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.


August 10, 2023by Shari Markovich

Parenting can be incredibly rewarding, but it often comes with a tremendous amount of stress—particularly when you’re concerned about your child’s health and well-being. If your child or teen is grappling with the effects of trauma, it can be even more challenging to know how best to help them heal. Fortunately, there is an effective solution: trauma counselling for kids and teens. By engaging in therapeutic activities that are tailored specifically to their age group, children can access the guidance they need to process traumatic events and create a sense of renewed hope moving forward. Read on to learn more about the power of therapy for traumatized children and how speaking with a psychotherapist or teen counsellor can help!

Different Forms of Trauma Experienced by Children and Teenagers

For many children and teenagers, life can be a rollercoaster ride filled with moments of joy and pain. Unfortunately, there are moments that leave young people scarred and traumatized. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, loss of a loved one, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma can have a profound impact on a developing mind.

The reality is that trauma doesn’t discriminate. It happens to children of all backgrounds, races, and religions. As adults, it is our duty to protect and help traumatized kids and teens by ensuring they receive the resources they need to heal from the trauma they have experienced.

Signs of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma has a lasting impact on an individual’s life and can manifest itself in a number of ways. Some of the most common behavioural signs of childhood trauma include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased aggression
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Frequent outbursts or emotional shutdowns
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Constant fear or worry

It is important to recognize these signs and seek professional child counselling in Burlington so that your child can begin the road to trauma recovery.

How Can Child and Teen Counselling Help in Trauma Recovery?

Counselling for traumatized kids is crucial for helping them recover from traumatic experiences. Trauma therapy provides a safe and supportive space for children and teens to process their trauma and work towards recovery. Using trauma-informed therapy, emotional expression, regulation techniques, coping skills, and resilience building exercises, child and teen counsellors help children to process traumatic memories and address negative beliefs and thoughts.

Additionally, teen counselling services can identify and address secondary issues that may be related to the trauma, such as anxiety or depression, and empower children through education. By addressing trauma early on, counsellors can help prevent the long-term consequences of untreated trauma.

Get Help from Experienced Child and Teen Counsellors for Trauma Recovery

Finding the right help with trauma recovery can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to your child’s mental health. That’s where Family Matters Centre comes in. Our team of experienced therapists for teens and children offers top-quality one-on-one trauma counselling, as well as group therapy sessions to help traumatized kids and teens make sense of their emotions.

Our approach is rooted in the belief that each child is unique and requires a tailored approach to make progress. We take the time to listen and understand, providing a safe space for children to open up and heal. You can trust us to guide your child towards a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

If you’re looking for child counselling 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 31, 2023by Shari Markovich

Raising teens can be hard, especially when it comes to dealing with anger. It’s normal for teens to feel frustrated or even angry from time-to time—but when these outbursts start leading to fights or harming themselves and others, clearly something needs to change! Thankfully, there are ways that parents can tackle anger management in teens in an effective and healthy manner. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to control anger in teens in order to help them live a happier life.

What Are Some of the Main Causes of Anger in Teens?

Teenagers can face a wide range of emotions as they transition into adulthood, including feeling overwhelmed with anger.
There are multiple factors that may contribute to teen anger, such as stress from school or disillusionment with parents’ expectations. Oftentimes, teens have difficulty regulating their emotions and they may become quickly frustrated or angry with themselves or others in response to setbacks.
Frequently occurring psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety can play a significant role in teen anger, as well. In some cases, teens may also be responding subconsciously to unresolved childhood trauma or abuse. If you suspect this is the case for your teenager, getting some professional help from teen counselling services in Burlington might be a good idea.

How Can Parents Handle Anger Issues in Teens?

So, how can you handle your angry teen? It’s important for adults to create an environment in which teens feel comfortable expressing their feelings and emotions without fear of judgment in order to prevent explosive outbursts of pent-up anger. Here are some helpful tips:

Don’t Ignore the Problem

The first step that parents can take when dealing with anger management in teens is to not ignore the problem. It’s important to address the issue head-on and to talk to your teen about what they’re feeling and why they’re feeling it. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse and could lead to your teen acting out in ways that are harmful to themselves or others.

Model Positive Behaviour Yourself

One of the best ways for parents to control anger in teens is to be a good role model. If parents are able to handle their own anger in a healthy and constructive way, it will set a good example for their teen. Additionally, parents should avoid using anger as a way to control or manipulate their teen.

