What Does Therapy for My Child Look Like? by Trilby Banks

As a group therapy practice who enjoys working with children, we are so happy you have found us. Whether you have been in therapy yourself, or this is your first experience with a therapist, bringing your child to therapy can be an overwhelming, and questioning, time. Therapy is for everyone, no matter their age, their background, or what is going on presently in their life. As a caregiver, you may have many questions regarding your child’s time in therapy. Let’s explore together some common thoughts that you may be experiencing:

What Does the First Intake Session Look Like For My Child?

Your initial intake appointment will involve both you and your child. Your child attends the first session with you, so you both can help establish goals, get introduced to the play or therapy room, and start building rapport with the therapist. The therapist may ask you more ‘adult questions’, while more age appropriate questions are addressed to your child. If there are any topics that you would like to not discuss in front of your child, the therapist will recommend a caregiver only follow up session. Please feel free to ask any questions to your child’s therapist about models of therapy, what sessions may look like, and general expectations for treatment.

What Types of Therapy Are Available for Children?

Our clinicians are trained in multiple therapy models for children. Our intake coordinator has matched your family up with the clinician that is the best fit for your child’s individual goals. Here is a list of the various models we provide:

Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Centered Play Therapy, Grief Counseling, Attachment Theory, Family Therapy, AutPlay, Experiential Therapy, and Art Therapy.

Ask your child’s therapist which models they use, and what they believe will be the best fit for your child.

Isn’t Play Therapy Just Playing; How is that Considered Therapy?

Therapy does not exist to only benefit those 18 and older. Due to typical human development, nonverbal and behavioral language develop first for children. Once a child is in their adolescent years, they develop strong verbal communication skills. In other words, children communicate through their play and behaviors. Our clinicians are trained to guide children in developing positive social behaviors during play, help establish self agency through play, and create activities that will help your child remember positive coping skills easier, compared to just talking.

The Association of Play Therapy has wonderful research articles and information about the many benefits of play therapy. Feel free to check them out here: https://www.a4pt.org/general/custom.asp?page=PTMakesADifference

How Can I Be a Part of the Therapeutic Process?

Caregivers are a welcomed part of the therapy session. Your child’s therapist may check in with you before or after the session, schedule ‘caregiver only’ sessions to review progress, or even have a ‘family session’ that includes you working with your child. Your child’s therapist may provide strategies and skills that can be practiced at home. Asking your child’s therapist for book recommendations, podcasts, or activities you can do at home are great ways to stay connected to your child’s therapy.

Will I Know Everything That My Child Says in Therapy?

Confidentiality is an important part of the therapeutic process. Typically the younger the child, the more the therapist will disclose information with the caregiver. If there is a safety or high risk concern regarding the child, the therapist will disclose this information with the caregiver. Otherwise, the child’s privacy will be protected, as the play therapy room is their place to be authentically themselves. If a child feels as if they have zero privacy in the playroom, they are more likely to not participate fully in sessions.

How Should I Tell My Child About Therapy?

Being honest is the best way to start this conversation. Lying to your child about their therapy appointment will only make it more awkward and fearful for them. Normalize that many children, and adults, go to therapy. Going to a therapist is similar to going to a doctor. However you can explain that therapists help you with emotions and thoughts, while a doctor helps you with your body. Both are professionals that support a person’s health.

Am I a Bad Person For Bringing My Child to Therapy?

You are not a bad person. Starting therapy is a proactive way to support your child’s well being. Remember, bringing your child to therapy shows your strength as a caregiver. You are aiding them in finding confidence in expressing themselves, developing new skills, and learning that emotional expression is okay. You are allowing them to experience an environment different from school and home, in which they can grow as an individual. Having children go to therapy helps them learn that taking care of themselves is important; which is a valuable trait that they can carry with them into adulthood.

945 E Main St Ste 5
Spartanburg, SC 29302


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