For children & teens: What to Expect? Even though children and parents love each other very much, sometimes they keep arguing or having a hard time about one or two things. That's where I come in. I’m a family helper. I help children and parents get along better and fix the things that are bothering them.

Those things, those problems, can be A BIG BOTHER. Children and parents who come to work with me say that they DON’T WANT TO BE BOTHERED BY THESE PROBLEMS ANY MORE!

Sometimes they say, "I'm a good girl most of the time. But sometimes it feels like this one PROBLEM is pushing me around, making me do something that I really don't want to do. I want this PROBLEM to GO AWAY and STOP BOTHERING ME." So, in my office, we come up with ideas about how to fix the problems that have become a big bother.

Most of the time, the child and his (or her) parents are the ones who come up with good ideas for fixing the problem that are bothering them. (Sometimes I do, too.) Then they go home and try out those ideas. Then they come back. They tell me what worked or what didn’t work. We come up with more ideas. We keep talking and figuring things out like that, until the problem is gone. When the problem is not bothering the family anymore, there is MORE TIME FOR FUN AND LOVE.

Here’s another way to describe therapy. If you have a broken arm or a bad cold you go to the doctor for help, to feel better, right? If you have a toothache, you see a dentist, a special doctor for your mouth and teeth. Sometimes children and adolescents have problems they can’t see as easily as a broken bone or a cavity. When people have troubles with how they feel, things they do, or things they think about, sometimes they see a therapist. A therapist is someone who has gone to school to learn about feelings and thoughts -- the feelings and thoughts we all have at one time or another -- and how to help people feel better and be happier.

Remember, you are not the problem. The problem is the problem! Together you and your therapist (and mom or dad too, if you want) can figure out how to shrink that nasty problem that is giving you trouble.

Therapy is also a kind of learning. In some ways it's like learning to tie knots, learning to ride a two-wheeler, or learning to drive a car. This kind of learning helps people get along better, helps people feel happier or helps people understand something about themselves. Adults, teenagers, and kids use therapy. When they finish, most of them say that it worked.

  • In therapy might play games, draw, talk, write a story about the problem, or be quiet
  • Usually come up with their own, great ideas about the problem that has been bothering them and how to fix it
  • Will be asked to decide on a goal (for example: What do you want to change?)
  • Need to tell the truth, as much as they can (This gets easier once you feel ok about the therapist)
  • When they are ready, talk about what they want to change or learn in therapy
  • Tell me or their parent if they don't like something we're doing, so it can be changed
  • Decide who it's ok to tell that you are meeting with a therapist.
A therapist:

  • Is like a Talking Doctor
  • Knows how to help kids solve problems and deal with tough situation
  • Knows that kids usually have GREAT ideas about how to solve problems
  • Will ask some questions such as: What do you like to do?  If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
  • Won't make you answer, do, or say anything you don't want to.  Really.
  • Will meet your parents, too.
  • Will explain your right to privacy and will protect that right
  • Wants you to know that a lot of kids say that therapy helped a lot
“My parents and I used to argue alot. In therapy we learned how to listen to each other.” ... “When my parents wanted us to move, I was really, really sad. Now I’m not nearly so sad. I feel ok.” ... “I was always angry at my brother and my parents when they would give him more than me. In therapy we figured out it out so that we don’t have that problem any more.” ... “There were too many rules in my family and everyone was always yelling. In therapy my parents and I made new rules. They work pretty good, and we hardly ever yell.”
The main thing to remember is that your therapist wants what is best for you -- for you to feel happy, be proud of yourself, and to enjoy being a kid.