Child, Adolescent And Family Counseling

Child, Adolescent and/or Family therapy are treatment options that your clinician may recommend after an initial appointment. The recommended treatment will depend on the presenting issues or problems, age of the child, concerns about other family members, and the clinician’s assessment of particular strengths or challenges the child displays. With younger children (ages eight and younger) we often find it is productive to have the parent present during the session so than can reinforce strategies at home and in the community. As children mature, often the parent is not present in the session after the initial appointment but will join appointments periodically to provide input and receive updates.

After several appointments, treatment goals emerge and become the focus of sessions. Various strategies may be implemented to reinforce the messages of treatment between sessions and may or may not include sessions with parents and child together, child alone, or consultation with parents and child not present. These decisions are based upon many factors and the final format of treatment may evolve over a number of sessions. The frequency of sessions may also be variable. Whereas with adult psychotherapy, weekly sessions for a period are often elected, treating children and adolescents often is best accomplished with less frequent contact since weekly appointments may be overwhelming to children and not allow enough time for strategies to be implemented and reviewed. Meeting twice per month after an initial period of more frequent sessions is often a productive mode.

Clinicians who treat children and adolescents often find it helpful to coordinate services with the child’s school, especially when the presenting problem(s) involve educational, social, or behavioral concerns during the school day. Management of such communication is critical and most often the clinician is seeking vital information from school rather than sharing information learned in session. When more comprehensive communication with school is indicated, the clinician may join a team meeting at school to coordinate efforts. Any communication with school or other outside agencies would always be discussed in advance with the parents and the child/adolescent, and a release of information would need to be signed before the clinician could talk to an outside party.

Treatment generally ends in a gradual fashion with the frequency of sessions tapering. Some parents or clients will elect to return to treatment at a future date and this often is effective if a strong working relationship was established initially.