FAQ's for Kids/Teens

1) What is therapy?  Why would I need to go see a psychologist?

You know how you would go to see a medical doctor if you got the flu or had a fever?  Well sometimes kids may be feeling sad, angry, lonely, confused, or have other strong feelings that they are struggling to deal with.  This is where psychologists can help.  Psychologists are special kinds of doctors who help kids and families understand their feelings and find safe and healthy ways to deal with them.  Psychologists use talking strategies as well as structured and unstructured play activities to help kids with identifying and expressing their feelings, enhancing their self-esteem, as well as helping to improve relationships with family members, friends, and other important people in a child’s life.

2) If I start therapy, does that mean I have to take medication?

Nope.  In fact, most of the children that I see in therapy are not taking medication.  There are some instances when I have met with kids who could benefit from taking medication in addition to seeing me in therapy, and in those cases I would talk to you and your parents about meeting with a psychiatrist.  A psychiatrist is another kind of medical doctor who works together with psychologists to help treat issues that come up in therapy.

3) How does the therapy process start?

Therapy starts with something called the “intake process.” This usually means I will meet with you and your parents and ask you questions about yourself, why you and/or your parents thought it would be a good idea to meet with me, how you have been feeling lately, how things are going at school and at home, as well as what goals you would like to accomplish in our work together.Usually I meet with you for an hour and your parents for an hour, and then we all meet as a group to make a treatment plan that everyone agrees to before we start with regularly scheduled therapy appointments.

4) How long do I have to keep coming to see you?

This is a good question, but a hard one to answer because every child I meet with is so different.  Some kids notice that they are feeling better after 4-5 sessions, while other kids may decide to come meet with me for longer.  You and your parents may decide to stop meeting with me, and then come back every once in awhile for check-ups, just like you would do with a pediatrician or other medical doctor.  You, your parents, and I will decide as a group when is the best time for you to stop therapy.

5) Are you going to tell my parents everything I tell you?

Just like the grown-ups that I see, children deserve to have “confidentiality” in therapy, which means that what you say in our sessions stays between the two of us.  There are exceptions to this though!  If I feel like you or another child might be in harm’s way, I would be sure to talk to your parents or other supportive adults to help keep you or other kids safe.  If I feel like it would be helpful to talk with your parents about what you share with me in our private sessions, you and I would discuss this first and figure out a way to talk about it with your parents together.

6) Am I the only kid at my school who has to go to therapy?

Nope!  I can promise you that I’ve met plenty of kids and families from plenty of schools who have decided to come meet with me for therapy.  Everyone needs someone they can talk to when things aren’t going the best.  Deciding to go to therapy and talking with a trained professional shows just how brave you are in deciding to get the support that you deserve.