How can therapy help my child?
You and your child can receive several benefits from participating in therapy. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies to help your child with issues such as behavioral and emotional problems, transition, loss, trauma, depression, and anxiety. Family therapy can help parents cope with the stress of parenting, giving you the tools to respond to your child in the most helpful way possible.
The benefits you and your child obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits include:
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do we really need therapy? My child seems well adjusted to things.
Every family faces challenges they may need support for. Sometimes these challenges can be overwhelming, even for good kids who have successfully navigated through difficulties in the past. If you find yourself thinking you just don't know what to do or how to help your child, then it may be time to ask for help. This is a big step but it takes a village to raise a healthy child and sometimes the village includes a professional counselor.
What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a widely accepted and very effective approach to helping children with behavioral and emotional difficulties. Children have limited ability to communicate with words but they communicate volumes through their play. This way of communicating is natural and comfortable for children. Play therapists use play to help young children explore and cope with difficult feelings and work through their struggles.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components of the therapy relationship. Even children need a place where they can share their thoughts and feelings without others knowing. Our therapists do not tell anyone else what you or your child talk about in sessions or that you or your child attends therapy. As a parent, you have a right to information about your child's treatment so we will give you general updates on your child's progress. We can also work with you on helpful ways to respond to your child, and we may ask you to help your child practice at home things s/he learns in therapy. Sometimes you may want us to share information or give an update to someone else such as a doctor, teacher or insurance carrier.
We do want children to maintain some privacy, even from parents, in a trusting relationship with another adult. However, we expect parents to participate in family therapy and we are obligated to share with parents issues that are potentially harmful or that parents feel compelled to konw. This is part of treatment planning.
Please note: State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
* If the therapist is ordered by a judge to release information.
What about medication?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Therapy is a great place to start in addressing behavioral and emotional issues, especially in children. In many cases, therapy is very effective and no further treatment is needed. However, there are times when therapy alone is not sufficient. In these cases, adding medication to the treatment plan can be very helpful.
Do you take insurance?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What does the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?