Have a question that is not answered below? Please let us know!

How do I know if my child needs therapy?

As a parent, it can be tough to know whether professional help is needed. We encourage families to err on the side of caution – it is usually easier to address a problem sooner rather than later. When in doubt, we encourage parents to come in for an initial consultation. Over the course of two to three sessions, we’ll gather information about your concerns and get to know your child. You may be asked to fill out some forms or checklists. Based on this assessment, we can provide you with feedback about whether therapy is warranted and, if so, what the goals might be.

What should I tell my child before we come?

Most kids find it reassuring to know what to expect before going to a new place or meeting a new person.

  • Explain the reason for the appointment, in a way that is supportive and not blaming or critical. For example: “You’ve been worrying a lot the past few months, and it is getting in the way of your schoolwork and sleep,” or “I know it is hard for you to control your temper. Sometimes you just get SOOO mad that you hit or throw things, and then I get really mad and yell. That doesn’t feel good for either of us. I love you and I want us to get along better.”
  • Explain what a therapist is, in terms your child can understand. For younger children, you might say, “A therapist is a bit like a doctor, but instead of helping kids have healthy bodies, a therapist helps kids have healthy feelings and behaviors. They help kids by talking and doing activities with them. They can also help parents figure out what they can do to help their kids.”
  • Let your child/teen know you think therapy can help. Give them hope! “Therapist Z has helped lots of kids/teens and families. I think she can help us too.”
  • For older youth, consider showing them the therapist’s page on our website or invite them to select the person they might like to meet.

How often / how long will my child need to come to therapy?

Therapy is most effective when it happens on a regular basis, typically once a week. As your child makes progress, she may not need to come as often.

How long a child needs to be in therapy depends on many factors, including the nature and severity of concerns, the child’s willingness to engage in therapy, follow-through with “homework” outside of sessions, and how often you come. After learning more about your concerns, your therapist will work with you to create a treatment plan and discuss a time-frame for therapy.

As a parent/caregiver, what is my role when it comes to therapy for my child?

Although one-on-one therapy can help children in many ways, the benefits of therapy are enhanced when what they learn is practiced, supported, and encouraged in their day-to-day lives. As a caregiver, you are one of the most important people in your child’s life (if not the most important person!). You have valuable information that will help your therapist help your child and family, and you can play a key role in extending the impact of therapy beyond the therapy office.

In most cases, we ask for parent involvement in a child’s therapy. This may include joining your child in session, meeting with your child’s therapist one-on-one to talk about your child’s needs, and helping with “homework” between sessions. Therapy is not a “drop off” appointment. Please plan to remain in the waiting room.

“Don’t rescue your child from a challenge. Teach them how to face it.”

~Dr. Laura