If you are seeking professional help to deal with challenging behaviour, the section below outlines some helpful tips and suggestions when preparing for a consultation.
Before assessing the needs of a child, a psychotherapist may request a Parent Information & Support Meeting. This allows the professional to gather background information as well as work out which therapeutic approach suits the parent and child best. After this meeting you may also receive a follow up email containing tips and suggestions for you to start using at home as part of your parenting strategy, these are aspects of what we call Therapeutic Parenting.
The next step would be for your child to attend for a number of observation/pre-therapy assessment sessions, after which the professional will again meet with parents/carers and discuss what, if any, further intervention is required.
Working with the professional, you will establish whether you and/or your child could benefit from a psychotherapeutic intervention to begin to understand the factors impacting on your relationship and/or causing the concerning behaviours.
What kind of therapy is best for me/my child?
There are a number of therapeutic approaches (listed below) and the purpose of the initial assessment session is to ascertain which of these will be most suitable for you/your child. These will be discussed with you in detail after the assessment.
- Play Therapy
- Sand Tray Therapy
- Child Parent Relationship Therapy
- Therapeutic Play sessions
- Brief Psychotherapy (for children, adolescents, young adults, parents)
- Long-Term Psychotherapy (for children, adolescents, young adults, parents)
- Attachment Assessments (I provide the MIM; SSAP; CAI)
What is the usual duration of therapy?
Because everyone is an individual and as therapy is a process, which develops over time, the length of treatment will vary. Therapy may last from 4 sessions to several months to a couple of years depending on the individual and the circumstances. Generally, children respond quicker than adults in therapy due to their life experiences being more limited in that they are either in the problem or it may have recently happened. Statistically, children under 7 years show positive changes in the concerning behaviour in 12-14 sessions. Early intervention is always the best approach.
Listed below is a range of symptoms that may require professional support:
- Attachment Challenges
- Concerns about infant development (feeding/weaning/sleeping)
- Shyness/Difficulty making friends
- Temper Tantrums/Aggressive Behaviour
- Dealing with Separation/Divorce
- Eating Disorders
- Parent Child Bonding
- Oppositional Behaviours
Parent-Infant or Parent-Young Child Work
Sometimes babies and young children cry a lot or cannot establish regular patterns of eating or sleeping and their caregivers cannot figure out how to help them. Sometimes babies and young children do not respond to their parents’/carers’ efforts to help them. Such behaviours and feelings often interfere with a family’s sense of wellbeing and capacity for emotional, social and intellectual development. If these problems do not resolve with time and support from parents/carers, professional assistance can be both warranted and highly effective.
At Solamh, we believe that a parent’s worries and upsets can impact on their child just as the behaviour of the infant or young child may create considerable challenges for the parent. Addressing either in isolation may not fully resolve the difficulties and can be only partially effective, for this reason sessions may be one to one and others will include you and your infant/young child.
Thinking and talking with a psychotherapist/attachment specialist can throw light on difficulties, which previously may have seemed confusing and can help parents and children recognise their own capacity to manage confusing situations.
Joint parent/infant or Parent/young child work will also facilitate the development of parent child communication and enable you to communicate with your child in a non-verbal way.
Peri-natal psychotherapy and in utero attachment assessment is also a need identified by parents to be, where there is a concern surrounding potential attachment difficulties, in this instance we would recommend identifying the appropriate professional to commence attachment repair and recovery work at the earliest possible time.