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A WORD TO PARENTS ABOUT YOUR PARTICIPATION IN YOUR CHILD’S TREATMENT
Your participation in your child’s therapy is invaluable and necessary. You know your child best and spend the more time with them than any professional can. Your skilled support of your child during treatment can improve the outcome and speed the progress of your child. Research indicates that when families are involved in their child’s treatment, the treatment outcome is better. Our goal is to teach all parents and caretakers of children aged 13 or younger to become successful co-therapists to our staff. We want you to learn the best methods for responding to your child’s anxiety. Children and young teenagers will need your skilled support to overcome their fears because they are not yet developmentally capable of independent pursuit of complex and difficult tasks, such as exposure therapy. Our staff will explain and role model the skills that you will need to acquire to help your child. We will give you and your child home assignments after each session that clearly explain what to do and what to avoid in order to facilitate progress. We will also have you practice difficult situations, such as managing oppositional behaviors, in the treatment sessions so that you can begin to feel more confident about helping your child overcome their fears.
We also recognize that many children and teens do not initially want to come in to treatment. We want to encourage you to bring them in anyway, or to consider bringing our staff to your child in the event that you cannot get them into the car to come to our offices. Fear makes many children irritable and oppositional. They also, understandably, may be frightened about the idea of learning to do things that they prefer to avoid. Our staff is experienced at working with oppositional behaviors. We have lots of experience helping frightened and oppositional children learn how to face and overcome their fears. We use, and will teach you to use, a rewards program to help make therapy more enjoyable, or at least worth attempting, for your child. Our goal is not to make your child like us, or to like treatment. It is to teach them the courage and self-confidence that comes with doing difficult things. Ultimately, most children we see end up enjoying their work with our staff because they feel so successful and free from fear.
Sometimes parents want to schedule sessions alone with the therapist prior to bringing in their child. You may want to determine whether or not you feel comfortable working with our staff. You may also need to discuss situations or information that is best kept between parents and therapist. Typically our staff likes to first meet with both parents and child, but are happy to accommodate your needs when these other situations arise.
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