists and CBT therapists to evaluate progress throughout treatment in order to ensure that the goals set forth at the beginning of treatment are being met effectively over time.

Benefits of CBT for Children and Teens

Below are the many benefits of CBT for children and teens:

  • Effective for various mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and disruptive behaviour disorders.
  • Develops practical coping skills for managing emotions, thoughts, and behaviours
  • Targets and challenges negative thinking patterns to promote more balanced and realistic thoughts
  • Enhances self-esteem and promotes a positive self-image
  • Improves social skills and interpersonal relationships
  • Provides skills to prevent relapse and maintain long-term well-being
  • Involves the parents and support for better outcomes
  • Can be implemented in school settings for early intervention and broader reach
  • Supported by evidence-based research demonstrating its effectiveness

Benefits of CBT for Parents and Caregivers

Not only can cognitive behavioural therapy benefit children, but it can also help parents and caregivers in numerous ways, such as:

  • Gain understanding and support in managing their child’s mental health challenges
  • Learn effective communication strategies to foster a healthier parent-child relationship
  • Develop coping skills to manage their own stress and emotions
  • Acquire problem-solving techniques to address family challenges and support their child’s problem-solving skills
  • Reinforce therapy at home, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes
  • Focus on self-care and setting boundaries for maintaining their own well-being
  • Learn enhanced parenting skills for promoting positive behaviours and healthy discipline
  • Experience decreased stress and guilt related to their child’s mental health challenges
  • Promote long-term family well-being and support their child’s ongoing mental health needs

Ready to Support Your Child’s Mental Health? Get CBT Now!

When it comes to getting therapy for your child or teen, you want to ensure you choose the best possible approach. At Family Matters Centre, we believe that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective option for children and teens dealing with emotional and mental health challenges.

Our team of experienced child therapists in Burlington offers individualized CBT sessions to help your child learn to manage their thoughts and behaviours. Our teen counselling services also use CBT to support teenagers struggling with a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

If you’re looking for a child counselling or a CBT therapist near you, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.


If you’re a parent, hearing that your child is being bullied can be both devastating and unnerving. Unfortunately, bullying has become increasingly common in schools today. According to a recent survey, approximately one in three Canadian students report being bullied at school.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a parent if your child is getting bullied. In this blog post, we will provide you with an invaluable guide on what to do if your child is getting bullied and how to best handle the situation.

Signs That Your Child Is Getting Bullied

As a parent, it is important to be aware of the signs that your child may be getting bullied. Some common signs include changes in your child’s behaviour or social life such as:

  • Your child is suddenly withdrawn and anxious
  • Your child’s grades have slipped
  • Your child has unexplained bruises or injuries
  • Your child is losing friends or is being excluded from social activities
  • Your child is afraid to take the bus or walk to school
  • Your child is acting out aggressively

Steps to Take if Your Child Is Getting Bullied

If you suspect that your child may be getting bullied, it is important to have an open and honest conversation with them and their school. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Talk to Your Child: Ask your child what has been going on and if there is anything that has been making them feel uncomfortable or upset. Always listen to your child and never dismiss their feelings.
  • Report the Bullying to the School: If your child is being bullied at school, you should contact the school immediately. Let the school know what is going on and ask them what they are doing to address the situation.
  • Document the Bullying: Keep a record of when and where the bullying occurred, as well as any witnesses who may have seen it happening. This documentation will be helpful if the bullying continues.
  • Encourage Your Child to Speak up for Themselves: One of the best ways to help your child deal with bullying is to teach them coping mechanisms and how best to speak up for themselves. Show them how to be assertive and confident when dealing with bullies.
  • Help Your Child Build Self-Esteem and Resilience: If your child is being bullied, let them know that they are worthy and loved despite the negative words of others. Provide them with opportunities to build their self-esteem through activities they enjoy.
  • Provide a Safe and Supportive Environment: It is also crucial to create a safe and supportive environment by being truly present and listening when they need to talk. Show them that it’s okay to come to you for help and that you will always be there for them.

What Not to Do When Your Child Is Getting Bullied

While there are many things you can do as a parent if you suspect your child is being bullied, there are also a few things you shouldn’t do.

