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Children have to sometimes face difficult times and adjust to changes as they grow. Therapy can be very beneficial in helping your child work through these difficulties. Often your pediatrician or school counselor will recommend therapy to help your child.
Some signs parents should look for that could indicate a need for therapy:
- Age inappropriate tantrums
- Aggressive behavior
- Fears or phobias
- Anxiety (social or separation)
- Low self-esteem, child making negative remarks about self/others
- Difficulties with friends
- Eating issues
- Sleep disturbances
- Bathroom problems
- Physical complaints with no medical basis
- Difficulty adjusting to change
- Acting out behavior at home or school
It is often better to bring your child in for an evaluation now rather than to wait until he/she gets older and the problems worsen. Early intervention is the key to successful treatment.
The recommended ages for children to engage in play therapy are 3 – 10 years of age. Creative arts therapy works very well with children ages 3 – 14.
The length of treatment varies for each child depending on the presenting issues and the individual needs of your child. Generally, when a child reaches the initially established goals and positive changes are observed then the therapy sessions can be reduced and then concluded. This will be discussed with the parent as the process unfolds. Recognize that therapy is a process. Results are important and anticipated, but your child’s growth cannot be rushed or hurried.
An initial telephone conversation takes place with the parent (or an in-office parent consultation can be scheduled). Then the child is scheduled for an approximately 45 – 50-minute initial session.
Then the therapist will schedule the child to have therapy one or two times per week for 45-minute sessions.
- Weekly sessions (45 minutes)
- Short sessions (30 minutes)
- Parent consultations
Child therapy is referred to as client-centered, meaning the child selects which toys, games, or activities he/she would like to explore. The only rules are that the child cannot purposely destroy the toys, hurt him/herself, or hurt the therapist. The child engages in the play of his/her choice. The therapist encourages, reinforces, and reflects back the child’s feelings or inner conflicts.
Most children enjoy the freedom to explore, play and create in a fully accepting, empathetic and understanding atmosphere. The play therapy can help a child gain control or understanding of difficult situations.
Similar to adult therapy where all information from the session is confidential, your child’s therapy will be private (there may be legal exceptions – see confidentiality clause). Therefore, therapy sessions are conducted just with the therapist and the child and are specifically designed to focus on the individual child.
The parent will receive periodic updates via telephone during the initial phases of treatment. Parents can also schedule an in-person parent consultation. General themes and concerns will be discussed. The therapist will not discuss the child’s session with the parent in front of the child or while the child waits.
Behavioral problem-solving strategies may be discussed so parents can reinforce the process at home. Any information that you share with the doctor regarding your child’s behavior and actions can help and will be held in strictest confidence.
Results will vary depending on the individual child and his/her presenting issues. In general, the negative behaviors that are identified (e.g., tantrums, aggression, or socialization problems) will lessen or become extinguished. The more positive or desirable behaviors should increase, so that the parents and the doctor will see visible positive change. The child may become more self-confident, more mature, and generally happier, with less stress and inner conflict.
Some parents see improvement after one session. Other parents see a more gradual improvement during the first few weeks. Often school staff sees positive changes and may convey this to the parents. The therapist can only speak to the school regarding the child’s progress if a written consent form is signed by parents.
My practice is limited to children on an individual basis. However, separate sessions for siblings can be scheduled back to back.
Please call the office at 302-777-1110 for current costs.
If you intend to utilize your health insurance to reimburse you for any part of your child’s treatment, our billing manager will explore your coverage and submit receipts to your insurance company for you.