How Do You Know If Therapy Is Working For My Child?

 

In my last couple of articles, I have discussed who to turn to for psychological help for your child and how to find a therapist and get your child engaged in the process.  

Now that the process has started and they have gone to 3 or 4 sessions, how do you know if things are getting better for them? 

Great question!  

We tend to all want quick fixes or immediate relief for our children from their pain. But in the therapy world, it takes time. Developing a relationship where the child can talk openly with the therapist doesn’t happen overnight. It's difficult in 3 or 4 sessions (hours)  to make a realistic determination if it is working or not.  

It's also hard to evaluate the initial effects of therapy because oftentimes it gets worse (by bringing up difficult topics) before it gets better. It is a process and not a destination, which means that it just takes time to see the benefits.  

 So...

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What Is My Role While My Child Is Receiving Psychotherapy?

You’ve identified your child is struggling emotionally and in need of help that you aren’t able to provide. You’ve done your research and found a therapist that you hope can help. The therapeutic process is about to begin, so you may be wondering what your role is now.  

Before Therapy Starts

Your role at this point is to reinforce to your child that getting this type of help and support doesn’t mean they are broken.  Explain to them in age-appropriate language that just as medical professionals help us keep our bodies healthy, these professionals help us to keep our minds healthy and strong. After reinforcing this message, you should do more listening to what your child has to say than talking

First Appointment

As the parent, you should attend the first session with your child and reinforce their courage for going and their willingness to be so open.  You should also further evaluate how your child and therapist interact with each...

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My Child Needs Help. Where Do I Start?

Parents are expressing concerns for their children right now.  Their children are struggling in a host of different ways. 

  • isolating 
  • having angry outbursts 
  • uncontrollable crying
  • inability to stay focused 
  • heightened anxiety 
  • fear of returning to the world
  • …… the list goes on

 

I am here to tell you that the challenges they are facing are not normal. It’s completely understandable why they are struggling.  Everything has changed and continues to change.  Kids don’t know if they are going to school, staying home and doing it remotely, wearing masks, not wearing masks.  Our children are learning no sense of normalcy or stability.  This has major effects on their emotional state.  

When you notice any of the behaviors above or any new behavior that doesn’t seem to be positive, what should you as a parent do about it? 

First, and foremost, you should LISTEN to what your child is...

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Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist...Oh my!

I have been encouraged about the recent acknowledgment of mental health challenges in the Olympics as a movement in the right direction of being able to address these issues out in the open without stigma. I believe many of these challenges in sport, as well as society at large, are due to the emotional toll that was felt and continues to be felt, due to the consequences of living during a global pandemic.

The increased attention in mental health has many people needing help and wanting to find services, but they are confused about where to go and whom they should see. There are many different types of mental health professionals, so how do you know which one you should contact? I will be the first to admit it is all very confusing. 

Here is a rough guideline to help explain some of the basics of the primary roles of the most common mental health professionals to help you know where to start and steer you to the type of help you may need.  

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