INDIANAPOLIS CHILD THERAPY - F.A.Q’s
Exploration & Support
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (FAQ’s)
QUESTION – What is Child Therapy?
ANSWER – Child Therapy is a type of psychotherapy representing a variety of techniques and methods used to help children who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. In Child Therapy, playing, drawing, building, and pretending, as well as talking, are important ways of sharing feelings and resolving problems.
QUESTION – Why should I consider therapy for my child?
ANSWER – Children can face a range of difficult problems in their lives that might include sadness, anxiety, school stress and conflicts with family or friends. They need to learn how to understand, control and share their emotions appropriately. They also may struggle to control their behavior and meet the expectations of their parents and teachers. A Child Therapist can help children work through these issues and make better choices in their lives. A Child Therapist can also act as a trusted mentor who helps children grow, mature and overcome obstacles.
QUESTION – How long will therapy for my child take?
ANSWER – The length of Child Therapy tends to be short-term, but as with all psychotherapy, depends on the complexity and severity of problems as well as treatment objectives.
QUESTION – should attend Child Therapy?
ANSWER – Child Therapy often includes working with some combination of the child’s parents or caretakers as well as their child. The younger the child, the more likely the Child Therapist will want to work with the parent and child simultaneously.
Child Therapy may be child-centered and/or adult-centered. It may focus on the behaviors and emotions displayed by the child and/or the parent-child interactions identified through the parent’s responses to their child.
QUESTION – How do I introduce therapy to my child?
ANSWER – Some children are excited to meet with a Child Therapist, but it is also common for children to be reluctant. It represents something they don’t understand, and visits to a “doctor” or stranger are not usually welcome. How a parent approaches the subject can make all the difference.
The relationship that develops between the Child Therapist and the child is very important. The child must feel comfortable, safe and understood in a trusting environment. This will make it easier for the child to express his/her thoughts and feelings and to use therapy in a helpful way. Therefore, a positive introduction by the parents is the first important step toward successful Child Therapy.
Parents should explain to their child that they will be going to see a Therapist, the particular problem that is interfering with his/her growth and that the Therapist is going to help make things better for both of them. Even if the child denies obvious problems, s/he can just agree to meet the Therapist and to see what therapy is like.
QUESTION – As a parent, how am I involved in my child’s therapy?
ANSWER – The Child Therapist often begins the therapy process by meeting with one or both parents, and then moves to work with the child alone or in combination with the parent(s).
Parents – Initial Session(s)
During the initial meeting with parents, the Child Therapist will want to learn as much as possible about the nature of the child's problems. The Child Therapist will ask for information about his/her developmental, medical, social and school history, whether or not previous evaluations and interventions were attempted and the nature of those results. Background information about the parents is also important in providing the Child Therapist with a larger context from which to understand the child.
During this session, the Child Therapist can also answer any of the parents’ questions or concerns, including how to best approach their child about therapy. This process of gathering information usually takes one to three sessions.
Parents – Continued Involvement
Subsequent sessions with parents are important opportunities to keep the Child Therapist informed about their child's current functioning at home and at school as well as for the Therapist to offer some insight and guidance to the parents. The Child Therapist may provide suggestions about parenting techniques and alternative ways to communicate with their child, as well as provide information about child development.
QUESTION – How do I get feedback about my child’s therapy?
ANSWER – Understandably, parents want information and feedback regarding their child as Child Therapy progresses. To maintain the child’s privacy, the Child Therapist will routinely not discuss details of the child’s sessions with parents. This promotes freedom of expression for the child within the therapist's office and engenders a sense of trust in the therapist.
Instead, the Child Therapist will communicate to the parents her understanding of their child's psychological needs or conflicts and provide suggestions or recommendations where appropriate.
QUESTION – What happens in therapy sessions with my child?
ANSWER – Child Therapy sessions vary according to the problem being addressed, the child’s age, and other individual characteristics of the child.
During the early sessions, the Child Therapist talks with the child about the reason s/he was brought in for therapy and explains that a therapist helps make children's problems go away. It is predictable that many children will deny experiencing any problems. The Therapist explains the nature of the sessions and that the child can do anything desired while in the office, including talking or playing, as long as no one gets hurt. The Child Therapist assures the child that what is said and done in the office will be kept private unless the child is in danger of harming him/herself.
QUESTION – What is Play Therapy?
ANSWER – A Child Therapist may use different forms of therapy for children of different ages and developmental levels. Play Therapy, for instance, is often effective with younger children who may not yet possess the cognitive or emotional ability to identify and articulate thoughts and feelings. They may communicate these thoughts and feelings through play more naturally than they do through verbal communication.
Play Therapy might make use of various media such as crayons, paint, clay, puppets, books, toys, board games, etc. As a child plays, the Child Therapist begins to recognize themes and patterns that she can then use to help the child to make meaning out of the play.
The primary goal of Play Therapy is to decrease those behavioral and emotional difficulties that interfere with a child's normal functioning. Other additional benefits to Play Therapy include improving communication and understanding between the child and his/her parents, improving verbal expression, enhancing the ability for self-observation, improving impulse control, developing more adaptive ways of coping with anxiety and frustration, building competencies and self-esteem, and improving the capacity to trust and to relate to others.
Parents may be included in the Play Therapy to improve the interaction between parent and child. The goal of dyadic Play Therapy might be to increase the parent’s and child’s understanding of their dysfunctional interaction as well as their own motivations, beliefs and behaviors.
QUESTION – What specific issues does Child Therapy address?
ANSWER – Parents may seek Child Therapy for their child to address some of the following concerns:
- Verbal expression
- Social skills / Relating to others
- Anxiety and fear
- Depression and irritability
- Anger and aggression
- Low academic effort
- Poor school performance or learning disabilities
- Oppositional and conduct problems
- Impulse control
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
- Abuse and trauma
- Conflicts with parents
- Separation or divorce of parents
- Emotional issues related to medical problems
- Death of a friend or family member
QUESTION – How will I know when my Indianapolis Child Therapy is done?
ANSWER – Child Therapy may be considered complete when the goals of therapy have been reached. Generally, the Child Therapist measures this when the child's symptoms have subsided for a stable period of time and when functioning is adequate with peers and adults at home, in school, and in extracurricular activities.
Because Child Therapy relies heavily on the Child Therapist's relationship with the child and parents, ending therapy can signify a change and a loss for all involved, and for the child in particular. In keeping with the therapeutic process of openly communicating thoughts and feelings, this is an opportunity for the child to work through how s/he feels about ending therapy and about leaving the Therapist. This allows for a sense of closure, and makes it less likely that the child will misconstrue the ending of treatment as a rejection by the Therapist. Parents may also need a sense of closure and are encouraged to process the treatment experience with the Therapist.
The Therapist also appreciates the opportunity to say goodbye to the child and parents after having become involved in their lives in this important way. It is often beneficial for parents and children to hear the clinician's thoughts, feelings and words of hope and encouragement for the future.
PLEASE CALL OUR INDIANAPOLIS CHILD THERAPY AND COUNSELING OFFICEL WITH ANY OTHER QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS. DR. ERICKSON WILL GLADLY SPEAK WITH YOU PERSONALLY!