If I bring in my child, can I talk to the therapist without him or her in the room?
Generally speaking, before seeing a preadolescent child individually, the clinicians at the Sugar Bend Center prefer to meet with parents for a full session without the child present. We do this for several reasons. First of all, we want to make sure you are comfortable with us before bringing your child for an appointment. This allows you to reassure your child about who we are, what our office is like, and what the appointment will be like. We also like to meet with parents individually in order to gather a thorough history of your child and family. This is often much easier to do without the child present, and allows parents to speak openly about difficult topics when needed. Finally, this first session is often used to learn from parents about their expectations of treatment, what they hope to gain from it, and whether our services are likely to be what your child needs at this point. In some cases, particularly if individual therapy is warranted for younger children, parents may meet with the clinician periodically throughout the course of psychotherapy depending on the needs of the child and family. In other cases, when a child is not ready to use therapy independently, treatment may be primarily with parents, wherein parents are coached on how to help their children at home. Treatment with an adolescent can be a whole other story. As children approach adolescence, their need for privacy typically increases. Thus, much to the chagrin of many parents, therapy may be most effective when the adolescent has confidence that what he or she discusses in therapy will be confidential. Exceptions to this, of course, are when safety is concerned, or in the case of any other confidentiality limitations defined in your particular therapy arrangements. In general, treatment with adolescents may include parents, but it is less likely you would meet with the clinician without your child present.