What to Except When Your Child Begins Counseling
Starting counseling for your child will naturally result in questions about what to expect for your first appointment and appointments to follow. It is also common for children themselves to feel uneasy about what to expect when they start counseling. The purpose of this information below is to give you information about what you can expect once we have scheduled our first appointment. If you sense that your child is feeling a bit uneasy about starting counseling, you may use this information to help ease his/her mind.
Before Your First Appointment:
- Once we schedule your appointment I will email you forms to read and complete.
- Complete the forms and bring to our first appointment. This will save us time and allow things to run with more ease, as there is a lot of cover in the first appointment.
- Bring any school reports, report cards, previous academic or psychological assessments, special education accommodation information, etc. This allows me to obtain more understanding about your child.
- Provide a copy of the court ordered parenting plan that outlines who is responsible for consenting to mental health treatment in circumstances where a parenting plan is in place.
Your First Appointment:
- In the first appointment I encourage both parents (or legal guardians) to attend without the child being present. Children often become uncomfortable and uneasy when they hear their parents talking about them and their difficulties to others. It's not a great way to begin the child/counselor relationship, which is why I encourage children to not attend this appointment.
- During this appointment I will ask you several questions about your child, family, and parenting in an effort to thoroughly assess your child and your child's needs in therapy.
- We will also discuss the formalities of confidentiality, as well as practice policies & procedures.
The Second to Third Appointment:
- During the second and third appointment I spend the majority of our time with your child in order to learn about how he/she views self, others, and the world that later on informs treatment.
- Your child will be engaged in child-centered play, as well as art and play therapy activities designed to assess your child's viewpoint and goals he/she has for therapy.
- There will also be opportunities for you (the parent) at the end of each session to share any addition information about your child we have not discussed before or provide any updates since our last appointment.
- Collaborative Care: During this time and with your written consent, it may make sense for me to contact teachers or other important individuals involved in your child's life to understand their view of the child and concerns that brought him or her to therapy.
The Third to Fourth Appointment:
- By the third or fourth appointment I will have gained enough information about your child, your family, and your concerns that brought your child to therapy in order to present you with a Plan of Care.
- The Plan of Care is unique in and of itself. Learn more about the Plan of Care by clicking here.
- Once treatment is determined based on information obtained from the 3-4 session assessment period, I continue to work with your child on a weekly or bi-weekly basis thereafter in conjunction with parent consultations at least once a month until our therapy goals are met.