How will I know if my child needs counseling?
Your child may need counseling when their mood, behaviors and/or their emotions are so overwhelming that they are not living their best life.
What is play therapy vs. talk therapy?
You may have noticed that it is challenging to get your child to talk to you about their day. You may find that during certain activities your child opens up, like on the drive home from school or while throwing a baseball in the backyard, but in other situations, your child rejects all attempts you make to talk with them about their lives. This is normal. As we age, talking for longer periods of time becomes more enjoyable; however children’s verbal skills are not always as strong so we use play therapy to allow them to express themselves non-verbally.
What does a counseling session look like for my child and me?
A typical session is split up into two segments. We spend the first 10 minutes or so of every session talking with the parent(s) about their concerns as well as any growth or new concerns they have pertaining to their child. Then, the child is in session with the counselor for the rest of the 50- minute session.
How often should my child attend counseling?
Counseling works best when a child starts out attending weekly so they can build rapport and trust with their counselor. Together, the parents and the child’s therapist will decide when to move the child to every other week or monthly sessions based on the child’s progress and needs in therapy. Weekly sessions also helps younger children become familiar with the routine.
How many months does counseling last?
Counseling can take anywhere from months to years depending on the reasons someone is attending counseling. Typically, a child will attend for 4-6 months but that may need to be extended or they may need to return to counseling after a break if new concerns arise. In addition, every child learns new skills at different speeds and in different ways.
What should I tell my child about going to counseling?
Children in kindergarten or younger may be told that they will be playing with Ms. Kim in her playroom to learn how to manage their “big feelings”. Older children and teens will better understand that they are working with their counselor to learn how to manage the things that they are struggling with and that their counselor will help them learn skills and strategies to manage those concerns. Teens understand that counseling is to help them live a happier and less stressful life.
Will you tell me what you talk to my child about?
We meet with the parents weekly to keep them aware of any concerns and progress towards treatment goals. It is vitally important to building a relationship of trust with your child to not report to you what your child has said to their counselor. If there is a big concern, your child and their counselor will bring you into the room to share and discuss.
How often do you meet with me (the parent)?
Parents and counselor meet for an hour for the intake session and then for the first few minutes of every session thereafter. Parents are always welcome to schedule a session just for themselves to discuss their child or parenting concerns at any time. Parents also have access to their counselor through the HIPPA compliant patient portal.
What is an intake session and what will be discussed?
The one -hour intake session is for the parents and counselor only. The topics of discussion will include but are not limited to: the reason you are seeking counseling, the parents counseling goals, the child’s personality and behaviors as an infant, toddler, child or teenager, history of concerns, family dynamics, educational concerns, previous counseling experiences, etc.
What kinds of activities will you do with my child/teen?
Younger children will play games, create crafts, learn coping skills, and be actively moving through the session. Pre-teens and teens spend more time in talk therapy mixed with creative activities geared towards solidifying new knowledge.
It is important that only you and your therapist control the direction and content of your child’s treatment. Individual insurance companies dictate the length of appointments, type of therapy, and number of covered appointments.
In addition, it is a requirement to provide a mental health diagnosis (such as Major Depressive Disorder) when billing insurance. This diagnosis becomes part of your child’s permanent medical record and can affect some job options for your child in the future.
When paying for therapy out-of-pocket, you and your child’s therapist can determine the best treatment, length of appointments, and there is no diagnosis required. There is no third party involvement and therefore your treatment remains private unless you choose to disclose that information. This means that we can focus on what is important, your child’s healing and growing, rather than what is necessary as part of the rules of the insurance company.
Custody and medical decision-making:
Why do both parents have to agree and sign to approve counseling?
Unless noted in a divorce decree or custody papers, both parents have to agree to counseling for their child and it must be in writing. At the intake session, parents may be required to bring proof of medical/mental health decision-making power.
What if we are divorced/ separated?
If parents are divorced or separated, both parents will need to sign the paperwork and may choose to attend the intake.
Who else can attend sessions?
Stepparents or Grandparents may attend the intake sessions only if the parents have signed a release for them to attend and speak to the counselor. Otherwise, they may bring the child and wait in the waiting room during the session.
Will you be speaking to my child’s teacher, pediatrician or previous counselor?
When the parents sign a release, the counselor may call the child’s teacher, pediatrician, or previous counselor if the counselor and the child’s teacher deem it helpful to the child’s counseling and school success.
What if my child needs testing?
The counselor will recommend some options for psychologists to do testing for IQ, Autism, ADHD or other concerns or you may check with your insurance provider