When your child is facing struggles and difficulty, going to a psychologist is often recommended, but what can a child psychologist actually do? Will they fix the problem? It can be anxiety provoking to think about taking your child to a mental health professional but educating yourself on what to expect and how to approach therapy can ease your fears as well as set your expectations for the process.
Here are a few things to remember about taking your child to a psychologist:
A child psychologist will not “fix” your child.
It is a common misconception that a psychologist will fix the problem. The role of a psychologist is to walk along side your child and possibly you the parent through a time of struggle. Yes, the problem may very well be resolved and conflict ended, but through the team work of the family. Think of the psychologist providing the support and tools needed for your child and the family to assist in “fixing” the problem as opposed to “fixing” it themselves.
Also remember that your child is not broken, needing to be “fixed”. Poor behavior and unpleasant emotions are all a normal part of life and child development. There may be seasons of parenting that seem overwhelming followed by seasons that seem manageable and simple. The role of a child psychologist is to assist in these times of struggle.
Parents may be very involved in treatment.
Parents are the most important influence in a child’s world therefore changes are best made through educating parents rather than conducting therapy mainly with the child. Recommendations for teachers may also be made. The amount of involvement may vary by the age of the child as well as the provider. Typically parents are highly utilised in therapy with very small children. Don’t worry if you fear a psychologist may take over your parenting, they are there to support you! No psychologist can replace the love, support, and influence of a parent.
Progress in treatment is not linear, meaning that improvement will be noticed at varying times. Stay patient and take into consideration outside circumstances, established goals and dedication to treatment before pulling the plug on therapy too soon. Managing your expectations can help you support you child when they experience set backs and additional challenges.
If you are interested in learning more about seeing a child psychologist or would like to book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online