  • Don’t Get Physical: It can be tempting to want to retaliate against the child who is bullying your child, but it’s important to resist this urge. Getting physical will only escalate the situation and could result in your child getting hurt or suspended.
  • Don’t Blame Your Child: Bullying is never the victim’s fault and placing blame will only make your child feel worse about himself or herself. Let them know that it’s not their fault and they didn’t do anything to deserve it.
  • Don’t Ignore It: It’s important to take action if your child is being bullied. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Instead, this will send the message to your child that you don’t care about what he or she is going through and could make the situation worse.

How Family Matters Centre Can Help Your Child Cope with Bullying

At Family Matters Centre, we understand the challenges that come with helping your child navigate bullying. That’s why we offer both parenting and child counselling services to help both you and your child find effective coping strategies.

Our team of experienced parenting therapists in Burlington can provide support and guidance to parents while helping children build their resilience and develop positive self-esteem. In addition to one-on-one counselling sessions, we also provide group therapy options for children to connect with peers who may be experiencing similar challenges, such as our No Bullies Allowed bullying recovery group.

If you’re looking for child therapists in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.


March 9, 2023by Shari Markovich

Are you worried about your child’s mental health and looking for a child therapist in Burlington who can help? You’re not alone, as many parents find themselves at this important fork in the road. Seeking out counselling is an incredibly personal decision, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. With the right guidance, you can confidently select the best therapist for your family and ensure that your child gets all of the help they need. In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide for how to find a counsellor for your child.

1. Define Your Family’s Needs

Before you begin your search for a child therapist in Hamilton or the surrounding areas, it is important to take some time to think about your family’s specific needs. What type of help does your child need? Are you looking for someone who specializes in a certain issue, such as anxiety or ADHD? Knowing what you are looking for will help you narrow down your options.

2. Do Some Research

Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you can start doing some research. Talk to friends and family members who have been through the process of finding a child therapist. Ask them for recommendations and advice. You can also look online for lists of therapists in your area or read online reviews.

3. Review the Potential Therapist’s Background and Credentials

When looking for a child therapist, it is important to make sure that they have the proper credentials. Ask about their experience working with children, as well as what type of therapy they specialize in. Some therapists specialize in treating specific disorders, such as anxiety or ADHD, while others work with children of all ages and backgrounds.

4. Ask Questions about Their Treatment Plan

One of the most important things you can do when searching for a therapist is to ask questions about the approach they take to treating children and families. Do they typically practice family systems therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), humanistic therapy, or any other therapeutic model?

5. Discuss Your Specific Goals and Expectations for Therapy

What are you ultimately trying to achieve? Is there an underlying issue or event that your child needs help processing? Do you need advice with parenting skills related to your child’s needs? Having clarity regarding what you hope to get out of therapy will help narrow down what type of professional you should look for and provide helpful context when speaking with candidates.

6. Consider Your Child’s Preferences

Your child should also be involved in the decision-making process and feel comfortable speaking with the therapist. Consider what kind of atmosphere and energy they would prefer and talk with your child and establish what they would be most comfortable with—whether it be a male, female, older, or younger therapist.

7. Make Sure You Feel Comfortable with the Therapist

Lastly, you want to make sure that you are both comfortable and confident with the person who will be taking care of your child’s mental health. Look for important qualities such as listening skills, professionalism, and empathy. In addition, try to schedule an initial meeting with the child therapist so you can gauge their communication style and interact personally before making a final decision.

Contact Family Matters Centre to Talk to a Child Therapist in Burlington

If your child is struggling and needs the help of a child therapist in Burlington, Hamilton, or the surrounding areas, Family Matters Centre is the place to turn. Our anxiety therapists and psychotherapists in Burlington use evidence-based strategies to provide effective treatments for children and families, ensuring a positive outcome.

Not only are our therapists experienced and qualified, but they also provide personalized services catered to your child’s specific needs. We recognize that this can be a difficult decision to make, which is why we provide counselling services tailored to each family’s unique circumstances.

If you’re looking for a child therapist in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.


February 10, 2023by Shari Markovich

Are you worried about changes in your child’s behaviour? Does it often feel like there is something wrong, but you can’t quite put a finger on it? Have they become anxious or withdrawn from their usual activities, friendships, and energetic lifestyle? If so, these may be warning signs that your child could benefit from speaking with a child therapist in Burlington or the surrounding areas.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the common behaviours to look out for if you suspect your child might need some extra help.

Extreme Anger and Temper Tantrums

One of the clearest signs that your child may need child group therapy or teen counselling services is when extreme anger and temper tantrums become more frequent and less manageable. When these outbursts can’t be controlled with typical methods such as redirection or creativity, it could point to deeper issues that might require professional attention.

