Therapy is about changing our lives. We often have experiences that can impact us and alter our ability to make the best choices. It takes a safe therapeutic relationship to allow oneself to express our innermost fears, beliefs, and other vulnerable feelings. One might experience a certain amount of discomfort. It will also be necessary to make a commitment to practicing new skills outside of the therapy office. Please click here to go to our forms page to download and read our Informed Consent. This is a contract between you and your therapist that will help provide a safe foundation for the important work you, your child, or your family will be doing.
In individual therapy, your therapist will start by explaining to you or your child what therapy is and what they can expect. An intake assessment will be completed over the first few sessions. This may include interview questions or a series of play assessment activities. You may ask your therapist any questions you have as well at this time. At the end of the assessment period, goals and objectives for therapy will be established.
Your therapist will talk with you in order to find the right interventions that will help. It is important with children to find their "language of expression". Your child might be a "talker" and can verbally process their thoughts and feelings. You might want assertiveness skills for your child. Or, your child may have difficulty facing their problem and required more distance and the use of sandtray, puppets, or art might be the most beneficial.
It is important that parents and therapists are on the same page and track the behaviors that you would like to see resolved. It is shown that children who have parents involved in the process get better faster. Frequently, the parents' goals are very different than their child's. Parents would like to see more responsibility and less acting out. Children report wanting to have more freedom, friends, or fun. Typically, if therapists and kids resolve their goals, they are more able to be responsible and misbehave less.
Once positive momentum is going and objectives are being acheived, it is likely that the sessions move to biweekly. When goals are acheived, the therapist will prepare your child for graduation from therapy by moving the sessions to once monthly. The end of therapy is both a happy and sad day!
Your family may want to come all together work on problems as a whole group. (It is important to remember that family is how you define your family.) An intake assessment may last a few sessions. During family therapy, your therapist may want to get a history of the problems from each family member individually, or parents first, and then children, to be determined by the therapist. It is always imperative that adult information is not talked about in front of your child.
Once the assessment is complete, goals and objectives are determined. They may be something like spending more quality time together, or parents learning different types of discipline, or that the arguing will be replaced with talking through problems. Games and other fun interventions are designed to help your family work through the identified issues. Once goals are acheived, the family graduates!
THERAPEUTIC SUPERVISED VISITATION
There are times when you cannot be with your child and require a supervised setting. You and your child can meet in a fun, therapeutic space where there is parent coaching available. You can set up goals for your visits and receive documentation. Parents and therapist can set up goals to work on during the visits, or you can just enjoy the time with your child. The supervisor has training in attachment, child development and parenting skills and can work with you to meet your child/children's needs.