WHAT ARE SOME REASONS FOR A CHILD OR ADOLESCENT TO SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST?
Children and adolescents may see a psychologist for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to):
1. Changes in behaviour, eg. sleep issues, crying more than usual, frequent tantrums and meltdowns, avoidance of situations and tasks, risk-taking behaviour
2. Changes in mood and affect, eg. anxiety, fear, panic, sadness, anger, irritability
3. Developmental issues, eg. attention deficit, hyperactivity, learning difficulties
4. Difficulties in social interactions and relationships
5. Difficulties in family and/or parent-child relationships
6. Trauma, eg. bullying, abuse, accidents, witnessing violence
7. Bereavement or loss
WHY SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST SPECIALISING IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS?
1. A psychologist specialising in children and adolescents has a good knowledge of the developmental needs of children and adolescents at different ages .
2. She will be able to explain therapy concepts to the child in a way that is easier for him or her to understand. Therapy ideas and techniques are modified to meet the developmental level and needs of the child. She will have a repertoire of materials and strategies for helping the child, including the use of creative and expressive techniques such as play, art, cards and games.
3. She understands that the child is intricately connected to the system that he or she is in, and it is often necessary to work with the relevant parts of the system (eg. family, school, community) in order to optimise therapeutic progress. She will have the necessary training to mediate between children and their caregivers, in a way that improves bonding, trust and connection.
HOW IS THERAPY WITH A CHILD OR ADOLESCENT DIFFERENT FROM WITH AN ADULT?
1. Children or adolescents may not be fully aware of the reason(s) for seeking help and may need more time to clarify their goals and direction in therapy.
2. They may have been asked to go for therapy by a parent, doctor or the school. Hence the motivation comes from external sources and may not come from the child or adolescent themselves. Initial sessions would need to focus on developing engagement and motivation within the young person.
3. Some children or adolescents may find it hard to share with an adult. It may take more time to build rapport and develop trust in the therapeutic relationship.
4. Because children and adolescents are still very much dependent on their parents and their parents are concerned for their progress, the psychologist will balance between maintaining confidentiality and trust with the child, while providing information to the parents to ensure safety, garner support for the child and bridge parent-child relationships where necessary or appropriate.
HOW MUCH INFORMATION IS SHARED WITH THE PARENTS?
In order for the child to trust the psychologist and share information with him or her, it is important that there is an understanding that information is kept confidential unless the child consents to the sharing of information. If the psychologist feels that the sharing of information would be helpful for the parent to understand, help, support or have a better relationship with the child, he or she would obtain the child’s consent and discuss with the child what to share and how best to do so. The psychologist would not be able to share information without the child’s knowledge and consent as that would be against the professional code of ethics and would affect the willingness of the child to continue sharing openly with the psychologist. However, if the psychologist assesses that the child is at risk of harming him or herself, at risk of harming others or when a reportable offence has been committed, the psychologist would be required to break confidentiality.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN THE FIRST SESSION?
Depending on the age and comfort levels of your child, the psychologist may decide whether to see the child alone or both parent(s) and child together. Sometimes the parent(s) may wish to speak to the psychologist first before the psychologist sees the child. Most psychologists are flexible and will adjust to the needs of the family, as long as it does not affect the child’s ability to build trust and rapport with the psychologist. The psychologist usually starts with obtaining a general overview of the problem, before acquiring more specific information such as the onset, course, factors contributing to the problem, and relevant family, social and academic information. By the end of the session, there should some general agreement about the goals of therapy and what is to be expected of future sessions. It should be noted though that goals may sometimes change as new issues arise in subsequent sessions. The psychologist will also have an agreement with the child and parent(s) with respect to confidentiality of information.
HOW DO I EXPLAIN THERAPY TO MY CHILD?
Let your child know that you will be taking her to see a psychologist. Explain to her that a psychologist is a person who checks in on our feelings just like a doctor checks in on our bodies. Let her know that it is important to care for our thoughts and feelings the same way we care for our bodies. If you are concerned that she would feel singled out as having a problem, you can say that the session is for all family members to check in on their feelings and to understand how to support each other better.
DO YOU ONLY SEE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS?
I see individuals of all ages, gender, race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation, on a wide range of issues including mood and anxiety conditions, work-related issues, interpersonal and relationship issues, and issues related to self-esteem and personal identity.
HOW LONG IS A THERAPY SESSION, HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE AND HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO ATTEND?
Our rates are $250 for each session of 50 minute duration. The frequency and length of therapy as a whole would depend on your concerns and can be discussed in the first session.
HOW CAN I MAKE PAYMENT?
We accept cash, bank transfer and PayNow.
WHAT IF I CANNOT MAKE IT FOR MY APPOINTMENT?
We appreciate if you could call, message or email our receptionist at least 24 hours prior to your appointment if you need to cancel or reschedule. We hope you understand that a fee will be charged if cancellations are made with less than 24 hours’ notice.