Parents, here is a range of advice and practical information about having your teenage son or daughter in counselling. While this section is directed to you, we recommend that both you and your teen read and discuss it together.
- It can be challenging to bring your child for counselling. It is a vulnerable thing to do for everyone in the family. It also involves a leap of faith as you are putting the well-being of your child in the hands of someone you likely don’t know. We recognize how hard this can be. Most of the therapists here are parents too.
- We have both male and female therapists. We recognize that your teen may feel more comfortable with a counsellor of a specific gender. Please let us know if this is the case.
- Counselling is a process. Some people need a few sessions and some people need many sessions. Sometimes change and healing can be subtle and slow. It helps if you are prepared to be patient with the process.
- Successful therapy will change the person who is in therapy. While a family often longs for change, even positive change can feel disorienting. It’s helpful to know that having your son or daughter in counselling and experiencing them change could potentially be disorienting for the whole family. If you experience this, we encourage you to hang in there, stay in counselling and talk to us about what you are experiencing.
- We have experience with teens. We know that they struggle with anxiety, depression, lack of self esteem, self harm, cutting, bullying, peer relationships, family relationships, anger, etc. If your teen comes to us and we feel they need counselling that is even more specialized than what we offer, we will let you know. We want them to experience success and we are happy to be honest when we feel that someone else can help them more than we can.
- It’s important that we let you know about consent and confidentiality. This is dictated by legislation. A person 12 or over who has capacity (understands what therapy is including its risks, benefits and alternatives) can agree or disagree on their own accord to enter into therapy. The same terms that apply to capacity also apply to confidentiality. This means that your son or daughter decides what information we as their therapist are allowed to share or not share with you about the content of our sessions (with a few exceptions which we go over in the first session). We encourage teens to be in open communication with their parents about counselling.
- If it’s okay with your daughter or son, we suggest parents be present for the first part of the first session. This allows you to get a sense of the therapist that your daughter or son will be working with. We set aside some time during the first part of this session for you to ask us questions.
- It is part of our intake process to ask for signed consent from your son or daughter to allow us speak with their pediatrician, doctor, naturopath and/or other medical practitioners responsible for their care. If something comes up in the course of therapy that necessitates a call to one of these practitioners, we will discuss it with your teen first and ask them to let you know that we will be communicating with one of these practitioners.
- It’s quite common to have a few family sessions as part of a teen’s therapy. This is something the counsellor will negotiate first with your son or daughter and then with you.
- In some situations it’s helpful to have your daughter or son in counselling while the either the whole family or you as parents are in counselling (this can include separated/divorced parents). In these situations, we’ll have one counsellor work with your teen and another counsellor work with you as a couple, parents or family.
That was a lot of information! If there is something we didn’t cover, please feel free to contact us and ask us what you’re wondering about.