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What is therapy… and how will it help?

My music theory teacher once said, “The train doesn’t stop. It just keeps on moving.” I’m sure he was referring to a project we needed to complete, but I think it applies well to therapy.

You can’t revisit the past, except in your mind. Therapy allows you to ply yourself from memories that play on a loop, so you can feel at ease with your life as it moves forward.

When your child buys into the process, they get the most done. It takes time to build trust. I also need to use all my therapy “tricks” and techniques to help your child heal from the pain they’re experiencing.

The more they practice what we learn together, the quicker they will make change happen. I strive to help children understand that taking positive steps leads to being able to take more positive steps… and this is how they can reach new heights in their journey through life.

What can I expect in the first session?

Your first visit will last 90 minutes. This is where we discuss your history, and I’ll talk with you and your child about the therapy process and your goals for future sessions. We will also go over forms that I have sent you in advance.

How long do subsequent visits last?

Individual sessions last 45 minutes and occur weekly. Intermittent family sessions are scheduled for 60 minutes.

Does my really active child need to sit the whole time during sessions?

If your child is anything like my rambunctious six-year-old, I wouldn’t possibly expect them to sit the entire time. That would just be cruel.

I incorporate a lot of movement and breathing exercises, games, activities, and play. One of my favorite activities is making slime together. I love being a little silly in session with kids.

Will therapy be “all talk”?

I believe in relating to children at their level. Depending on their level of development, children communicate in many ways that might not involve traditional “talk therapy.” This includes imaginative play with puppets or dolls, playing games, drawing, or representations in sand trays. So if it means getting a little dirty or playing on the floor, if it works for your child, it works for me!

For teens, we may still do a bit of play, but therapy will take a more conversational tone. Teens tend to have a greater ability to reflect on their thoughts, consider different perspectives, and convey problem-solving skills. If your teen hides in their hood initially and refuses to talk, that’s okay, too. They will when they are ready.

Do I come into sessions with my child?

I insist you attend at least the initial session with your child. I will do a full intake, so it’s important to get a clear understanding of why you are bringing your child to see me. I often see similar challenges come up for family members, so you can share any difficulties you might be having as well.

From there, it is beneficial to attend at least parts of future sessions. You are your child’s cheerleader and role model. In sessions, you can help encourage your child when they are having difficulty finding their voice or losing momentum. By being present in sessions, you will also be aware of homework assignments that you can help your child practice. I promise, no tests, but we will have a lot of review.

How long will it take to feel better?

It depends on the child. Even though parents usually initiate therapy, it’s a choice for the child how much effort they put in and the results they get. It’s not a race to get through, but I’ll let you know if I feel like we’re stuck at any point.

If that’s the case, we’ll talk about what we can do to build momentum and continue on a positive course. That being said, you should expect to see improvement within three months.

Do you work with other treatment providers?

Yes. During your initial session, I will ask you if you have any other providers with whom you would like me to communicate. These might be physicians, psychiatrists, school counselors, school psychologists, former therapists, treatment centers, etc. If so, I will ask you to sign a “Release of Information” form so that I may speak with these providers regarding your child’s care.