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299 Alhambra Circle Ste #418 Coral Gables, Fl 33134
(305) 624-7900 jhppa@aol.com
Dedicated to serving patients efficiently and effectively

Therapy FAQs

Q?

What is psychotherapy with children and adolescents?

A.

In psychotherapy with children and adolescents, play and talking are used to help children understand and express feelings and to change behaviors which are causing them problems with their families and friends, with their school performance, or with their feelings about themselves

Q?

When does your child or adolescent need psychotherapy?

A.

Children and adolescents may need psychotherapy or counseling when either they or others who live and work with them feel they could use some “help”.
Difficulties can include a range of problems including anxiety, depression, fears, behavioral difficulties and peer problems, to give but a few examples.

Q?

Why is it a good idea to get help early for children and adolescents?

A.

Providing help early on to children who are having emotional difficulties is usually more effective and less expensive than waiting for the “problem” to go away.

Childhood emotional difficulties can affect a child’s social relationships, school performance and overall self-image, sometimes resulting in life-long problems. A child who gets help when it is needed will have fewer difficulties later on.

Q?

How frequently and for how long will your child or adolescent be in therapy?

A.

I typically schedule sessions of one hour a week with periodic parent conferences. With very young children, the session may be only 30-35 minutes.

In a crisis, where a great deal of support is needed, sessions may be more frequent. The length of the treatment will depend on the nature of the difficulty, and can be anywhere from three months to a year or more.

Q?

What should you tell your child or adolescent about going to see a therapist?

A.

As in any new situation, a child or adolescent may be apprehensive and possibly quite negative about going to see a therapist. It is best to tell them a few days in advance. It is also best to give honest information to the child or adolescent indicating what your concerns are.

Emphasize that the person they are going to see is going to help them, not punishing, judgmental or angry. You can expect some reluctance or resistance.

It is also helpful to have the child or adolescent speak, even briefly, by phone to confirm an appointment.

It is best to reassure your child or adolescent that their feelings about the therapist will be discussed after a couple of meetings. Once you have made the decision to seek therapy for your child, insist that your child “check it out”. Don’t let their apprehension deter you.

Let the child or adolescent know that sometimes it is other members of the family that need to change what they are doing and that you, as parents, are willing to see what you may need to do differently.

Q?

What contact should you have with your child or adolescent’s therapist?

A.

Generally, depending on the age, and maturity of the child, I may not disclose to the parents any specifics about what a child has said but I will give parents an overall impression of the difficulties the child is experiencing - and specific suggestions about what and how they can be helpful.

Parents are extremely important to the therapeutic process and should are included in any treatment plans. Your cooperation is critical to a successful outcome.

The amount of parent contact will vary greatly and I will discuss this with you at the beginning of treatment so you will know what to expect.

In most cases I will have an initial meeting with the child and parents to take a history from the child and parents, and to discuss their concerns about the child. It is important that both parents attend this meeting even if they do not both live with the child.

If, in the case of divorce or separation, this is too uncomfortable, separate meetings can be held with each parent. Step-parents should be included in these meetings if they have regular contact with the child or adolescent.

Q?

What is confidential and what is not?

A.

State laws differ regarding parental access to records and information regarding psychotherapy with children. However, for psychotherapy to be most effective, the child or adolescent must feel safe with the therapist. This can best be accomplished if they know that what they say is confidential and will not be revealed to anyone without their permission.
However, confidentiality can be broken if I believe the child is in danger in some way or threatens someone else.

Q?

What if the therapist does not seem right for your child or if your child does not seem to be making progress?

A.

As with any two people, the your child and I may be incompatible. After a few sessions, your child should feel that going to therapy is “fun” (for younger children) and “helpful” for adolescents. If the therapist/child pairing isn’t a good fit I will be happy to refer you and your child to colleagues who may have a different approach or temperament where the working relationship will be a better fit.

Your child’s difficulties will not improve overnight but after a while you should begin to see at least some changes at home and/or with peers and/or in school. You should feel free to discuss concerns about your child’s progress with me. If you have concerns about the treatment of your child or adolescent, it is important that you bring your concerns to my direct attention.