Relationships with parents

How do you as a therapist manage relationships with parents? It's not easy for a parent to bring their child to therapy, and it's our job to try to put parents at ease. Bringing your child to therapy involves acknowledging that they need some kind of support or assistance, and that they would benefit from the input of an adult outside of the family. This can be difficult, and it's a big step for parents to do this. It's useful to remember that just as we as therapists might feel scrutinised, parents might feel the same! I found it helpful to hear Cheryl's experiences as an occupational therapist, as she reflects on how just giving the parent a home programme without the parent actually seeing how this is implemented in the room is not as helpful as finding a way to bring the parent into the therapy. My experience as a psychologist is that is is really useful for parents to learn how to talk to their children about feelings, and to observe how the therapist engages the child's emotional world. Even though the therapist may feel a bit 'watched', it's a good way of allowing things to get messy and real, and to collaborate with the parents and help them experience you as a non-threatening figure who is in fact an ally in thinking about their child. If you're interested in Cheryl's fascinating overview of the DIR:Floortime model, including how to gauge where a child is at emotionally and how to intervene accordingly, please see here for more information about this CPD-accredited talk.

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