What is the purpose of therapy?

The aim of the therapy is to give children a consistent space to think about their worries, thoughts, feelings etc. Often children find it hard to put into words their feelings and this is where art, drama and play can help. It offers a safe indirect means of accessing their worries and helps them to find their own solutions. Usually an assessment of the child’s therapeutic needs take place in the first 6-8 weeks of therapy. This helps to inform what the child would most benefit from. Recommendations may be made for individual therapy, joint parent and child work or other work that may be sourced outside of About Children. The length of therapy depends on the needs of the child and can be between 6 months and 2 years or more.

What happens in the therapy room?

Our work is non-directive and child centered which means we are led by the child. We are trained to work with both verbal and non- verbal communication. Sometimes the child is willing to share what they want to explore in therapy but more often than not they show us through their imagination, play, art and music. We are trained to help them make sense of their feelings and behaviours but this can take time. The nature of the work is confidential but we share themes of the work with parents/carers to help them better support their child. For example we would not talk about the aggressive fight scene they just played in the sand tray or the messy painting they made but we may share that the child is working on issues around anger, loss and trust etc.

How long does a therapy session take?

Therapy sessions take 50-60 minutes.

Is there support for parents/carers?

We believe that therapy can not happen in a vacuum and that children make the most progress when the people around them can access support to help them understand their childs behavior. We offer monthly parenting support as part of our therapy package.

Should I not be able to help my child myself, as their parent?

From time to time children might need someone to talk to, or to communicate their problems to, who is not their immediate family or friend. It is normal for children to be worried about what their parents will think or how they might react, or they may have got into the habit of not knowing how to communicate their emotions effectively. The therapists at About Children are trained in how to help children express their internal world safely.

Why is the therapist not telling me what my child has been doing?

The therapist is bound by a strict code of ethics which includes keeping your child’s confidentiality. This means that the therapist will not share any information about the content of your child’s session, what they have said or done, unless there is a safety concern that needs to be raised. We understand that it can be frustrating for parents, who want to know what is happening with their child. However, we cannot effectively and ethically practice therapy without confidentiality. Your child’s therapist will want to talk to you however to find out how the child has been at home, and to suggest ways that you might support their therapeutic journey. The therapist is there to focus on the needs of the child.

How can I best support my child through therapy?

You are the best resource your child has and your support is crucial to the outcome of therapy and time it will take for your child to heal. It is important that you listen to the needs of your child and be understanding that therapy can sometimes be difficult and children can express worsening behaviours while they process some of the difficult things that have brought them to therapy. They may want to talk to you or receive some physical comfort when they come out of sessions, or they may wish to come out and forget about the session. Please be sensitive to this and do not press your child for information about the session, whilst letting them know they can talk if they want to and that you are there for them.

I don't think my child needs therapy.

Parents do not always have the right to deny a child therapy, where there is evidence that the child has significant need for therapeutic intervention. Please talk through your concerns with us and we may be able to put your mind at rest. It is in the child's best interests for us to work together and we would hope to help parents understand the benefits of therapy so that they are able to support the process.

Do the therapists receive supervision?

Therapists receive supervision each month from highly experienced and qualified arts therapists and/or consultant child psychotherapists during which they will discuss the content of the therapy. ‘About Children Ltd’ also receive quarterly consultation from a specialist therapist, internationally recognized as an expert in the field of childhood trauma.

Do you keep records?

Brief notes are recorded about the process of therapy that your child has access to if they wish. Permission may be sought to use some of your child’s artwork for training purposes but this will only be done after written consent has been obtained from your child. All records are kept on the computer and are password protected. We are registered under the Data Protection Act. All paper records are kept in a locked cabinet. Anything your child creates within a session will be kept safe by the therapist at About Children for the duration of the therapeutic process. Artwork is kept for three years (in case the child returns) .

Is there a complaints procedure?

About Children has a complaints procedure policy, available on request.