How do I tell my child or teen that I am taking them to therapy?
It is important that you avoid giving your child/teen the message that you are bring them to therapy because something is wrong with them. Instead, parents can say something like: ” I love you very much, I want to help you. I have been trying and I don’t know how to. I want to go to counseling with you to get some ideas on how to: [ get along better, help you get better sleep, feel better about _______]”.
For younger kids, explain that when kids are not feeling well physically they go to a pediatrician, when they need glasses they go to the eye doctor, and when they are having trouble with emotions or behavior they go to a play therapist. Some children have counselors in their schools, so telling them that I am a counselor might make it easy to understand
What happens in the first session?
The first session is where I obtain background information about your child. Ideally both parents attend the session, and I gather details about your child including family, medical, developmental, social, academic and of course presenting symptoms and concerns. I also explain my practice, confidentiality and answer any questions you may have.
I prefer your child not be present for this session. Parents might not feel comfortable discussing some things in front of their child. However, if you decide to use insurance, your child (the identified patient) does have to be present, as I need to evaluate them for a diagnosis.
Do you take insurance?
Please keep in mind that in order for insurance to cover your child’s therapy sessions, your child needs to meet diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder. This diagnosis, as well as their treatment, becomes a part of your child’s permanent medical record. The diagnosis can then follow the child around in school, on to college and possible become an obstacle when obtaining security clearances and background checks for future employment.
In addition, confidentiality can be jeopardized when billing claims to insurance companies. Your child’s confidential information is processed by the company and then stored in their system. Anyone involved in the processing or handling of the claim may have access to your child’s information.
If you still are interested in services being covered by insurance, contact me for information for updated information on insurances accepted. You may use “out of network” benefits to be reimbursed for your child’s mental health treatment. I can provide a “superbill” that you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement.
You can also use your HSA (Health Savings Account) to pay for services.
Will you give my child medication?
I can not prescribe medication, I am not a medical doctor nor a psychiatrist. If you are interested in medication for your child, we can discuss this further and I can possibly refer you to a psychiatrist.
How long is treatment?
Treatment length varies due many different factors, severity, cooperation and involvement of parents.. For play therapy specifically, research shows that it takes about an average of 20 sessions to resolve presenting symptoms . There are 7 phases of treatment, click here for additional information: https://www.a4pt.org/page/ParentsStagesofThera
How often are the sessions?
Usually in the beginning of treatment, sessions are held once a week. Unless the child is in crisis, in which case sessions held twice a week would be more appropriate. Once there is steady progress being made, sessions can be spaced out to bi-weekly sessions, and eventually monthly sessions etc.