What should we expect for the first session?
The first session with your therapist will be an intake session. We will ensure that you have received, read, and understood all of the electronic intake paperwork sent to you when you scheduled the appointment. The therapist will either speak with parents alone or with children present, depending on the age and nature of the challenges/complaints.
We have found that it can be difficult for children to be present when adults are talking about their challenges. Although, we also talk a lot about their strengths, their history, and you, the parent.
Young adults can expect to discuss previous mental health treatment, current concerns and strengths, as well as medical history and social involvement.
What’s the difference between a licensed mental health therapist and a pre-licensed mental health therapist?
This is a good question and one that is important as you consider care. All therapists practicing mental health therapy in Colorado are required to register with the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Pre-licensed therapists are registered with DORA and can be found through the website. They are also required to receive regular supervision from a licensed and qualified mental health therapist, often for at least 2 or more years. During supervision the pre-licensed therapist receives guidance and support for the therapy they are providing to their clients. This is to ensure that clients are receiving helpful and effective mental health therapy.
To become a licensed therapist, most disciplines (counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy) require a number of hours of supervision, a certain number of hours providing mental health therapy directly to clients, and the passage of exams. It is also required that the therapist has an appropriate degree from an accredited college- at least Masters level.
What is play therapy and how will I be involved?
One thing that we know is that children rarely sit down and tell us all about their feelings and what is upsetting them. Typically, children act out their feelings through behaviors and play. Play therapy provides the opportunity for your child to play about their feelings and anything that has been upsetting, in a safe place, with a therapist who can help put words to the expressions and who can support everyone in the room.
Older children might use art or other expressive activities to share their feelings.
At UpliftME Attachment-Based Therapy we try to involve parents as much as possible. This might be by inviting you into the play and encouraging you to connect with your child through play. It might also involve check-ins at the beginning or ending of each session, parent support sessions, or family therapy (bringing in more than one or two people).
We work hard to help parents connect with their children. We want everyone to have a voice in the challenges that come into the therapy room.
Do you work with divorced parents? What does that look like?
Yes, we work with a lot of children experiencing divorce. Often courts, mediators, and parents determine what custody arrangements will look like. The role of the therapist at UpliftME Attachment-Based Therapy is to focus on what the child is experiencing. Sometimes this can be difficult because children’s experiences are very different than adult’s experiences. We also know that parents can be pretty upset with one another sometimes too. When we focus on the child, we allow each parent to have their feelings, without judgement, while supporting the child or children they both love and care for.
To begin therapy the therapist’s will require documentation of custody arrangements as available. If both parents are granted 50/50 medical decision making, the therapist will require both parents consent to beginning therapy. They will also attempt to involve and engage both parents if able.
How long will therapy take?
This is a challenging question to answer without meeting you and your family first. Often times, people come to us with situations that involve multiple family members and possibly even generations of difficulty. The problems might have been going on for many years without much change – often beginning as early as infancy. Since we are working on relationships and supporting long-term mental health and healthy relationships, therapy can take a little bit of time. We are happy to meet with you and complete an initial intake appointment to provide a better idea of what might be needed to reach your treatment goals.
It should also be noted that starting attachment-based therapy at a young age can provide very good results and much shorter treatment times. Parents can initiate treatment even before a child’s birth or arrival, and infants and toddlers can benefit, even if they are not verbal.