Frequently Asked Questions
01 How do I find a Child and Adolescent Therapist?
IFCAPP is the professional accreditation body for Child & Adolescent Psychotherapists in Ireland: www.ifcapp.com. Child & Adolescent Psychotherapists registered with IFCAPP have a minimum of 4 years training on post graduate level specialising in working with minors.
02 What is Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy?
Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist work with a great variety of young people (age 4-18) who have difficulties for instance in school, transitions, during parental separation, bereavement, disability, trauma, long-term hospitalization due to complicated medical situations, and other events in a family's life that are challenging. Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy is a relational approach. For more info click here
03 Who attends the first meeting?
The therapist will see the parents on their own for a preliminary meeting before the individual therapy intake sessions with their child/adolescent. The initial parent session is vital for the therapist in order to gather information about the child and the family dynamics. Moreover, it allows the parents to speak freely about their concerns. Parents, you are welcome to ask as many questions as you wish about the therapy process, my professional background and treatment modality. If parents of the child/teenager are separated the therapist will want to meet with both parents (if possible) in order to best understand the whole situation. Written consent for therapy is required from both parents.
04 When do I need to bring my child to a therapist?
You may notice some unusual behaviour. Such behaviour may manifest itself all of a sudden or gradually emerges over a period of time. You may feel that 'he is not his usual self', 'she acts out of character', 'has he gone mad?', 'she is over-emotional or over-sensitive', 'he has almost completely withdrawn from activities that he used to enjoy and spends all his free time on his own in his bedroom', 'she has become a very picky eater and seems to find excuses not to eat with the family anymore', 'he looks sad, rarely smiles and cries a lot', 'she does not want to go to school anymore and has missed a lot of days', and so forth. It can help to consult your family, friends or your GP for advice. However, if the emotional ups and downs or the unusual behaviour consists or becomes worse and none of the advice received helped, then there might be an underlying emotional problem the young person struggles with. Children and adolescents can find it hard to put this into words, and hence communicate their distress through their behaviour. Child & Adolescent Therapy can help to uncover the underlying distress and help the young person and his/her family understand what is going on.
05 How do I explain therapy to my child?
Most children do not ask to see a therapist but if they are having emotional difficulties you might be surprised at their willingness to attend. Adolescents, on the other hand, are at the developmental stage where they feel they know better than their parents do. Hence, your adolescent may be reluctant to see a therapist. However, it is most therapists’ experience that teenagers realize when they are in trouble and will be somewhat relieved when they meet a therapist - even if they don't say it. You can discuss with your therapist what you might say to your child or adolescent about therapy in the preliminary parent meeting.
06 How long will the therapy last?
This is a difficult question to answer. When children and adolescents run into emotional difficulties the course of their development might be delayed or has gone off track. Therapy is a way of helping your child to get back on track. When therapy is working you will notice that after some time has passed your child starts to get on with life in a more adjusted way. How soon this happens depends on the presenting problem, the child's personality and the family dynamics. The parents are offered regular review/feedback meetings where progress and termination of therapy can be talked about. Generally speaking, the length of therapy depends on the complexity of the presenting problem.
07 Will the therapist tell me what my child/adolescent talks about in the sessions?
One of the cornerstones of therapy is confidentiality. In other words, the details of the content of the sessions will not be discussed by the therapist during the review meetings. However, you will receive general feedback. Your child, on the other hand, can tell anyone what is happening in the therapy sessions but might decide not to do so. Young people vary in how much they wish to talk about what happens in the sessions. It is a good policy to avoid asking questions and just to let your child decide how much he/she wishes to share with you. Part of the work of therapy can be about giving a child or adolescent his or her own space. However, it is important to note that there are limits to confidentiality. As a professional working with minors I am adhering to the Children's First National Guidelines. If a child discloses that he/she is a risk to himself/herself, or states that he/she is being harmed, or has an intent to harm a third party, then I am obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the young person or other people at risk. For more information please refer to www.tusla.ie/children-first. Moreover, it is my policy that if a child/adolescent discloses self-harm or suicidal ideations he/she needs to be seen by his/her GP.
08 What about child protection issues? What does that mean?
Children and young people need to know that confidentiality will be preserved. This means that the content of the sessions will not be shared with anyone without their consent. However, as mentioned above there is a limit to confidentiality when a young person’s safety is at risk. The young person is encouraged to talk to his parents himself about the disclosure with the support of the therapist. If the adolescent attends on his/her own or does not want to talk to his/her parents at all, I will speak to the parents in person on the same day or by phone, also on the same day. In other words, the parents are informed about any serious concerns immediately. It is important to note that the therapist may have an obligation to share information with the family doctor or another agency www.tusla.ie/children-first. Please remember that the therapist's aim is to provide a professional service in the best interest of the child.
09 Deliberate Self-Harm & Suicidal Ideations
10 Counselling & Psychotherapy / Code of Ethics
Counselling & Psychotherapy is governed by a strict professional Code of Ethics click here and is respectful of all cultures, sexual orientations and beliefs.
Please ask me any question you may have or make an appointment.