Listen Without Interrupting or Judging

It is also important that parents try to listen to their teen when they are angry. This can be a difficult task, as teens often don’t want to talk about what is making them angry. However, if you can get your teen to open up and communicate with you, it will be much easier to help them resolve their anger issues.

Try to Understand Their Perspective

It can be helpful to put yourself in their shoes and to try to see things from their point of view. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything your teen is feeling, but it can help you to better understand where they’re coming from.

Communicate Openly and Honestly

Another way for parents to handle angry teens is to communicate openly and honestly with them. This means being willing to listen to what they have to say, even if it’s something that makes you angry. Ask them directly how they’re doing and what they’re thinking.

Help Them Identify Their Triggers

One way that parents can control anger in teens is by helping them to identify their triggers. What are the things that tend to set them off? Once they know what their triggers are, they can then start to work on avoiding or managing them in a more constructive way.

Teach Them Healthy Coping Mechanisms

It’s also important for parents to teach their teens healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with their anger. This might include things like deep breathing exercises, walking away from the situation, or writing down their thoughts and feelings in a journal.

Seek Professional Help If Necessary

If your teen’s anger issues are severe or if you feel like you’re not able to handle the situation on your own, it’s important to seek professional help. There are many teen therapists in the Burlington or Hamilton area who specialize in anger management in teens. Getting professional help for your teen can make a big difference in their overall well-being.

Contact Family Matters Centre for Teen Counselling in Burlington

If you’re looking for how to control anger in teens, contact Family Matters Centre in Burlington. From frustration and overthinking to dealing with parental expectations to facing peer pressure, our well-trained therapists for teens in Burlington can help your child get through the challenges that life throws their way.
We offer a safe space where all feelings can be discussed without judgement, so that no matter what’s going on in your child’s life right now, our parenting therapists in Burlington are always willing to listen.
If you’re looking for teen counselling services 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.


December 15, 2022by Shari Markovich

It’s no secret that parenting a teenager can be difficult. Teenagers are going through so many changes—physically, emotionally and mentally—and it can be hard for parents to know how to talk to them and connect with them. This can lead to frustration for both the parent and the teen. If you’re struggling with parent-teenager communication, or if you just want to learn how to communicate better, read on for some tips!

Be an Active Listener

Active listening includes actively paying attention when your teen speaks and engaging in conversation without judgment or criticism. The key to communication with youth is to make sure you are actively listening by putting away any distractions like your phone, stopping what you’re doing, and focusing on what your teen is saying. Active listening also involves not just hearing but understanding what your teen is saying and responding with encouragement, compassion and support.

Avoid Loading Them with Questions

Many parents want to know what their children are thinking but bombarding them with a flurry of questions can push them away. Instead of overwhelming your teen with a ton of questions, try open-ended conversations. Ask your teenager questions about themselves that allow for longer answers and explore the boundaries of what they are willing to discuss. Also keep in mind that one-on-one conversations as opposed to talking when others are around can lower tensions and help you both stay on topic without distractions or fear of embarrassment.

Speak on Interesting Topics

One way to improve parent-teenager communication is by choosing interesting topics to talk about that your teenager will find engaging. Doing research on movies, music, and other interesting aspects of their world that they enjoy can be a great way to start conversations. Ask any parenting therapist and they will tell you that developing a trusting relationship with your teenager is all about getting out of your comfort zone and being willing to talk about their passions, dreams for the future, or even their everyday choices.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

To ensure that you’re better able to understand one another and build a relationship, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Listen to what your teen is saying, instead of jumping in with a pre-conceived assumption about the bottom line. Try to withhold judgment until all the facts are laid out in front of you—this will give both you and your teenager an opportunity to reach mutual understanding.

Praise Your Teenager

Lastly, a great way to enhance your parent-teenager communication is by praising your child whenever possible. Praise works wonders to boost their self-esteem and remind them that they are appreciated and valued. Be sure to be genuine though! If you come off as insincere or like you’re trying too hard, your teen can see right through it. An easy way to start this is by reminding them of things that they’ve done well or said that made an impression on you.

Contact Family Matters Centre for Teen Counselling Services

Communication is an essential part of parent-teenager communication. At Family Matters Centre, we offer teen counselling services in Burlington that can help improve communication with youth. By providing a safe and supportive space, teenagers can express their frustrations which will enable them to build skills like reflecting on their behaviour, establishing personal boundaries, becoming more aware of the consequences of making decisions and communicating better with their family.

If you’re looking for a therapist for teens or a 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.