How to Know When Therapy is Right for Your Child?
It can be tough to know when to start therapy for your child. One common misconception of counseling is that there has to be something “wrong” with a person in order for them to go to counseling. This isn’t the case for most clients. Often times, therapy can be an extra tool in the toolbox of resources to help cope with life. Many children enjoy their time in my office where they are able to talk to an adult who is not a parent. We discuss life and emotions and learn tools to help problem solve. Here are just a few tips to help decide whether counseling is right for your family.
The easiest way to know if anyone is ready for counseling is when they ask to go to counseling. I have many parents enter my office and tell me they should have come sooner. They elaborate that their teenager had mentioned counseling, but then things improved, so they put counseling off. However, it is a big step for someone to ask for help. When a person makes that step, make sure not to ignore their request.
Another sign that counseling could be beneficial is when you see the same patterns with no change. For instance, many families mention that their child has been having “meltdowns” or problems managing anger for years. If the problem has been going on for a month, then it is a sign to that the family might need additional resources. Remember, making changes before the problem becomes a habit is the best practice. This is the easiest time to make changes!
Lastly, whenever there has been a traumatic or big life event, this is an indicator of needing counseling. It is often beneficial for children to be seen after their parents divorce or remarry. This provides a safe place for children to identify and explore their feelings regarding the event. Whenever a child has suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or is grieving the loss of a loved one counseling is essential.
The first step for a child entering counseling is a parent intake. During the parent intake, the counselor meets alone with the parents. Parents are encouraged to use this time to make sure they feel comfortable with the counselor. Parents should feel free to bring in any questions or concerns they have and ask how the counselor plans on treating their child.
Written by: Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S
Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com