Sending your Child to Therapy? What to Know about Parent Consultations.

Who and What my Child’s Therapist is About

During your first parent consultation, the therapist will start with an intake interview with you to gather information about your child. This may include current parenting strategies and any difficulties your child has been experiencing that brought them to therapy in the first place. This is also a time where you can ask your child’s therapist what their approach to working with children is and what therapy with a child looks like. Some child therapists specialize in working with specific conditions or utilize specific therapeutic approaches to work with children and if you have specific questions, this would be a good time to ask these questions.  

How Parent Consultations Work

After the initial parental intake session, your child’s therapist may call for subsequent parent consultations. These meetings allow for you to consult with the therapist if you encounter any difficulties parenting your child, and provide opportunities to refine and practice any new parenting skills introduced by your child’s therapist. Similar to coaching, your child’s therapist may help you to troubleshoot difficulties, and more importantly, support and encourage you on your parenting journey.

Does Parenting Work Suggest I am a Bad Parent?

Parents who bring their children in for therapy may sometimes feel guilty and ashamed for their child’s difficult behaviors. Rather, parents who have brought their children in for therapy are investing in enhanced emotional health and well-being for their children and that takes much courage and sacrifice from a financial and time perspective. I am always appreciative of parents who have taken the step and effort to send their children to therapy. You have taken the first step to make things better for you and your child. When your child’s therapist suggests some parenting work, it is not only an invitation for you to oil the gears to be more helpful support for your child, but is also an opportunity for you to enhance your relationship with your child. The child-parent relationship is an invaluable part of life that not only allows both the parent and child to enjoy one another better but also makes it easier for you to parent your child with this foundation that you are building and contributing to.

Parents’ Involvement in Parental Consultations

Although your child is attending therapy, it is crucial that you are actively involved in supporting your child. This collaboration ensures your child has the best chance of getting better. What this involves is actively learning and applying the strategies introduced by your child’s therapist. You may not find yourself successful the first few times but this is perfectly normal and to be expected in learning something new. You can be as involved as you want in parent consultations. However, since you have already invested time and energy, why not try getting as involved as you can to see what differences that can lead up to? Most children may not thank their parents for trying, but like gardening, it takes time for fruits to bear.

Written by:
Isabelle Ong, Ph.D., LCMHCA, NCC (USA)
Clinical Mental Health Counselor for Individuals & Groups, Children, Adolescents, Couples & Families
SACAC Counselling

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