The First Appointment
What occurs during the first session?
Usually the child is invited to look around the gym space and move their body. This helps release any nerves, and swings and slides are familiar and many children enjoy the opportunity to play before talking with me. Of course, this also gives me an opportunity to see how they use their body and attributes such as risk taking or shyness.
If the child is cautious we might all start the session together, with the parent in the room, but in the main I do encourage children to talk without parents because then they have their own personal space to share. If you think your child would struggle without your presence, perhaps it would be wise to let me know beforehand so that we can create comfort for all. Similarly, if your child is likely to be overtly boisterous or oppositional, it can help to alert Katy to accommodate this.
How is an assessment made?
There are many ways a first session can commence, however I have found that a parent talking about the problem and a child sitting with a sense of embarrassment is not the best way to start a new relationship with Katy! The information in the intake form provides a sense of the ‘issue’ but many children are reluctant to face this initially, and need time, safety and coaxing. For this reason, the child is encouraged to share information about their life in creative exercises, or tell me more about what they have valued in life or want life to be like.
Assessment of personality style, and strength of cognition, communication and social/emotional coping are gained through these shared exercises and games.
How do parents receive feedback?
The last ten to fifteen minutes of each session is spent in sharing with parents. First impressions are shared and goals created, or strategies suggested. This does not breach the child’s confidentiality, as what the child has said is rarely shared, but the themes discussed assist in guiding parents towards greater understanding of the session’s themes and how best to support learning between group meets.
How are follow up appointments made?
Sometimes with patience, depending on the diary and wait list! However every effort is made to accommodate preferred appointment days, though there is a need to adjust expections around timings. All families prefer their children to be seen outside school hours, but younger children require energy and attention to make the most of a session and, to give their best, are encouraged to come earlier in the day.
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