The following concerns might need to be addressed by a professional therapist: If your child is upset or withdrawn for unknown reasons, if your child is experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety over an extended period of time, and/or if your child is acting out sexually in ways that differ from developmental norms.
You may not know if your child needs counseling, as symptoms of trauma are not always obvious. If you child has experienced exposure to trauma, discuss with your Advocate whether or not a trauma assessment is recommended.
You can discuss any thoughts or concerns you may have about your child’s behavior or therapy needs with your Advocate and they can assist you in making the necessary referrals. We have mental health therapists on site who can complete a trauma assessment to better understand your child’s needs. Depending on your family’s location and the therapist’s openings, the therapist can schedule to complete an intake with your child at the Child Safety Center or refer the child to another mental health professional that better fits the needs of your child and family.
Therapy is a unique opportunity for a child to meet with a trained professional who is willing and able to work to establish goals for treatment and to develop a pathway toward achieving those goals. For children who are beginning therapy with a history of physical or sexual abuse, this process also uses research-based treatment that has been proven to be effective in reprocessing with trauma. Occasionally, a child may leave a session feeling temporarily worse before realizing the full healing effect. Therapy relies on the child’s willingness to be open and to participate in the process, and the family should feel welcome to voice any concerns, discomfort, and scheduling issues with the therapist.
The initial meeting with the therapist lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours. After the initial meeting with the therapist, you, and your child, therapy sessions typically last 45-60 minutes and may likely include your presence and input. Sessions are typically not extended beyond this time, as this might impact the scheduled appointment of other children. However, in the case of emergencies, a therapist will be present for you and your child until the emergency has been resolved.
It is best to be supportive and caring if your child initiates a discussion about his or her abuse. Listen to what your child has to say and praise the effort your child has shown in sharing. Check out the Resources tab to see recommended books, articles and websites to better equip you as you support your child.