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How to help my teenager in therapy – info and tips for parents and caregivers

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Uncategorized

It can be challenging to understand your role as the parent or caregiver of a young person attending therapy. Here are some things that you might like to know.

 

  • We value your insights about your young person and their world. We want to know about their relationship with you and their family, how they respond to stress, their strengths and weaknesses, their hopes and struggles, and so much more. Likewise, we welcome your questions and concerns. If there is anything we can do to provide support, please talk to us.

 

  • Information can be shared with the young person present or separately – and should be considered with the psychologist and young person. We may ask for more information using questionnaires or other approaches.

 

  • A good connection, rapport, and sense of safety with a therapist may take several sessions to build. Research calls this a Therapeutic Alliance and suggests it is very important and supports better outcomes. It also allows the psychologist to develop a good understanding of the client and their specific situation and needs. As with any relationship, honest communication is integral. If something could be improved, please talk to us.

 

  • Psychologists also have professional, legal and ethical privacy obligations that we take seriously. Confidentiality is a cornerstone of practice, influencing everything that we do.

 

  • Please let the psychologist know if there is a major change with your young person or family, for example, an emergency, safety issue, family court situation or other court proceedings. If there is a potential for danger, we need to know to support the safety of your young person, our staff, and our other clients. If there are challenging circumstances, we can work together on a plan to support safety.

 

  • Likewise, sometimes young people will share information that suggests a risk to their safety. We will work with the young person and often family to understand the extent of safety issues and work to reduce risk and increase safety as much as possible. If there is an immediate or serious safety risk to the young person, Psychologists are often required to share information with other service providers as required. At other times we may seek the young person’s or your consent to engage with schools, non-emergency medical professions, extended family or safe friends.

 

  • As a young person matures across their teenage years, their ability to understand and consent to medical support gradually improves. As much as possible, it is important to empower them in their emerging ability to make mature decisions about their health care. This means that parents and caregivers may not automatically be told what happens in a therapy session.

 

  • Young people are regularly asked and encouraged to engage with their family both in session and outside of the session about their mental health. With your young person’s consent, the psychologist may also share information or make many recommendations to parents or caregivers to support the young person’s wellbeing.

 

  • Effective therapy can be challenging at times. How a person reacts to therapy can vary. Some people need space and time to think, feel and process after their session and may not want to share information. Other people may want comfort, or to talk about their experiences with someone they trust, or want to be distracted. If you’re not sure – ask them how you can be supportive and listen well.

 

  • Our experienced staff can help you and your young person on this complex journey.

 

If you have any questions and would like to make an appointment for your young person, please call us on 42445636.

Written by Jenna Axtens

Jenna is a Clinical Psychology Registrar and Registered Psychologist. Jenna enjoys connecting with clients across the lifespan with a range of concerns. Jenna has a special interest in Neurodiversity, Sleep Psychology and Transdiagnostic approaches to treatment.

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