In general, very little is known about what it is really like to go to the child psychologist, so it is perfectly normal to have doubts about how the therapy works, what you and your child will have to do when you go to the consultation, etc. Because of films and other media sources, the image that people have of the psychologist is usually that of very serious and distant people, to whom one goes during long years of therapy to lie on a couch and talk non-stop about childhood and its traumas, while the psychologist attends very seriously practically without saying a word and taking notes. In the case of child psychologists, the lack of knowledge is usually even greater.
This image could not be further from the reality of current psychological therapy. The following resolves most of the most common FAQs doubts surrounding child psychological therapy for children and adolescents. If after reading this section you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to answer as many questions as you have.
10 Common FAQs and Their Answers when Visiting a Child Psychologist
- Who explained to my son / daughter who you are?
This question is curious, it is one of the questions that is asked the most when we talk about child psychologists because I think that sometimes we ourselves do not know the role of a psychologist. I always say that it is best to go with the truth ahead and be clear and concise. Psychologists are people who help you with the problems you have lately. Or sometimes, I also tell them that it will help all of you, so that it does not seem that the culprit of the situation is his or her, but that they approach it as a family. The key word there is help.
- So how does the therapy work?
Child psychology focuses on providing strategies for both the child or young person and their environment (parents, close relatives , school, etc.) to be able to overcome those situations that generate discomfort or conflict, in addition to promoting healthy psychological development.
In the first place, a prior evaluation will be carried out with the parents, since they are the ones who have more information about the problem and its circumstances. This evaluation will then be completed with the child, always in a pleasant way through motivating materials for them according to their age (books, printed cards, certain toys, etc.). Once the evaluation is completed and explained in detail to the parents, the child will work individually to begin to achieve the proposed objectives. Around 10 minutes will also be dedicated to explaining to the parents the “tasks” for the next week, the evolution of the child, as well as solving all the doubts that may arise, both about the “instructions” to follow and about other situations that may arise. Emerging.
- How is a psychologist different from a psychiatrist? What do psychologists normally do?
Psychiatrists are professionals who have studied medicine and psychologists have studied psychology with a clinical specialty. On the other hand, the psychiatrist focuses on biological and physiological aspects of the child or adult that influence psychological aspects and also use certain psychological techniques. However, a psychologist focuses exclusively on behaviors, thoughts, emotions and improving the family and social environment. Psychologists not only treat people with a clinical diagnosis or a disorder, they are also in charge of preventing problems and helping to manage emotions or provide strategies to solve conflicts and help achieve the goals they pursue.
The treatment in one case and in another is from a different point of view. Hence, there are psychological problems that require the joint action of both professionals. Since science has shown that there are disorders that are more successful if approached from both areas. Psychiatrists are doctors, therefore, they have the power to medicate the patients who come to their consultation and psychologists do not, although both are trained to diagnose mental health problems. Psychologists evaluate, strategize, and do therapy, but they never remove or add medication. Psychological therapy is not about “buying a friend” or talking for talking or playing for playing, but rather all these strategies or techniques are framed within a treatment in order to improve certain symptoms.
Sometimes it is thought that the step of going to the psychiatrist is exclusively necessary for those children or young people who are very serious. However, both specialists treat mild, moderate and severe problems. For example, they serve children with ADHD or anxiety to people who have personality disorders. In both cases, they come to balance the body’s chemistry.
- When is it advisable to go to the child psychologist?
Our children evolve as they grow, and there are always some stages in which they are happier and in others less, in some they behave better and in others worse … but really for parents it is not difficult to identify when their child Something happens to you, you are easily distracted, or your usual behavior has changed.
These are good signs to know if it is advisable to go to the psychologist. If your child: is too active or restless, very capricious or disobedient, does not eat well, shows lack of interest or is down, has problems at school, problems sleeping or nightmares, difficulties in relating or learning, bad relationships with peers, the pee escapes day or night, has had a drastic change in behavior or is reacting badly to the separation of the parents.
It is in this type of situation when it is highly recommended to go to the psychologist, since with children and young people not only can current problems be solved, but treating them in time helps to prevent future conflicts in adulthood, which can generate a longer lasting discomfort and are more difficult to treat.
- Will going to the psychologist mean years of therapy?
Each child or family situation is unique, there are many factors that depend on evolution:
- The type of problem for which they come: a depressive disorder is not the same as a specific problem with some classmates.
- The attitude of the child or young person to receive help.
- The implication is to put into practice the tools that are given to both the child and the family.
- Confidence and openness to externalize your problems.
- Go for various problems: many times when therapies are extended and last a year or two, it is also because there are different problems that affect the evolution of therapy and that must be resolved: birth, mourning for a relative, divorce, a pandemic . Then, sometimes, treatment is prolonged because more problems have occurred outside the effectiveness of the therapy.
Therefore, it is difficult to put a date. There are children who have two sessions, another two months and others a year. Although the minimum is a month because, as we said before, child developmental psychology therapy is once a week, if the first session is a first contact with the family and the second meeting the child or adolescent, there are two more to start with treatment.
- Is therapy only for the child or also the parents?
It is not only children who participate in child therapy. Parents have a fundamental role in the development of it. However, depending on the reason for consultation and the characteristics of the particular case, the work with the parents may be more or less. Thus, for example, in problem behaviors, anxiety and fears, sleeping or eating problems, toilet training, etc. The involvement of parents must be greater than, for example, in a case of difficulties in school learning , which would be more focused on working with the child.
- Will I know everything my child says in each session?
This is what worries children and especially adolescents. Child psychologists say this to the childs that they did not come here to punish or judge what the child tells, much less to be a messenger. It is true that they inform parents of the evolution of their children, of the objectives worked etc but they rarely comment on the content of the sessions because that remains in the relationship established between the child and the psychologist. Also sooner or later they will know it themselves when the child is okay to share. It would be like allowing them to read your journal. It is important to protect children and give them some privacy.
That does not mean that child psychologists do not inform parents of certain comments that concern them. For example, if you mention that they want to die, that there are colleagues who harass them, bully them etc.
- Can a psychologist help my child if he / she does not want to be helped?
When they are young, it is normal for your child not to ask for help. You don’t even know they have a problem. It is important to try to help him, but if there is a lot of resistance, it is better to stop treatment. It is essential that you have a good memory of the therapy, since perhaps now is the time or the person that the parents have chosen is not the person who connects with him or her, but there are other professionals who can do so in the future.
- How do I explain to my child that we are going to go to the psychologist?
Young children (4 years old or younger) are not yet aware of their difficulties, so it is enough to tell them that you are going to a place where there is a person who has many games to share with them. From the age of 5, they are usually aware of their difficulties and situations that they do not know how to manage well, and for them it is also important to know that there is a solution to their problems. Therefore, it is best to tell them that you are going to visit a person who will help them solve their difficulties (whether they are nightmares, fears, behavior problems, etc.).
- Are there relapses?
This is probably not one of the most common questions asked by child psychologists because nobody wants to think that there can be a relapse, but we would like to solve it.
It is true that when therapy ends, families and children are in great emotional well-being, but they should also prepare them for relapses. We call relapses, moments in which we re-experience the symptoms that made us come. The reason for these relapses is that we lower our guard because we think that the problem has been solved for some time and we no longer use the techniques that were effective. For this reason, psychologists always recommend that if your child has been experiencing these symptoms for 1 month, it is important to pay the child psychologist an express visit so that the problem does not become chronic again.