FAQ - Children
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.
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 sessions and sessions that include their parents although this will be their choice. Adolescents are likely to predominantly attend on their own with only occasional involvement of parents to help them understand how best to support their child.
Can I attend the session with my child?
It is preferable for at lest one parent 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. It may be more appropriate to provide background information through an email or to schedule a separate parent session (this session is not currently funded under Medicare).
Following the first session it is up to the child to choose 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 appropriate to allow privacy and independence. Information shared in these sessions will remain confidential unless there is a safety concern.
Are after school sessions available?
Unfortunately Michaela currently only works between 9am and 3pm Monday to Thursday so some school will be missed in order to attend appointments. However as appointments will likely only occur every 1-2 weeks for a short period and will then be spaced further out, the disruption to schooling should be minimal especially if appointments are scheduled to ensure that the same class is not missed too often.