Family therapy - information for children

Family therapy is a way to help and support families to share their feelings. 

It involves someone called a family therapist sitting with you and your family and letting you express how you feel inside. 

They will listen to you talking about the things that are happening or the things that don’t make sense. They will also talk and help explain things so they make a lot more sense to you and your family and suggest things you could do to make things better. 

Sometimes you might be with some of your family and at other times you might be with all the people in your family. Often there will be two or more therapists with you and your family but sometimes only one therapist will be with you. 

Other children have said:
“You are in safe hands”
“I like coming because then it helps my problems”
“Scared but I like that me and my sister can express what we are feeling”

Why am I coming here?

This is not a bad place and you are not coming here because you have been bad or horrible. 

You may be coming here because you are unhappy or frightened and don’t know how to tell anyone. The people here understand you might be scared or don’t want to stay because you think you might be taken away from your family but they are here to help. 

Other children said: 
“I like coming because I get to express my feelings and somebody listening to me is great”
“Give it a chance and you might like it”
“This is a nice place and you will make friends”

What happens in therapy?

You and your family will spend lots of time doing activities and talking in a quiet room called a therapy room. Your therapist will really listen and take your opinions seriously. They will understand your worries and give you practical advice on what to do about your problems or exercises to help. 

Other children have said:
“There is nothing to worry about, just be yourself”
“Just answer the questions as best as you can and know that they are trying to help you”
“Don’t feel scared or embarrassed. Just speak what’s on your mind.”
“Don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it looks.”

What will my therapist be like?

Your therapist might be a man or a woman. Sometimes your therapist will get you and your family to do activities and sometimes they will want to talk and ask you about the things that don’t make sense. 

Your therapist will be really kind and very caring. They are someone who will spend time with you and your family to help you to understand your feelings and help you feel better. 

Other children said:
“My therapist listens to my feelings and doesn’t judge me”
“They are nice and they understand you. They listen and it's a good place to vent and pick up tips.”
“I like coming here speaking to someone who gives me time”

When will I come here?

You and your family may come here and see someone once a week and or a few times a week. You might come during the day and have to miss some school. You may have to come during the school holidays.

What is it like coming here for the first time? 

It is fine to feel nervous or shy about coming here for the first time. The people here understand that coming to a strange place and talking to people you don’t know might be a bit scary but they will smile and say hello to help you feel a bit better. 

It might also be hard for you to talk about your feelings with a stranger or in front of your family but your therapist will be patient and let you talk when you are ready. 

Other children have said:
“I’m sure you’ll like it and it is all right to be scared”
“It’ll be better than you think it will be” 
“It is really a fun place”
“Everything will be fine, may be hard at first, but they're only here to help”
“Don’t worry it’s not scary” 

What will happen when I come here? 

You and your family will come and see someone in one of our buildings. The buildings are a bit grey from the outside but inside they are welcoming and colourful with pictures on the walls.

Other children have said:
“It’s not a scary building”
“Well it is nice place and is welcoming”

When you arrive you will be greeted by a friendly receptionist who will listen to you and ask you a few questions. 

Other children have said:
“They are very friendly and will be there to help”
“The people look after you”
“I think I like this place because it has very nice people and therapists”

If you are early you may have to wait until your therapist is ready to see you and your family. The waiting rooms have colourful seats and lots of toys, Lego, books and teddies. There are toilets nearby and a water cooler and kiosk to buy crisps and drinks. In one of the waiting rooms there is a fish tank. 

Children have said:
“I like reading comics in the waiting room!”
“I like the fish and hot chocolate”
“I like the fish tank and lots of toys”

When it is time for your appointment your therapist will come and meet you and your family in the waiting room. Your therapist will then show you and your family to the therapy room. The therapy room may have plants in it.

What other children have told us about coming here

Some other things children have said are:
“It’s going to be ok!”
“To just answer the questions as best as you can and know that they are trying to help you”
“I was shy but in the end it helped me”
“The people who work here will take you seriously and they make you feel happy and make you feel you want to come again. They will always look out for you and never leave you out.”
“Don’t worry and it’s kind of nice”
“Don’t be scared, say what is on your mind”
“Don’t freak out the first few stages are scary but afterwards ok”
“Better than I thought”

Talking about your feelings can be hard and upsetting but the people here will help you. 

They want you to feel okay telling them about anything you are scared or worried about. They want you to be okay asking them any questions you have.