Ask a JFCS Counselor: Should my 7-year-old see a therapist?

JFCS’ highly skilled, licensed therapists work with care and compassion to address the challenges people face throughout their lives. They help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems that cause emotional turmoil, improve communication, coping skills and symptom management, strengthen self-esteem, promote behavior change, feel better and function at their best.


Counseling services don’t need to be scary or daunting. Below, Counselor Natalie Oleson, MSW, LICSW, answers a couple questions we frequently receive. If you have a question you would like to submit for a future column, please email Jill Kozberg, Counseling Program Manager, at All questions will be published anonymously.


Q: My 7 year-old’s behavior is out of control lately. I am at my wit’s end. I wonder if we should talk to a therapist?


Many parents bring their children to therapy to work on behaviors such as physical and verbal aggression, talking back to adults, difficulty interacting with peers, changes in eating habits, and sleeping problems. Kids tend to act out their feelings rather than use words, so it’s important to remember these all can be signs of emotional distress.


Therapy can help kids process feelings through play, reading books, doing art projects, and playing games. It can also help parents learn strategies to manage their child’s emotions at home. If you feel these behaviors are more than “just a phase,” talking to a therapist is a possible solution.


Q: Am I experiencing “normal” daily stress or to I need to talk to someone?


Stress is something we all experience in varying degrees at different points in our lives. Therapy can be helpful when it feels too overwhelming. Too much stress can negatively affect job performance, sleep, physical health, and relationships. If you feel this applies to you, therapy may be recommended.


Natalie Oleson, MSW, LICSW

I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and received my Master’s Degree from the University of St. Thomas. My specialties include working with people ages 3-17, especially those struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidality. I also help parents learn strategies to support their child at home. I have experience working with kids and families at home, in the hospital, in an outpatient clinic, and in a day treatment program. I am very passionate about working with children, since I believe early intervention gives a person the best chance for success.


Click here for more information on JFCS Counseling and Mental Health Services.