What is therapy | What to expect
What is therapy and what should parents expect from children going to therapy? We answer these questions below and provide suggestions for parents to help them find the best treatment for their child.
What is therapy
Therapy is a technique where a trained and licensed mental health professional works with an individual to resolve an issue involving mental health. The purpose of treatment is to heal a mental health disorder. The professional may use multiple approaches but all treatments should include the implementation of behavioral skills which may include: journaling, role-playing, behavior modification, etc. Therapy usually consists of visits once or twice a week but may vary depending on the severity of the disorder. Effective therapists will give their clients assignments every week and will follow up on those assignments to measure progress. The purpose of these assignments focus on minimizing the symptoms of the disorder. Therapy can be combined with medication based on the client.
The purpose of therapy is to minimize symptoms or resolve the disorder and create independence. If treatment is not moving toward creating independence, you should reevaluate if treatment is appropriate.
The art of therapy
There are many therapists with different approaches, education, personalities, and expectations. It is imperative that parents do a lot of homework BEFORE hiring a mental health professional for treatment.
Treatment will depend heavily on the mental health professional so it is important to find someone that is a good fit for the client. For example, if you are looking for a therapist, you determine if you would do better working with a male or female, what type of personality is a good fit for you and how long they feel it will take to see results in treatment. These are important questions to ask. Not all therapists are the same.
I have always suggested that finding a therapist is like buying a car. There are many different types and purposes for cars. You need to spend some time and find the right one to fit your needs. While one person may need a truck, someone else may need a hybrid. They both provide transportation but have different purposes. Take some time to find the right fit for your needs and it will save you and your child time and money.
Suggestions for those seeking therapy treatment
- Find a therapist that is a good fit for the client. (personality, gender, approach)
- Set a time limit with the mental health professional on how long treatment should last.
- Set weekly goals on what should be accomplished for the agreed upon time limit.
- Continually evaluate progress every week with the therapist.
As I stated before, the purpose of therapy is to minimize or resolve symptoms of the disorder and to create independence. Everything in therapy should be focused on fulfilling these purposes.
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