If my child wants therapy am I failing them as a parent?
No, if a child is requesting therapy the most supportive and beneficial thing you can do for them is to facilitate this. Sometimes we can all benefit from support and it can be difficult to speak to those we live with or our closest friends. It can be incredibly comforting, at any age, to have a place to bring worries, thoughts and feelings and leave them with someone who is not otherwise connected with your life. The staff at PAC will not be judging you or your child but will be looking to provide the best possible service we can to support them through the difficult time they are having.
All young people are entitled to confidentiality within the confines of their session at PAC. This means that what is discussed in session will be kept private between the young person and their therapist. Information will not be shared unless the young person has agreed to it. This is an essential part of therapy and means the young person can feel safe to share whatever they might need to without worrying what others will think or say. All therapists adhere to a code of ethics for their profession which includes keeping a client’s session private.
The only exception to this is where a therapist may have concerns over the safety of a young person or concerns about someone else’s safety due to something the young person has shared. At the beginning of therapy the therapist will explain to the young person that in an instance where they deem the young person, or someone else, to be at significant risk of harm, they would need to share this information with the appropriate person. This could be a parent or carer, school or appropriate outside agency. The young person will be informed of this and included in the discussion as much as possible.
All staff are strictly bound by PAC Safeguarding and Child Protection procedures.
Supporting your child
One of the most helpful factors in the progress of therapy is the support for therapy in the young person’s home environment. You can support your child while they are attending PAC by demonstrating an understanding that therapy is normal and useful. Some young people may want to talk about their sessions while others may wish to keep it private. Please let your child decide for themselves if they want to share anything by letting them know you are there for them if they want to talk but by avoiding asking direct questions about what they said and did. We recognise that parents might be anxious to know what is being said in session but by respecting your child’s privacy you are showing that you trust them.
Your child’s behaviour whilst they are attending therapy may vary, it is not unusual for there to be a period where things appear worse. This is a natural reaction to working through difficulties, especially those associated with difficult memories or emotions. It is important to remember through this time that they are in the process of healing and may need extra understanding when some of those emotions are closer to the surface. If you are at all concerned then please contact PAC and ask to speak to their therapist.
Please note that the sessions here could involve the use of messy art and craft materials. If you are concerned about damage to your child’s clothing we ask that you provide your child with an overall or old clothes to wear for the session. There are toilets here if your child wants to get changed.
What if I don’t want my child to access therapy?
If a young person requests therapy and has been informed of what it will involve, then they have a human right to access this provision. Parents and carers cannot deny them this right. However, it is rare for parents to refuse a child therapy and in this instance we would want to talk with the parents to understand what their fears might be. We would prefer to have the support of the parents or carers as this can make a positive difference in how the young person responds to the sessions. We would hope that the young person has appropriate support outside of the sessions so that they can freely explore whatever issues they need to.
What if I need support?
Sometimes we find that parents may also need some support. PAC does not currently provide family therapy or a service for parents but we are happy to signpost to another agency that can help. It can have a positive impact on the young person’s therapy if their parent is also receiving some support and we would view this as a responsible decision to make if things can be tense at home.
Length of provision
Session times at PAC last one or two hours depending on the type of therapy they receive. The length of time a young person will access therapy for varies depending on each individual’s needs. It is usual for young people to attend for several months and young people with complex issues may need support for more than a year. One of the benefits of your child attending PAC is that we are not bound by time constraints and we will not close your child until they no longer need the support.
Attendance of session
Attendance at PAC is voluntary and therapy only works if the young person wants help and support. Sometimes young people have referred themselves. Appointments are made at a time that suits the needs of the young person, limited after school appointments are available. We do find that most schools are understanding about the young person taking time out of school to attend PAC.
Your child will be invited to attend an initial session where they get to meet the therapist they will be working with and they can decide if attending further sessions would be useful. We encourage parents to bring their child to the first session to support attendance. Sometimes this is a shorter session and we ask parents and carers to wait in our waiting area so that they are there at the end. The session itself will be for the young person and therapist only and we would ask parents/carers to ring the therapist separately if they have any questions or concerns they want to share.