Your child has been struggling for weeks, months, or even years. They may be having friendship issues, are stressed about schoolwork, or are having difficulty adjusting to changes at home. You’re wondering whether your child needs to talk to a psychologist, but you’re unsure.
For most parents, the idea of bringing their child to see a psychologist is full of uncertainties and can be frightening. In this blog, I will draw on my experience working with kids and families to answer five of the most common questions parents have about what child psychologists do, and how they can help your child.
- What Sort Of Challenges Or Issues Can A Psychologist Help With?
A psychologist can help your child with a wide range of emotional or behavioural issues, including:
- Worry or stress
- Persistent sadness or negative thoughts
- Social skills or friendship issues
- Study skills
- Changes in the family
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleep disturbances
- How Can A Psychologist Help With These Challenges?
Generally, psychologists help children develop an understanding of the issue they are facing, and then teach them skills and strategies to manage it. For example, the sessions may involve helping your child become more aware of how their thinking patterns affect their emotions, and then adjusting their thinking to become more helpful. Psychologists will also often work collaboratively with parents. The younger the child, the more actively the parent is involved.
- How Do I Choose A Psychologist For My Child?
Choose a psychologist you feel like you can work with and trust. Although the psychologists are experts in child psychology in general, as a parent you are the expert on your child in particular. Beware of therapies that discourage parents from doing their own problem-solving or using commonsense approaches. Also, if the treatment doesn’t seem right, feel free to bring this up with the psychologist. This may give the psychologist a chance to restructure the sessions to be supportive to your child.
- How Do I Talk to My Child About Seeing a Psychologist?
It is common for children to feel nervous about seeing a psychologist, and they may worry they are in trouble. Parents can help their children feel more comfortable by assuring them they are not in trouble, and explaining that the psychologist is like a “coach” who helps kids learn skills to handle all sorts of situations they face. These situations include dealing with people, managing feelings, and being happy at school and home.
- How Soon Should I Expect Improvement?
It is difficult to specify a length of time as every child and their situation is different. Generally, however, problems that are more severe, have existed for a long time, and affect many areas of your child’s life will take longer to change. Your psychologist should check in with you regularly about the progress being made and make sure that they are focusing on the most important issues in a way that is helpful for you.
If you have any further questions about seeing a psychologist, please do not hesitate to contact our practice. Our practice offers free drop-in sessions at our clinic, which may help you to get acquainted with our space and meet some of the friendly faces you will see at your appointment.
Lauren Chee (M Clin Psych, BSc (Hons – First Class)) is a psychologist who understands the importance of forming a genuine and caring therapeutic relationship with each individual she sees. Lauren is registered with Medicare and is also an approved practitioner in the NSW Workers Compensation System.
Lauren has experience working with both children and adults within schools, private clinics, and inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. Her warm and supportive approach helps her clients feel comfortable exploring their concerns in order to develop practical strategies to reach their goals. Some of the issues she has helped her clients with include depression, anxiety, perfectionism, adjustment to significant life change, self-esteem, grief, learning difficulties, and school and work-related stress.
In her work, Lauren recognises the individuality of each person and their story, and provides uniquely tailored treatments to support her clients. By being committed to the latest psychological research, she is able to equip her clients with evidence-based skills and knowledge that can lead to positive and lasting change. Lauren is a dedicated and approachable psychologist with a passion for helping her clients live a life in line with their personal values.
Lauren has a special interest in:
Anxiety Disorders e.g. Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Health Anxiety
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Skills and Assertiveness
Parenting and Attachment
Child Mental Health and Wellbeing
Learning Difficulties e.g. ADHD, specific learning disorders
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time in nature, discovering new music, and sharing delicious meals with her friends and family.