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FAQ - Children

Why would a child see a psychologist?

How old do you need to be?

Can I attend the session with my child?

Are after school sessions available?

Q1/

Why would a child see a psychologist?

Children see a psychologist for the same reason that adults do, they are struggling with managing their thoughts, feelings or behaviours.  Although this is may be developmentally normal, an individual may benefit from some extra support if these issues are causing significant distress or disruption to their education or other parts of their lives.

Q2/

How old do you need to be?

Children of all ages may benefit from the help of a psychologist.  For under fives the sessions will involve considerable focus on supporting parents to assist their children.  Primary school age children will probably have a combination of individual, parent or combined  sessions depending on need and preference.  Adolescents are likely to predominantly attend on their own with less frequent involvement of parents, although parents will still be involved to provide information and gain information about how best to support their child.  

Q3/

Can I attend the session with my child?

It is preferable for at lest one parent (both if possible) to attend the initial appointment with a child or adolescent so that everyone understands the process and there is the opportunity to share different perspectives on the presenting issues.  However, thought should be given to what and how information should be shared in the presence of the child to avoid causing undue to distress or damaging self esteem.  It may be more appropriate to provide background information through an email or to schedule a separate parent session (two carer only sessions are now allowed under Mental Heath Care funding per calendar year, but they are part of the 10 sessions funded not additional).

Following the first session, the child is given some choice (when appropriate) to decide when a parent is present during the appointment.  For younger children parents are likely to attend many of the sessions, while for adolescents they may attend relatively few.  Parental attendance can be useful when skills are being developed or during psychoeducation sessions so parents have a better understanding of the issues and the coping strategies being developed.  Child/Adolescent only sessions are often appropriate to allow privacy and growing independence but these will by planned on a case by case basis.  Information shared in child only sessions will remain confidential but parents will be informed if there is a safety concern.

Q4/

Are after school sessions available?

Unfortunately Michaela currently only works 9am-12pm and 2pm-4pm Monday to Thursday so it is likely some school will be missed in order to attend appointments.  The first and last appointments of the day often fill quickly so will need to be planned in advance.

 

However, as appointments will likely only occur every 1-2 weeks for a short period, and will then be spaced further apart, the disruption to schooling should be relatively minimal, especially if appointments are scheduled to ensure that the same class is not missed too regularly.   

It is generally better for children not to miss a preferred or special activity at school, such as their favourite class or an excursion, as this can result in resentment and difficulty engaging in the session.  If a clash is identified you are free to reschedule however there will be a cancellation fee if less than 48 hours notice is provided, and a replacement session in the near future may not be readily available.  

 

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