Child counselling offers invaluable insight into your child’s social, emotional, and mental health. If your child has been feeling low for a long time now, you can bring him or her to our team of experienced, registered psychologists. For some people, feelings of sadness go away in some days, but it is alarming if any of your loved ones are experiencing problems in getting on with their lives. Don’t let the idea of bringing your child to our psychologists scare you. Gary J. Meiers, Ph.D., Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers, Ph.D. and Associates have been in practice since 1991. We provide therapy to help children cope with a range of issues such as behavioural problems, anxiety issues, depression, emotional regulation, and getting along within the family.
To help you better understand our child counselling process, here are few frequently asked questions and answers:
Q: How Do I Know My Child Needs Professional Help?
A: It is difficult to identify the issues your child might be facing. Children might struggle with friendship problems or stress from school. Conflicting situations in families also hit children hard. Therapy or counselling will open up communication with your child and help you understand the reasons for their difficult or challenging behaviour.
The reasons are mostly connected to issues at home or school, such as divorce, bereavement, emotional stress or learning difficulties. As a parent, you need to believe your gut or intuition while deciding whether or not you need to take the first step towards professional help. You can make a decision based on the following criteria:
The problematic behaviour is not typical of your child’s age and development. For instance, a two-year-old might bite, but a six-year-old is not supposed to.
Emotions such as anger or fear experienced by your child are too intense and hard to sooth or regulate.
Other aspects of your child’s life, such as studies or health, are impacted.
Transitions are hard getting ready for school, going to bed, developing a study routine.
Conflict between siblings that escalates from yelling to physical.
Effective child counselling can help children gain control of their lives and master useful strategies to manage difficult circumstances. To know more, read our blog on when to get counselling for your child.
Q: How Will I Know If the Counselor Is Actually Addressing the Issues?
A: You can always talk to our counsellors to know how they would be approaching your child. Counsellors encourage children to improve their communication and to think about situations from different perspectives. The sessions help them build up confidence and learn different ways to handle anxiety-provoking situations. You can even request for a parent-child session where you can talk about your concerns and allow your child to respond.
Q: How Involved Are the Parents in Therapy?
A: Parents are supposed to collaborate in the counselling process actively. As a parent, you will know all about your child and your family, and so your input is very important. Both our counsellor and you are supposed to come up with ideas to help your child. The younger the child, the more active participation we need from parents.
Q: How Soon Should I Expect Improvement?
A: It is difficult to predict as different people take different time to change their behaviour. Generally, severe problems which have been there for a long time take longer to change. Your child will initially need some time to become comfortable with our counsellor, and then we will figure out the strategies that would be most helpful. For instance, most children find expressive art therapies useful, but some might not.
Some children show quick improvement and might not show any changes later. Others can be slow to start and then can suddenly take a big step forward. It is also possible to hit a rough patch after making good progress for some time. However, regular conversations with you and your child will help us decide whether or not we are moving in the right direction and focussing on important issues.
Q: When is Family Therapy the Starting Point?
A: Often when families find that members of the family unit are impacted by transitions, for example, a new member joins that family. Or the structure of the family has changed in that one parent is away for work while the other parent becomes the primary caregiver or two families blend together. Each of these transitions can create a change in family structure, or parenting, leaving the children confused. In this context, Family Therapy helps to make clear the new family structure or blueprint.