Child & Teen Therapy FAQs

banner image

What sets Bridgeview Psychotherapy apart from other youth mental health clinics?

Bridgeview Psychotherapy offers strength-based therapy to children, teens and families using creative approaches. The use of play, expressive arts, and other creative forms of therapy allows our team to help the client to express themselves in any way that they feel most comfortable as well as providing accessible therapeutic interventions to clients with diverse needs and abilities. At Bridgeview Psychotherapy we will tailor our services to meet client needs and ensure that you are matched with the therapist that is the right fit for you and your family.

Bridgeview Psychotherapy is unique in that it offers a large fully-stocked playroom dedicated to play and art therapy.  

How old does a child need to be for play therapy?

Play therapy can be used for children as young as two years old. Despite the belief that play therapy is for young children, teens, adults and older adults all can benefit from play therapy.

What will you ask my child?

Therapists often start by telling the child about the playroom. In a child-centered playroom, the therapist will explain to the child that the playroom is a special playroom because the child can do whatever they want in the playroom, they do not clean up and the only rules are “no hurts for the therapist and no hurts for the child.” The therapist often explains play therapy and confidentiality with the use of books. The therapist will frequently ask the child if they know why they have come to play therapy and if the child has any questions. The therapist will often ask the child if they have any goals. Often the questions the therapist will ask has to do with the play or is part of a game. The questions therefore vary depending on the type of play therapy and the goals of the child and/or parent(s)/caregiver(s).

What will my involvement as a parent be?

If your child is under the age of 12 years old, you can expect to have a parent-only consultation session at the beginning to get a full history of your child. Depending on the needs of the family, therapists may see all the family members together in session(s), involve parents in session, or see the child or teen on their own. The ways in which the assessment and treatment process is developed will depend on the approach used by the therapist and the needs of the family, and will involve collaboration between the therapist and the family or individual.

In play therapy, children are the primary clients who are entitled to a confidential relationship with their counselors. Just as an adult would not want others watching or knowing what they talk about in therapy, children deserve this same sort of freedom to talk or play in a safe environment free from parent expectations, emotions, or judgment. However, we also believe in the parent’s rights and responsibilities for their child. We will listen and respond to parent concerns regarding their child’s play therapy in order to ensure that parents feel fully involved.

How will I know how my child is progressing in therapy?

Your child’s therapist will arrange parent consultations throughout the therapy process. Ideally parents will catch up with their child’s therapist once every 4-6 weeks. You will spend time discussing progress, play themes, and support strategies. These catch ups should take place without the child present. It is an important part of the process that we avoid speaking about the child and their sessions in front of the child, as this can make them feel unimportant and unseen.

What does therapy provide that school or parents do not?

Therapy is provided by a person with a particular skill set. A teacher or parent may be able to do it however, they have not obtained the same training as a child therapist. For example, I may think “I can teach my child how to read. I read all the time”. As you attempt to teach your child, you realize your child isn’t fully comprehending what you’re saying and much progress isn’t gained. You take your child to a tutor/reading specialist and now they are slowly beginning to read. Is this because you don’t know how to read? Absolutely not. It’s because the tutor/reading specialist has a special set of skills that is targeted towards helping children read. It is the exact same thing for child therapists. They assist your child in many different ways, using their special set of skills.

If my child seems to be doing well, can child therapy still be helpful?

Absolutely.  Taking your child to therapy will not only normalize the process, but they will be able to learn coping skills and how to adapt to changes, useful life tools that can be utilized at any age. It also gives them a safe and judgement-free place to express themselves, allowing them to know that the option of therapy always exists.