PARENT AND CAREGIVER INVOLVEMENT IN THERAPY
When a child, particularly a young child, is brought to therapy for emotional or behavioral concerns, parent or caregiver involvement in his or her treatment is essential. The amount of time and attention parents and caregivers can give to a child during the time between therapy sessions far outweighs the amount given by a psychologist during a single hour. Although parents and caregivers are not expected to step in and be their child or adolescent's psychologist, Dr. Behling highly values parent and caregiver input in treatment goals and typically meets with parents for a few minutes each session to discuss progress and obtain insight. This means that depending on the treatment goals, therapy sessions may involve the child or adolescent alone, parents alone, or multiple family members together. Naturally, as a child grows into adolescence and approaches young adulthood, parental involvement and input may shift; nevertheless, participation from individuals surrounding the child, adolescent, or young adult is key in producing change and furthering progress toward meeting treatment goals.
TALKING WITH AN ADOLESCENT OR YOUNG ADULT ABOUT THERAPY
The relationship dynamic between a parent or caregiver and a child shifts during the entry into adolescence, changing further into young adulthood. Parents and caregivers expect increased maturity and responsibility, with adolescents and young adults typically demanding increased autonomy and privacy. The balance between an adolescent or young adult client's privacy and parent or caregiver involvement in therapy can be difficult for both parties to agree on, but rest assured that Dr. Behling will talk with both of you about your expectations and desires and attempt to reach a common ground that brings peace of mind to a parent or caregiver while respecting the privacy of an adolescent or young adult.
Sometimes, parents or caregivers feel that therapy would benefit their son or daughter, but aren't sure how to bring up this suggestion with him or her. On occasion, parents have set up an appointment for their adolescent or young adult with Dr. Behling but do not tell him or her about it until they arrive at the SeaPsych office. Such action, although understandable in terms of hoping to avoid (or perhaps postpone) conflict, typically results in the adolescent or young adult feeing defensive, irritated, and uninterested in meeting with a psychologist. If you think your adolescent or young adult might benefit from meeting with Dr. Behling, please contact him to discuss how to bring this up in a respectful, age-appropriate way.
COMMUNICATING WITH DR. BEHLING ABOUT YOUR CHILD, ADOLESCENT, OR YOUNG ADULT
Washington State law provides parents and caregivers of children under 13 years of age with access to their child's treatment record and allows communication with Dr. Behling without securing the child's consent. However, if your child is 13 years of age or older, state law requires him or her to sign a release of information form before you can provide information to or receive information from Dr. Behling without your child present.
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