Your First Visit
Here's how you can make the most of your first visit. You'll find out what happens in therapy, how long it lasts, and how you can help.
What happens in therapy
For children & teenagers [under age 18] the first meeting is with the parents to get an insight as to the main problems that are presenting difficulties for the child/young person. This helps me learn more about them, their environment and about the problem itself. During that meeting I also give parents some information in relation to therapy sessions, duration and some of the strategies used. This is also an opportunity to explain the concept of confidentiality in therapy and a time for parents to ask some questions. Parents are also required to sign a Consent Form stating their permission for the child/young person to attend therapy.
The second time we meet will be with parent(s) and their child. The first part of that session is usually given to talking with the child and parent about the reasons for coming to therapy. The second part of the session is with the child on their own during which we do a ‘getting to know you’ activity which is aimed at starting to build the therapeutic relationship between the child and myself. Building this relationship is paramount in terms of fostering trust so that in future sessions the child becomes more at ease when discussing problems that are causing difficulties in their life.
The following 3-4 sessions involve finding out a bit more from the child about their life through therapeutic interventions whilst also continuing to build on the therapeutic relationship.
During the following 3-4 sessions therapeutic interventions include: healthy ways to express feelings and activities to teach about feelings and coping skills. This can involve drawing, use of worksheets, social stories or play. They may also learn some mindfulness techniques as a way to lower stress. With older kids and teens, we may discuss how problems affect them at home, at school , in relationships with friends or family and look at effective ways to help solve problems or deal more effectively with them.
How long does therapy last?
How long therapy lasts depends on the goals for therapy discussed in the initial meeting. Usually I meet with the child on a weekly basis for 6 sessions then meet with the parent(s) alone again. At that time, we revisit original goals for therapy and discuss progress. The sessions may then continue on a weekly basis or move to fortnightly before the phasing out sessions begin. While there is no general time frame therapy usually involves 12 sessions with the child but in some circumstances this may be shorter or continue for longer depending on the level of difficulties in the child’s life.
How can parents help?
You can do things to help your child get the most from therapy. Here are some of them:
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