Preparing for your Child's First Counseling Interview
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Getting ready to meet a counselor or other mental health specialist (psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, etc) can be a positive experience for all involved if the parent takes time to consider the following issues and discuss with a friend, a school counselor or another trusted adult prior to the first intake session.

All families go through changes. Sometimes things have happened in a child's life that are important for the therapist to know, because they may be effecting your child's feelings and behavior. For example, if the child has ever been separated from one of their parents for a long period of time, this may have caused them fear or distress that still affects their feelings of safety. Other events such as major illness or accidents may affect their health and their ability to handle stress. Any big changes or frightening events in a child's life can affect their mental health.

The Intake Worker will also ask questions about you, the caretaker; about how you respond to your child's behavior and any history of mental health problems in the family.

It is extremely important to attend the scheduled Intake Meeting.

If there is anything that you are uncomfortable with or disagree with during or after the Intake, it is important to share that information with the intake staff so that they can better support you and meet your child's needs.

Services for mental health start with having the family participate in Family Therapy, typically 4 once-a-week sessions to start with, so that everyone can have a chance to get support, talk about their concerns, and build their skills in supporting the child to improve their mental health.

Taking time to think through these ideas will help you and your family experience all of the wonderful benefits of the therapeutic process.