The first step is a “parents only” consultation. This will be for one hour and during this time I will ask questions about your child’s developmental history, family history, social and school history. You will be able to express any concerns you have regarding your child and the need for counseling. I will answer any questions about the process that you may have and give a tour of the playroom or adolescent counseling setting.
For a younger child you can tell them that they will be coming to see Rachel, a play therapist, and they will have special time in the playroom each week where they can choose to play with the toys in most of they ways they want. You can tell them that occasionally you and Rachel will talk about how they are doing.
For older children, you can tell them they will be coming to see Rachel, a counselor who is trained to work especially with children and teens, who will have some activities they can choose to help them share what is happening in their lives. Together with Rachel they will try to find some ways to cope with the parts of their life that are not going well. You can reassure them that Rachel will keep what they tell her confidential unless they share any of the following: someone is hurting them or has hurt them in the past, if they are planning to hurt themselves or others, or if a court requires information. Let them know that even though you will discuss progress with Rachel, she will not share specific details of what she hears in the session.
In a play therapy session there is more freedom allowed to the child than is often allowed in play. During the session all thoughts, feelings and almost all behaviors are accepted. This freedom is necessary for the therapist and child to develop a safe, trusting relationship and for the child to be able to reveal and work through their fears and problems. Specific limits are set (in specific ways) to prevent harm to the child, the therapist and the playroom. The limit setting and choice giving in the playroom helps the child develop skills in self-control and increase the child’s self-confidence.
This varies with every child/adolescent. Play therapy with young children can take up to 20 sessions to resolve some issues. With adolescents you may see progress in as few as six sessions. Parent consultation sessions can be scheduled after every 4 sessions to assess progress and plan as needed.
Your child should not feel a need to give an account of what happens in the counseling session. For the sessions to be therapeutic your child needs to feel this time is his/her own private hour with the therapist. If your child chooses to talk about the session with you try to listen without judgement. It is important to give your child freedom and permission NOT to talk about the session if he/she chooses.
Each time you bring your child to therapy, it is important to bring your “weekly parent update” as this gives your child’s therapist a quick glance into how your child is doing outside of therapy. You are also welcome to email and schedule 15 minute phone updates if needed. It is important to avoid discussing your child in his/her presence. For example, avoid asking the therapist if the child was “good” during the session or telling the therapist of some behavior (positive or negative) that you observed during the week.
First, just know that you are the most important person in your child’s life and by recognizing that your child needs help now and reaching out to find that help you are helping your child. As we move through the therapeutic process I will provide information to you that is relevant to what I am seeing in the session and tips for how to help your child throughout the week. Your openness to learn and grow as a parent during this time will be a great help to your child.
Currently I accept Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Choice PPO and Blue Cross Blue Shield ParPlan, Superior, and United Healthcare. I am in the process of being credentialed and contracted by several other insurance companies and can provide invoices or apply for out of network for your provider. Please contact me for more information.
I can accept Traditional Medicaid and Superior. I am in the process of being credentialed/contracted for several additional Managed Care Medicaid plans including Molina, Amerigroup and Parkland.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor I am not licensed or qualified to provide prescriptions. While I work from a “wellness” perspective I do recognize that some of my clients may be taking medications prescribed by their pediatrician or psychiatrist and I will work with those professionals if needed to make sure your child has their needs met. It is important for you, as parent, to keep me updated on medications being taken by your child.