Strain on Family Relationships

When your child is having difficulty managing their emotions or coping with life’s difficulties and it begins to strain family relationships, this can be a sign they might need help. Instead of resorting to punitive actions when families are struggling, you should seek out professional advice and resources to help them better manage their difficult emotions.

Variations in Eating and Sleep Patterns

Variations in eating and sleeping patterns can be a major sign that your child may need to speak with a child counsellor. Unusual changes in daily routine of your teen, such as going to bed late or skipping meals, can indicate feelings of deep distress and inner turmoil.  In a child, a significant change in the amount of sleep or in appetite may be indicators. If you notice these types of signs in your child, it could mean they are struggling with difficult emotions and require some help from a mental health professional.

Constant Feelings of Fear, Worry, or Anxiety

It can be heartbreaking to witness your child struggling with fear, worry, or anxiety. If these feelings seem constant and they are affecting your child’s daily life, it may be an indication that they need to talk to somebody outside of the family. An excessive level of intense emotions can interfere with a child’s ability to form healthy relationships and lead them to potentially negative coping strategies.

Self-Destructive Behaviour

Self-destructive behaviour can take many forms, such as cutting oneself, using drugs or alcohol to cope, or even expressing suicidal thoughts. If your child’s negative behaviour is putting their safety at risk, then it’s time to seek professional help from a teen therapist. It may not be easy to talk about these issues, but encouraging your child to share their feelings with a counsellor can provide them with the emotional support they need to lead a healthy and happy life.

Losing Interest in Daily Activities

If your child suddenly shows a decline in interest in the daily activities they used to enjoy or participate in, it may be a sign that your child is dealing with some emotional issues. This could include hobbies, sports, or simply hanging out with friends. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a child counsellor in Burlington if you feel that your child’s lack of motivation is a red flag for underlying issues.

Inability to Focus

If your child has always been able to concentrate on tasks, but now seems unable to complete tasks without getting distracted, then it could be a clue that something deeper may be going on. Talk to them about how they’re feeling and if necessary contact a counsellor to get support so that your child can manage their emotions and life challenges more effectively.


Self-isolation can be a sign of depression, anxiety, and other underlying mental health issues. If you have noticed your child or teenager become increasingly removed from social activities, withdrawn, or uninterested in things they used to enjoy, then it might be time to consider teen counselling services. While teens require some alone time, generally they should still partake in some form of social experiences with family and friends.

Contact the Child Therapists at Family Matters Centre

Family Matters Centre offers comprehensive counselling to ensure your child receives the support they need. Through teen counselling services and child group therapy, we can provide both preventative care and therapy for any issues or challenges children may be facing in their home or school environment.

Through our co-parenting counselling and family therapy sessions, we strive to provide a space where families can come together to learn new tools and deepen their understanding of each other’s situations.

If you’re looking for a child therapist or parenting therapist in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.


January 12, 2023by Shari Markovich

It’s no secret that divorce can be tough on kids. But there are things parents can do to help support their children during this difficult time. From maintaining a positive relationship with your ex to talking to a divorce therapist or a child counsellor in the Burlington, Hamilton, or
Oakville area, here are some tips for divorced parents who want to make things easier for their kids.

How Divorce Affects Children

Most children may feel sad, scared, and confused when they hear the news of their parents splitting up and this might also raise feelings of anxiety about the future. As an impact of divorce, some children may want to separate themselves from either one or both of the parents due to feeling betrayed by them. Additionally, children often struggle with accepting the fact that their parents no longer love each other, viewing the split up as a betrayal.

Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Divorce

If your family is going through a divorce, it can be an emotional and confusing time for both parents and children. Here are some tips to help your child cope with the divorce:

  • Explain the Divorce: Make sure that your child knows that the decision was not their fault and that all involved parties still love them very much.
  • Help Your Child Express Their Feelings: Provide a safe space where your child can express their feelings without fear of judgement or criticism. Listen intently and respond to each feeling with validation.
  • Avoid Fighting in Front of Your Kids: Do your best to remain calm in your child’s presence so they don’t feel overwhelmed or scared. Even though you might be feeling angry and upset at times, avoid discussing the details of the divorce in front of them.
  • Don’t Blame the Other Parent: Avoid placing blame on the other parent for the divorce. Instead, focus on helping your child understand what has happened in a non-judgmental way.
  • Be Supportive When Your Child Is with the Other Parent: Showing acceptance of your former partner can help kids feel more secure and at ease with the changes that come with divorce.
  • Consider Counselling for Your Child: Counselling can be a very beneficial tool in helping your child process their feelings and navigate the difficult transition. It is important to create a regular routine that provides stability while also providing emotional support.

