Getting Started With Child & Teen Therapy
Set up an Introductory Call
Contact me to schedule a free 15 minute introductory phone call. I'll want to hear about what you're looking for help with. I will be glad to answer any of your questions.
Share Background Info
If we decide to meet in person, I will email you a link to my secure client portal beforehand. You will complete an initial questionnaire and review my practice policies. After that, you'll have access to the portal to cancel or schedule appointments and access billing information.
Come in for an Initial Parent Meeting
The first appointment is with a child’s parent or parents only (without the child). It is usually longer (75 minutes) than usual therapy sessions (45 minutes). It gives us a chance to have a candid, private conversation about your child.
We will speak about your child, your concerns and questions. I will orient you to my practice, provide some initial feedback and give you a preview of possible next steps. At the end of the meeting, we will talk about whether it seems to make sense to take the next step of bringing your child in.
A key function of this meeting will be for you to get a sense of whether I am someone you can picture working with and being of help to your child. If you don't think we are a fit, it's okay. What is most important is that you find someone who works well with your child. If we decide to not work together, I may still be able to be of help by referring you to a colleague or a resource.
Introduce Your Child
I meet with a child or teenager at the next appointment. A parent is typically present for at least the beginning of my first meeting with a younger child. You and I will speak with your child about the counseling and why he or she is there.
For adolescents, it's up to you and your child whether you come in with them for their first appointment, whether they come on their own, or whether you'd like to just introduce me.
Please don't surprise your child by bringing him or her in without talking about it advance. Let me know if you want ideas on how to frame therapy. Your child may need a few meetings to warm up to counseling.
Complete the Initial Assessment
I usually meet with a child or teen 2 or 3 times to gather initial impressions and complete my initial assessment. I may ask to view your child's school records, test results or previous assessments at this stage I have not done so already.
After the initial assessment is complete, we will meet again. We will talk about whether it seems to make sense to continue. If the decision is yes, we will discuss the plan for the therapy. This includes initial impressions, the goals, an estimate how long the therapy will last, and what the parent consultation component will look like for you. For older children and teens, this process is adapted to meet their developmental needs.
Your Child's Therapy Begins
Early on, my focus will be on getting to know you and your child. I will try to see your child through your eyes while also developing my own impressions. The thoughts you share are an important part of the therapy.
Counseling sessions are usually 45 minutes long, once a week. The frequency and length of the sessions may vary depending upon the needs of the child or teen. Sometimes a child who is quite young, anxious or shy may need shorter sessions, at least initially. I might meet with a young person more than once a week if the concern is pressing.
Therapy is a form of learning. Behavior change and implementation of new patterns take their own time. Like getting in physical shape, building emotional strength takes time and practice. The length of the treatment is flexible, but regular attendance is necessary. Results can be compromised if your child does not attend consistently.
Expect that parent meetings will be scheduled outside of your child's therapy sessions. We will talk about your child's therapeutic goals and progress and how they can be supported at home and at school. This is particularly true for younger children. If your child is in middle school or older, we will discuss how to adapt this in respect of his or her age/developmental stage.