The psychological interview in children is a very common therapy modality today. It can be done individually or in a group; to diagnose and treat different types of mental conditions or simply to assess the child’s cognitive development .
An adult communicates through the verbal, but the child, although he can communicate verbally, sometimes prefers to express himself through play. Play is a form of pleasant expression that the child has , which we can find in all societies. Psychologists use play as a working technique (drawing is also included), where the child is not aware of what he shows us with his game.
Children’s play has been the object of study for a long time, however, the one who lays the foundations of the game technique, the systematization as a diagnosis and the treatment is Melanie Klein . Through his technique we can approach the intellectual level, motor skills and internal world of that child who comes to consult.
What are the steps to follow in the psychological interview with children?
A psychologist knows that each individual is unique, therefore, each type of interview will be unique. In the interview with children you must show subtlety, be open and friendly to gain the trust of your little patient.
First the psychologist will greet the child by his first name. Then he will introduce himself and if the parents do not stay for the interview he will tell the child where they will be. Then he will express to the child the reason for the consultation, in an understandable way for his age.
If the child is older than 7 years, it is possible to have a moderately fluent conversation, but it is extremely necessary to pay attention to any symptoms of nervousness that he shows.
The questions begin … The psychologist will begin to ask questions, starting from questions related to the child’s life:
if he goes to school or nursery, what he likes to do, how he gets along with his friends and parents, and so on. Sometimes children, not wanting to talk about something, try to postpone the situation by looking for an excuse to escape, for example asking to go to the bathroom; that is why it is necessary for the psychologist to be sensitive to those ways of avoiding a question and which question they are trying to postpone.
In order to make the interview more didactic and fun and to be able to evaluate its evolutionary development, it will be asked to identify the colors, to demonstrate counting, to verify the prepositions of understanding: behind, in front, etc – these questions will be formulated accordingly at the age of the patient.
It should be noted that playtime in a psychodiagnostic process differs from playtime in a therapeutic process; because in the first case this hour has a beginning, a development and an end in itself , that is, it works as a unit, therefore it must be interpreted as such; It is included within the psychodiagnostic process and generally occurs in two or three encounters depending on the process. In the second case, the game time is a continuum, it is one link after another, where new elements and structural modifications are emerging as the therapist intervenes and is used with a certain frequency. Both hours of play have elements in common but the end is different .
In the playful part –usually used with children from 3 years old, at the beginning of the phallic stage – the mediated is the toy , in some way when playing the child expresses what he is feeling, including elements of the primary process, for For example, condensation, timelessness and displacement, that is why there are authors like Melanie Klein who approve playing with dreams .
The game technique is never given in the first meeting and through this it is important to know the evolutionary development , that is, if what we see corresponds or not with what is evolutionarily expected. If we choose to carry out the game interview with the presence of the parents, we must in turn observe what the child shows us in light of their behavior.
Each interview implies a transferential link between the child and the psychologist , a link that makes it possible to get to know the child to see how we can help him and thus create work strategies.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.