Finding the right place to be seen and trying to determine the right counselor can be overwhelming and sometimes cause additional stress for families.
Perdido Counseling is the first counseling practice established especially for children and their families in the Perdido, West Pensacola, and Orange Beach areas.
There are several benefits to being seen in a small counseling setting vs. larger community-based counseling centers. In smaller settings, you do not have to worry about sitting in overcrowded waiting rooms, and the wait times are often shorter. Smaller settings also allow counselors to see their patients from start to finish and the process is more streamlined than in larger settings. The counselor you see during your first appointment will be with you throughout the entire counseling process. We listen and value your feedback about how the office is functioning and accommodating your needs.
The first appointment can be stressful for children because they are expected to visit a new place, meet someone new, and talk to them about things that may be difficult or personal in nature. Imagine walking into an office and telling a complete stranger all of your problems. For children, this can be challenging and we are very sensitive to this issue. We do not expect for children to talk about their problems immediately after meeting with us. We understand that building rapport is extremely important and it takes time. There is no time frame of how fast that rapport will be established as each child is different. We strive to create a trusting, judgment free environment where children are able to get the help they need regardless of how long it takes.
Tips for Parents:
Prior to the first appointment:
1. Be honest about where they are going and talk with your child about your decision for them to see a counselor (keep the conversation developmentally appropriate). Don’t make up a false story and tell them that they are going somewhere else, such as getting ice cream, or going to the store.
I thought that it would be a good idea for you to talk with someone about…..(how you’re doing in school, feelings of sadness, feeling nervous about ___, problems with friends, etc)
2. Keep a positive attitude and briefly explain what a counselor is:
A counselor is someone who helps kids talk about their feelings and work through any problems they may have.
3. Ask them how they feel about seeing a counselor
Do you feel happy, mad, sad, scared, or nervous about meeting this counselor?
It is common for children to feel nervous or worried, so be sensitive to these feelings.
4. If they feel uncomfortable or nervous, find out what their negative thoughts are and then find a way to change the negative thinking into a positive thought.
Ask, Tell me what you’re thinking? Or What are your thoughts?
Next, try and replace their negative thought with a positive one that they can think instead.
5. Sit with your child and show him/her the counseling website, let them talk about what they see and answer questions they may have about any information they read or about the pictures they see.
6. Drive by the office and show him/her where they will be going and talk about how they may feel.
We want you to feel comfortable and it is important to communicate any discomfort that you or your child may have during the therapy process so that we can work through this together. Our goal is to make your counseling experience a positive one, and we strive to make the experience as stress-free as possible. Please do not hesitate to ask questions along the way and share your concerns.