Child Psychiatry

7 Commonly Asked Questions Parents Have About Kids Counseling

How Does Therapy Actually Work with Kids?

First the parent or caregiver will meet with the therapist and discuss what is bringing them to therapy and what they hope their child will get out of working with a therapist. The therapist will then collaborate with the parents on a plan for moving forward.


Next, the therapist will have an appointment where they will meet with the child. During this first child session the therapist will focus on building a connection with the child and creating a relationship where the child feels safe to express themselves.


Then, through parent coaching and individual therapy with the child, the therapist will work with the parent and child to tailor the therapy to fit the child’s individual needs. When working with a child this is not necessarily done through talking, but through play, as this is the best way to learn and communicate for kids.


Through play therapy, a therapist will work with your child to increase their capacity to regulate their feelings and emotions and find helpful ways to express their needs.

How Do You Set Goals & Measure Progress with Kids?

 

Goals are set by the parent and child by talking with the therapist about what behaviors they are hoping to see change, decrease or increase for their child and themselves. The therapist will work with the child on developing a goal for themselves and the parents in developing a goal to support their child. 

During the weekly therapeutic sessions, I spend the first 40 minutes of the session working with the child. After that, I will check in with the parents at the end for 10 minutes where we talk about the child’s progress inside and outside of therapy and if we’re moving towards the goals set for the child. 

We will also talk about the parent goal and how parents are supporting progress towards that goal at home.

How Long Does Therapy Typically Take with Kids?

It can be challenging to put a time frame on when a child should leave therapy. It really depends on the kiddo – it’s very child specific.

I would say usually there is a minimum of 3 months to see results, but typical anywhere from 3-6 months. So, at least 12 sessions.

How Do You Work with Schools?

 

We are happy to collaborate with any one who is involved with a child’s care – for example, a children’s physician, teacher, or school counselor. The parents would sign a release of information for us to communicate.

Typically, we will follow up with a phone call to the other agency and see how we can both help the child.

What Can Parents Do at Home to Support Their Child?

We are only with your child for about an hour of the week so we equip parents with tools to support their child progress at home and school.


For example, recommending parenting books and resources. Generally, the more the parents are engaged, the more quickly things progress for the child.

How Does Divorce Affect the Counseling Process For a Child?

 

We are happy to work with both parents in that situation either at the same time or separately where one parent would meet one week and the other parent the next week. We are available through phone or video call.


If both parents have decision making power, both of them will need to sign before the child enters counseling.

How Does Scheduling Appointments Work?

We are a practice that serves a lot of kids so scheduling can be be challenging. While we work to accommodate after school hours there may be a possibility where your child might have to miss some school to receive therapy.


We try, however, to work around the child’s schedule and pick what might be the least impactful for their schedule.

Hillary Wolfe, Child Therapist