Contact the Child Therapists in Burlington at Family Matters Centre

Going through a divorce is difficult, especially for children. The child therapists in Burlington at Family Matters Centre understand this and are prepared to help your child constructively cope with the experience. With effective communication and support, our divorce therapists can work to reduce the emotional stress children may feel while dealing with the effects of divorce. We can also provide marriage counselling and co-parenting counselling to help parents ease the burden on their children.

Through supportive therapeutic activities and group therapy tailored to meet each individual’s needs, our marriage counsellors offer your family an excellent resource when it comes to processing emotions and dealing with a divorce in a healthy way.

If you’re looking for a child therapist or marriage counsellor in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.


November 3, 2022by Shari Markovich

If you are like most parents, you want what is best for your child. When it comes to finding a child therapist in Burlington or the surrounding areas, there are many questions you should ask before making the decision. What type of therapy does the therapist practice? What is their approach to counselling? How do they handle communication?
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most important questions to ask when choosing a therapist for your child.

1. How Long Have You Been Practicing Therapy?

This is an important question to ask any potential therapist, as experience can make a big difference in the quality of care that a therapist is able to provide. Since therapy is such a sensitive and personal process, it’s important to work with someone who has ample experience and who you and your child feel comfortable with. If your child is seeing a newer therapist, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to ask about their level of experience and training.

2. What Is Your Experience with Treating Children?

You should find a child therapist near you—whether you live in Hamilton or Burlington—who has extensive experience working with children, especially children who are dealing with the same challenges your child is struggling with. This will help you to gauge whether or not they are qualified to treat your child and if they have the necessary expertise. Some follow-up questions you may want to ask include: How long have you been treating children? What is your training to work with children?

3. How Often Will My Child Need to Attend Therapy Sessions?

Ask the therapist how long your child will need to attend therapy and how often. Some children may need to attend weekly sessions for an extended period of time, while others may only need to come for a few sessions each month. The therapist should be able to give you an idea of how long they think your child will need therapy based on their assessment.

4. What Therapy Methods Do You Use?

Asking about the child therapist’s treatment philosophy will give you some insight into their approach to therapy and how they work with children. For example, do they focus on talk therapy or play therapy? Do they take a more hands-on approach or let the child lead the session? Knowing what therapy methods they use can help you decide if the therapist is a good fit for your family.

5. Are There Any Potential Side Effects of the Therapy?

Before beginning any therapy with your child, it is important to ask their therapist about any potential side effects. Depending on the type of therapy used, there could be short-term or long-term side effects that you should be aware of. If you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with the therapist so that they can address them and help put your mind at ease.

6. What Should I Do if I Have Questions or Concerns about My Child’s Treatment Plan?

You should always feel comfortable asking your child’s therapist questions or expressing any concerns you may have about their treatment plan. The therapist should be able to answer any questions you have about the plan and explain how it will benefit your child. If you are still not comfortable with the plan, you can ask for a second opinion from another child counsellor in Burlington.

7. How Will You Communicate Progress with the Parents?

When meeting with potential child therapists, be sure to ask about their communication style. How will they keep you updated on your child’s progress? How often will they meet with you? What other options, such as email or text, do they offer for communication?  Establishing a good working relationship with your child’s therapist is vital to ensuring that your child receives the best possible care.

8. What Is Your Fee Structure and Do You Accept Insurance?

Be sure to ask about fees before committing to any therapy sessions. If you have workplace benefits, find out if the therapist accepts your insurance and what their out-of-pocket costs will be. It is important to ask about finances before you start working with a child therapist, whether you live in Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville, so that you are not surprised by the costs later on.

Contact the Child Therapists in Burlington at Family Matters Centre

Family Matters Centre offers individual counselling and therapeutic groups for kids and teens. Our child therapists in Burlington specialize in anxiety, anger, self-esteem, social skills, trauma, ADHD, and chronic illness. We also offer counselling for marriage issues, separation, divorce, and co-parenting. If you’re looking for a child counsellor in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.