What Do I Need to Know Before Taking My Child to Therapy?
By Dr Becky Spelman
Taking your child to therapy can be a significant challenge for any parent, which, if handled incorrectly, can not only amount to a lot of wasted effort, but also have a detrimental impact on their emotional well-being. It’s important to know before taking your child to therapy some of the responsibilities you have as a parent, but also what you can expect from the process as a whole and how to get the most out of it. Here are some key pieces of information you should bear in mind before taking your child to therapy:
You Need To Choose the Right Therapist For Both of You: This is the most crucial aspect of choosing a Child Therapist that is often overlooked. You can choose to take your child to a great Therapist with an outstanding reputation, but if they don’t get on with that person, it’s unlikely they’ll be willing to open up, which will ultimately make any progress extremely hard to make.
You Need To Be Consistent: Anyone can miss an appointment every now and again. But if you’re not turning up to meet with your Therapist on a regular basis, integrating any positive changes will take much longer and may prove impossible depending on the seriousness of the problem. Structure is one of the key fundamentals to making progress in any therapeutic setting, and that is especially the case with child therapy.
Work With Your Child’s Therapist Not Against Them: It can be all too easy to try and second guess your Therapist or resist an idea, due to the protectiveness of your child. And this can occur even though you may have been the one to initiate first contact. It’s important to bear in mind that neither of you exist in a vacuum and are both working towards the same goal, which is for you to have a better relationship with your child.
Therapy Can Bring Up Feelings Of Shame And Guilt: In your child’s mind, if they’re being asked to attend therapy intended to ‘fix them,’ it’s unlikely they’ll have the capacity to realise they’re being helped. Receiving treatment as a child can often be interpreted as a punishment, which can lead to feelings of shame and self-esteem issues if not managed correctly. Letting your child know how much you value them is an important part of guiding them through the process, ensuring they not only remain engaged, but also emotionally stable.
Let Your Child Know They Won’t Be Punished for Being Honest: All therapeutic processes rely on honesty, and regardless of your feelings about their behaviour or how inappropriate you may judge it be, you must be accepting of your child’s point of view. They must feel they’re in a safe place where they can express their feelings, even if they’re contradictory to your own. All unwanted behaviour is merely the symptom of a deeper rooted issue, which must be allowed to come to the surface, so it can be acknowledged and worked through on the conscious level. Honesty facilitates that process.
The Change Must Also Come from You as well as Your Child: As much as you may feel the onus should be on your child to change their behaviour, it’s also your responsibility to recognise when your parenting style may need improving. You serve as your child’s primary role model and are the person they look to most for how they should conduct themselves. The idea of child therapy is that you grow with your child, adapt and evolve your relationship. You’re not simply a passive observer, but an active part of the process both in your’s and your child’s and personal development.
*** If you think you might be in need of a professional opinion on the mental health of your child, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION for you to gain a better understanding of where you might need assistance. You can book yours here.
Whenever the topic of psychiatric medication is mentioned concerning one's child, there is always the risk of an alarmist-type reaction. This is completely understandable, you should rightly have a healthy amount of scepticism towards any form of psychiatric treatment, especially where your child is.....
For parents whose child is given a diagnosis of intellectual disability, it can be devastating. They are likely to experience grief for the loss of the child they imagined having, along with fear for the future, and feelings of guilt for not always being as accepting of the situation as they think t.....
It can be very frustrating dealing with a small child’s issues with temper control—it’s certainly no one’s favourite aspect of parenting! However, the way in which matters of this sort are managed can have big repercussions for how the child develops, so it is important to approach this issu.....