Child Therapy Process
The Counselling Process with Children
After the initial contact and consultation an parent-counsellor intake session (60 - 75 min) will be scheduled. This is when we will review the Minor Client Informed Consent Form and the Minor Client Intake Form. We will discuss the child's history and presenting issues and parents will have a chance to ask questions. Then the therapist will explain the counselling process and initial therapy goals will be discussed. After this initial intake session with parents/guardians, child-counsellor sessions will be scheduled.
It will be important for parents to prepare their child for counselling sessions by explaining to them where they are going and why they are going there. It is better to be upfront with kids than to delay talking to them, or being wishy-washy about what's happening. You can access the illustration below to read to your child to help with this. Also, for any pre-counselling jitters the child can look at Kindred Counselling’s Instagram or Facebook page, as well as any pictures of therapist's on the website. Sometimes seeing what their therapist looks like helps them feel more comfortable.
Our professional recommendation for all families seeking therapy for their child is to commit to a minimum of 12 counselling sessions in order for the assessment and treatment phase to have any meaningful long-term therapeutic impact. This is good advice in general whether or not you decide to work with us and is based on research and personal clinical experience.
Furthermore, for children who experience ongoing challenges or have earlier developmental challenges, or trauma, several more sessions will likely be needed. If parents/guardians foresee long-term counselling as being unachievable we should discuss whether or not starting treatment at this time would beneficial for the child. And a referral to a public counselling service would be a good option.
What happens? For the first 8-10 sessions the child and therapist are in a rapport building, assessment and stabilizing phase. During this time, there will be a mix of directive and non-directive play-based assessments to get a better understanding of the child's strengths and challenge areas. There will also be stabilizing, resourcing and preparation activities to prepare the child for more challenging therapy sessions during the treatment phase in which EMDR is used. The beginning stage allows the therapist to get to know the child and get a sense of re-occurring themes to better form a comprehensive assessment of the child's specific concerns and needs which will then lead to relevant goal setting for treatment and further recommendations.
Its recommended that a parent-counsellor session is scheduled after these 8-10 sessions to have the therapist summarize themes and other relevant therapy related issues and review progress and talk about next steps for more targeted treatment or other recommendations.
Also, parents may schedule a counsellor-parent support session at any time in the process (depending on availability) if they are wanting some coaching, information and support from the therapist.
Part of the treatment plan may include family involvement. Research shows that indirect and or direct parent/guardian participation in therapy increases therapeutic progress and successful outcomes for the child. Even if this at-home participation with direction from the therapist, or for the parent/guardian to engage in their own therapy or parent coaching.