It is a difficult decision to take your child for therapy services, and it can be intimidating. We have heard from many parents how they felt excluded from the services they obtained for their child because they were not involved in the process and where not given information on how their child was doing.
When you take your child to therapy, we feel it is essential that you feel a part of the process. A therapist will complete an assessment to gather information about the problem and your child’s personal and family history to better understand your child and family. The therapist should obtain information from you and from your child. It is also helpful if the therapist meets with you and your child together and alone to gather information and to observe how the two of you interact.
When the assessment is completed, ask questions about the assessment and about the recommended services. If the therapist did not inform you how progress was going to be monitored ask how the therapist is going to track progress.
Depending on the age of your child and the problems for which you are seeking help the therapist may decide to provide individual therapy. If you have a young child (under the age of 12), then we feel that you should be actively involved in the therapy sessions. If you have an older child (13-18), then your involvement in the sessions is determined by the problems being addressed. You may be involved sporadically with an older child’s therapy, but that does not mean you should be in the dark about how the treatment is progressing. It is okay to ask for updates on the process from the therapist if they do not offer them on their own.
Most of the progress that a child makes in therapy is due to the support he/she has from his/her parents and the ability to practice what he/she is learning in therapy. Therapy is usually once a week and that time investment alone is not enough for your child to make the needed changes. Ask the therapist if there is anything you can do at home to support your child’s progress.
When you take your child to a therapy session update the therapist on how your child did since the last session. Focus on the areas that you are seeking therapy for, especially the times when you felt your child was making an effort to change. If a new behavior occurred that you are concerned about, it is vital for you to inform the therapist. If you are worried about speaking in front of your child, then ask to talk to the therapist alone. This can be tricky with teenagers and some younger children particularly with children who feel they are always being criticized. If the therapist prefers to speak to the two of you together, there probably is a good reason. It is okay to ask for the reason if you want to talk alone and the therapist does not want to provide that opportunity. Do not feel afraid to ask for what you need.
Therapy is a team effort between you, your child and the therapist. If you do not feel the therapist is working effectively with your child, ask to speak to the therapist to address your concerns. It is essential that you be able to talk to and receive support from the therapist on the issues you sought services for. If after a few sessions your child does not feel safe with the therapist, meet with the therapist and address your child’s concerns. Many concerns children have can be resolved once discussed. However, if your child continues to express feeling unsafe with the therapist, then it may be time to find your child another therapist. Keep in mind that growth, change, and talking about emotional issues or harmful events is very uncomfortable for just about everybody, child or adult. Discomfort is a normal part of the therapeutic process and having a therapist that is a good fit for your child can go a long way to helping your child work through the discomfort. Therapists are like a pair of shoes. You have to “try on” a few before you find one that is comfortable enough to take the journey with.
If you're looking for a therapists for your child in the Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, or Austin, TX area, contact Pecan Creek Ranch to learn about a form of therapy that is intriguing and effective for children.