First, I meet you the parent/s/caregivers either in person or on-line for the parent interview. This is the initial part of the assessment. These sessions are crucial to gain a good understanding of the family situation and also learn about the early years and the overall background of your child. During these sessions, we decide the best course of action on how to proceed initially. Sometimes, after these initial sessions instead of embarking with your child in therapy straight away, we may decide to continue with a few parent sessions to help you to better understand the developmental challenges your child/ family system finds challenging and discuss possible strategies to support you and the child. In some cases, this proves to be sufficient intervention.
If during the parent sessions we decide to engage with therapy for your child, this is how we proceed in general:
Your child spends 50 minutes in the therapy room with me each week at the same time and day. There are lots of different therapeutic toys, art materials in the room, which are carefully selected to help your child to access and express his/her feelings.
The therapeutic relationship is one of the most important elements of the therapy, one that will inevitably draw upon the child’s primary relationships and also give the child a chance for something new.
Anything that is discussed or played within the session is confidential unless the child discloses to be in danger or harmed. Even though it might be really tempting to discuss what happens in the sessions, it is vital for the process to resist the temptation, but be open if the child wants to share the content unprompted. I recommend a simple “how did it go?” and then follow the child’s lead. If your child wants to share, just listen, no comments or questions, minimal re-enforcement is helpful to keep the child talking. If your child does not say much leave it that way. Your child may be going through a process, which is hard to put in words at different stages.
During the sessions sometimes children get upset when working on difficult issues: after the sessions, a simple hug and physical closeness may be needed for a short period of time. You know your child best and what s/he needs when such situation arises. Please note that behaviour may appear to get worse as the child becomes more aware of his/her emotions. The bellow timeframe is a generic guide of the effectiveness of therapy (based on West, J’s research, West, J 1996).
Regular sessions are most beneficial, all children take time to understand.
Usually, after the sixth session, I will meet the parent/carer to discuss the progress and decide about how to proceed. Parents/carers are encouraged to communicate any changes that may occur at home or in school during the course of therapy in order to better understand the issues that may rise within the sessions.