Frequently asked questions
From our clients
How do I know if my child or teenager needs psychological therapy?
Children and teenagers may benefit from psychological therapy for a range of reasons and not necessarily because there is a problem! Children and adolescents may benefit from talking with someone outside of the family for a different perspective or to help them develop a part of themselves on their way to becoming their best!
If there are difficulties, the earlier you seek treatment for your child or adolescent the more quickly these difficulties will be resolved. More entrenched difficulties can take longer to resolve.
The following markers may indicate your child needs to seek the help of a professional, for example if your child is:
- Experiencing problems that impact negatively on family relationships, friendships, schooling or engagement in sports and extra-curricular activities
- Expressing feeling bad about themselves, feeling less confident or feeling they are no good at doing things
- Seeming worried or looking stressed a lot of the time
- Feeling like there is no point to things or are expressing hopelessness
- Spending more time in their room, seeing their friends less or not wanting to do their normal activities
- Exhibiting a noticeable change in their sleep or eating
- Irritable or angry more frequently and/or there is an increase in difficult behaviour
- Talking about or engaging in self-harm (pulling at their hair, scratching at their skin,cutting themselves)
- Saying things like, “I hate my life”, “I wish I wasn’t here,” or “You’d be better off without me”
- Talking about suicide or written a note or searched online about suicide.
Does my child need a referral?
No, your child does not need a referral to attend Kids and Teens Psychology. You are very welcome to just make an appointment and come in to see us. However, if you do have a referral you may be eligible for your appointment to be funded or rebated through Medicare. Please see our “Referrals and Rebates” page for further information.
How do I choose the right Clinician for my child?
It can feel very hard to know where to start when it comes to choosing the right Clinician for your child. You want to know your child will connect with them and that they are in good hands. At Kids and Teens Psychology we have chosen our team carefully, based on their experience and passion and their ability to form connections with children and teenagers.
That is not to say your child will automatically connect with their Clinician – it can take time to build this relationship, and on rare occasions the fit might just not be right. However, all our Clinicians will take the time to get to know you and your child, and we are quite proud of our excellent track record for building and maintaining meaningful connections with our clients in therapy (which is the key to creating real and lasting change)!
Our Clinicians are all skilled across a range of areas, and we are confident each member of our team is equipped to be able to work with all our clients. However, if you feel your child might respond better to a particular style, personality type, age or gender, please don’t hesitate to chat to us about it at the time of booking your appointment. Similarly, if you would like to talk about a Clinician’s experience with particular issues, please just ask! We will do our best to ensure we book your child in with the right person.
Who should attend the first appointment?
Depending upon circumstances, families are usually seen together at the first appointment. In many instances, this might just be you and your child, however in some cases both parents or another significant family member or friend might also attend. After this, you, your child and the Clinician will decide how therapy will proceed and who will attend. This may vary from appointment to appointment.
Sometimes children and adolescents may refuse to attend an appointment. If this is the case, please contact us to discuss alternative ways to support your family. In some instances, it may still be helpful for you to attend to discuss ways in which you might be able to assist your child or teenager.
What will happen at the first appointment?
When you arrive for your first appointment you will be greeted by our friendly Client Relations Team and provided with a small amount of paperwork to read through while you are waiting for your appointment. Your Clinician will then come and meet you and your child or teenager and invite you both into one of our comfortable therapy rooms. In your first appointment, your Clinician will explain the therapy process and answer any questions you have. They will spend most of the first appointment getting to know you and your child or teenager and gathering background information from both of you about your reasons for attending.
Please be assured your child will not be pressured to talk if they are not able or comfortable to do so.
What do I tell my child about attending?
It is normal for parents to feel unsure about how to talk to their children about attending therapy, or for children to feel nervous or resistant to attending. You know your child best and will have some idea of how best to approach the subject with them. However, here are some tips which you might find useful in talking to your child about attending therapy:
- Don’t make it a big deal – it’s not! Many children and teenagers have therapy and many of them enjoy and look forward to it.
- Explain simply and honestly what is happening and why – For a younger child you might say something like: “I know you have had lots of worries lately. Sometimes when we worry a lot it can help to see someone whose job it is to help us understand our worries so we feel better. We are going to see someone whose job it is to help children with their worries. Their name is… and they are lovely”. For older children you could try: “I know you have been feeling really sad lately. I think it would help to see someone who can help you understand and manage this. I’ve made an appointment with someone named… They seem really nice and I think you’ll like them”.
- Validate your child’s concerns, for example “I can understand you are feeling nervous about attending. It is normal to feel nervous when we are doing something/meeting someone new. I will be with you.”
- Tell your child they will not be forced to talk or answer questions if they don’t want to. Tell them you will come into the appointment with them. You may choose to tell your child there will be toys to play with, or if they are older, a selection of art materials or games to choose from.
- Give your child sufficient notice so they can process what is happening. For younger children, 1-2 days is recommended. Teenagers might need more time to process this and feel ready to attend, for example 5-7 days. If your child has been asking to see a therapist, tell them as soon as you have made the appointment.
- Show them our website, and if possible a photo of the Clinician they will be seeing. This might help to alleviate any fear of the unknown and give them a sense of what to expect.
- Visit our friendly practice with your child/teenager prior to your appointment. It might help them to see where they are going and what to expect.
My child is refusing to come – what should I do?
Sometimes, children and teenagers disagree with their parents about whether there is a problem and this can lead to them not wanting to attend. Children and teenagers may also feel uncomfortable or embarrassed talking about their problems, particularly with a stranger. It is important to acknowledge these concerns for your child or teenager, but also to tell them you feel it is important that you both get some support. It is ok to tell your child or teenager that, as the parent, you have made a decision to make an appointment. You might suggest that in the first instance, they attend one appointment to see how it goes. Have these conversations a few days before the scheduled appointment as with a bit of time, your child might come around to the idea of attending. You could try some of the strategies outlined above in “What do I tell my child about attending?” such as showing them our website and a photo of their clinician or bringing them in to see where they will be going.
Of course, you can’t drag your child to the appointment and if there is no convincing them to attend, you are welcome to attend the appointment without them. We can assist you to think about what is going on for your child and provide advice regarding how you can support them. It might also help for your child or teenager to see you attend and to hear from you about the Clinician and what took place. (If you do attend an appointment without your child, you cannot claim a rebate from Medicare under your child’s Mental Health Care Plan, so please call us if you wish to find out about payment options).
How long do appointments go for?
A standard appointment goes for just over 50 minutes.
How much does it cost?
Session fees vary so it is best to give us a call to discuss. You may also be eligible to receive a rebate for appointments or to have your appointment funded (see Referral types).
How do I know my information will be kept private?
We respect your right to privacy. Information discussed during therapy will almost always remain confidential.
In order for children and adolescents to feel safe and comfortable talking to their Clinician, they need to know not everything they say will be reported back to their parents or carers. However, we recognise the importance of providing feedback and including parents and carers in the therapeutic process, and endeavour to do this when possible. The amount and type of information shared with parents and carers will depend on your child’s age, views and capacity to provide informed consent to therapy. During your first appointment, and as part of ongoing therapy, your Clinician will discuss with you and your child what information will be shared and what information will be kept private.
What is a Mental Health Social Worker?
A Mental Health Social Worker is a Social Worker who is specifically trained and experienced in providing treatment for mental health concerns. They are registered with Medicare to provide Focussed Psychological Strategies in the same way Psychologists are. People who see a Mental Health Social Worker under a Mental Health Care Plan are eligible to receive a rebate from Medicare.