By Sharon Fischer, LCSW
Parents, you are the experts. You are with your children everyday and know them inside and out. As therapists, we only see them for an hour a week, so we need your help to make therapy as successful as possible. Here are a few things you can do to help.
Be open to the counseling process
Feel free to be as open and honest as possible about what is going on with your child. Our job is not to judge you, but to help you. Since you are the experts on your child it helps if you can tell us as much information as possible in order to be successful.
Join in the therapy
We encourage you to attend sessions frequently and ask questions and learn from your child. Take advice from your child’s therapist about any techniques that might be helpful. We are not here to blame you, but to encourage change in you and your child by working as a team.
Come without siblings
Daily life can get hectic sometimes and therapy can be a great time for a parent and child to bond. Use the car trip to talk about the child’s feelings and current circumstances. When a child gets that one on one attention for just one hour a week it can really make a difference.
Ask your child about therapy
Don’t be afraid to ask your child what went on in a therapy session. As therapists we generally do not tell you exactly what your child said for confidentiality reasons, but children are free to talk about whatever they’d like. Ask your child, “Is there anything you want to share with me about your session today?” Your job is not to fix it, but just to listen and encourage your child.
Do therapy or counseling homework with your child
Children are often assigned a task they need to complete before the next session. Feel free to ask if you can help or do it with them. This is also a good opportunity for kids to teach parents about what they are learning in therapy.
See your own therapist
In some cases it can benefit the child if his or her parents are in counseling simultaneously. It sets a good example and shows your child that, “it is not just me who is having a hard time.” This is helpful if it seems that your child is responding to a larger problem in the family or if you find yourself less patient than usual.
Therapy with children is often most effective when parents are involved as much as possible. We hope these tips help when beginning therapy with us at Palo Alto Therapy.
Contact us to schedule an appointment by calling 650-461-9026