Wondering what to expect when your child begins therapy?
Are you thinking about bringing your child but not sure what to expect?
Maybe you’ve been to a therapist yourself and wonder if your child does the same things you did?
Are you worried your son or daughter will hate going to therapy?
We know starting counseling can be scary for both you and your child. At Brittani Persha Counseling, we want both you and your child to feel comfortable in our office. Every single child and family’s treatment plan looks a little different. However, there is a general process that our therapists usually follow for your child’s treatment. Below is a basic outline of what child therapy usually looks like at our office for children preschool aged through pre-teens. The therapy process does look a little bit different in teenagers, so you may want to check out our teen therapy services page if your child is middle school or high school age.
Learn more about our Child Counseling Process:
WEEK ONE: Child Counseling Intake
During this initial therapy session, you and your clinician will meet without the child/teen present. Your therapist has several goals in this intake session. They will gather relevant background information, define the counseling relationship and discuss the details of informed consent. The counselor will gather information about your family’s biological, psychological, and social history and how this is impacting your current situation. We will then collaborate to identify treatment goals together. Basically, we get the boring stuff out of the way before your child comes in.
WEEK TWO and THREE: Child & Family Assessment
Together, in the next two sessions, your child will participate in play therapy with their assigned child therapist. During this time, the therapist and your child will be able to establish a supportive relationship. At the same time, the trained clinician also observes and formulizes her assessment. As a parent, you will be invited to join in a portion of these mental health assessment sessions as needed to aid in the process.
WEEK FOUR and BEYOND: Child Counseling
Once the assessments are finished, you and your child’s clinician will go over the clinical assessment results and the recommended plan of treatment. This way, you know what to expect over the course of your child’s mental health treatment.
Through play therapy children recreate, in play, the experiences that are contributing to their anger, fear, sadness, or frustrations that are currently influencing their behavior. The playroom is a place where children are free to explore and express themselves. When facilitated by a trained play therapist, play becomes the focus of emotional healing.
Our child therapy services include play therapy, family therapy, parent-child relationship therapy, parent counseling services, sand tray therapy, and coping skills development. Your child’s therapist will help them identify ways of thinking and acting that fuel your child’s emotional symptoms. Counseling sessions will also spend time exploring your child’s development and beliefs that are contributing to their negative coping patterns.
We will strive to help both you and your child recognize and intervene early in negative cycle. This way, your child can learn new patterns to meet their needs more effectively.
As your child shows progress in healing, you can expect several changes in their behavior. Your child will be able to better express emotions, ask for what they need, and cope better when their emotions are overwhelming. As your child begins to heal and you as the parent report things are going better at home & school, child counseling sessions will gradually be reduced. Sessions will likely change to every other week until all of your child’s goals are met and treatment is complete.
ONCE A MONTH PARENT THERAPY SESSION
You as the Parent will have a monthly parent counseling session, where we dedicate time to going over treatment updates, check in about how things are going at home, and provide direction on how to handle different challenges.
TERMINATION: 1-2 Final Counseling Termination Sessions
While every child’s course of treatment is different, most children’s course of treatment lasts from 6 months to a year. We will review you and your child’s goals as well. We want to ensure you are satisfied with your counseling experience during the final counseling session. Your therapist will make sure the work we have done together has met your expectations. Your therapist will also outline a plan going forward. We know it is important your child is able to retain what we have worked on together and want to help you plan for this. It’s important you are parents feel confident you can implement all you have learned going forward.