When introducing your child to the idea of seeing a psychologist, it is important to tell them that the psychologist will help them to talk about their thoughts and feelings and any problems that they may have. Let them know that it is a special meeting between the psychologist and the child that “even mum or dad won’t be able to listen to, it is just for them”. Describe to them the types of activities that they may do with the psychologist in play therapy, for example, drawing, playing with sand, painting and listening to music. Let your child know that if at any time they feel uncomfortable with the counselling, they can ask their mum or dad to join in or can ask the counsellor to stop the session.
During the first counselling session, the psychologist and your child will generally spend the majority of the session getting to know one another. Once a degree of rapport is developed, the psychologist will then spend some time getting to understand the types of things that have been happening in the child’s life that may be causing him/her distress. The child is likely to be exposed to a few different play therapy techniques during this session, for example; sandtray therapy, drawing, music, storytelling and relaxation techniques.
Counselling sessions generally take 50-60 minutes.
Upon arriving for the first counselling session, both you and your child will be invited into the counselling room. This is where the psychologist will familiarise your child with the environment, and will talk to your child about how the counselling session will work. Following this, and providing that your child feels comfortable, the psychologist will ask you to wait in the waiting room, so that therapy can begin. Once the counselling session has finished, your psychologist will escort your child into the waiting room for you to collect. From time to time, you may be invited back into the therapy room at the end of the session, so that your child can share with you their experiences, if they wish. Most commonly however, the psychologist will provide feedback to you after 3 counselling sessions.
It is important that children and young people are given the same rights as adults, to a private and confidential counselling session. Therefore, if the child asks the psychologist not to disclose information about what was said in the counselling session, the psychologist needs to uphold this request. However, parents need to be assured that the safety of your child will be paramount, and the psychologist will always disclose to you any significant concerns relating to your child’s safety and wellbeing. Additionally, whilst the psychologist may not be able to relate the exact details of the session, you will always be provided with information pertaining to the counselling process, and ways that the family can best facilitate your child’s counselling journey.
After 3 counselling sessions, the psychologist will meet with you for a parent feedback session. During this session, the psychologist will discuss ways in which you can positively support the learning and development that is occurring during therapy. This will also be your opportunity to ask any questions, and share information about changes that you may have noticed outside of therapy.
The psychologist will discuss your child’s progress with you throughout the counselling process, so that you are fully informed and able to get an understanding of counselling timeframes. It is not uncommon for children and young people to need a few sessions (between 3-6) initially, and then to have a break. For children who are experiencing bereavement, their counselling journey is likely to continue throughout their developmental lifespan. For example, as children progress through each developmental stage, they are likely to “re-grieve” to a degree, and may need some additional counselling to help them cope with new thoughts and feelings that have submerged for them. Therefore, children may meet with the psychologist for a few sessions and then not again for some time, depending on their progress. However, children may need extra psychological counselling at times of change or when important dates occur, like anniversaries for example.
You do not require a referral to attend counselling sessions at Child’s Play Qld.
No, your session is not necessarily covered by Medicare.
This is something that you will need to speak to your General Practitioner (GP) about. A Mental Health Care Plan can be organised by a General Practitioner (GP) when the GP agrees with the need for an individual to receive psychological treatment by a registered psychologist. Up to 10 Medicare rebates are available per calendar year. Please be aware that this rebate may not fully cover the cost of the session fee, which is payable at the time of the session.
Please contact your GP, visit www.health.gov.au or call Medicare Australia on 132 011 for further information.
A letter of referral from a Paediatrician or a Psychiatrist will enable you to claim rebates through Medicare.
Your Private Health Insurance may cover some psychological services. Please contact your private health insurer for further information.