What to Expect

Seeking counseling for your child is a big step for a parent to make, and it helps to know what to expect. Below are answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding the therapy process. These and other questions and concerns can be addressed in more detail during the free consultation call and during the initial parent meeting.

**How do I begin the play therapy process?
The first step is to call for a free consultation. Playful Nature offers a free 30 minute phone consultation in which we will discuss your concerns and reasons for seeking support. Because therapy demands a significant personal investment of self, time and resources, it is essential to find a good fit between you and your child and the therapist. This consultation call can help determine if we are a good fit for each other, and will allow you to learn more about the play therapy process. If you determine that you would like to begin services at Playful Nature, we will set up a time for the initial parent meeting. Otherwise, the therapist offer referrals for another therapist, agency, or professional that might help you with your particular situation and needs.

**What is involved with the first parent meeting and why is it important?
The initial parent meeting is a comprehensive 75 minute long meeting between the parent(s) and the therapist. You will complete some of the necessary paperwork ahead of time in order for us to have ample time to discuss your concerns, struggles, and past relevant history; to set goals; and to answer any remaining questions. This will be the framework from which we will move forward together in order to best support your child’s process.

**What will my child’s play therapy session look like?
Generally I will meet with your child one time a week. I offer 45 minute play therapy sessions and 1 hour and 15 minute play therapy sessions (for those children that benefit from having more time to settle into the process). Some play therapy sessions may occur in the office setting. These sessions will involve the child coming to the therapist’s office, a safe, comfortable space set up with toys, art materials, and open areas that allow the child to play and begin the process. Some sessions will be nature-based and involve meeting at a pre-determined natural space (such as the arboretum, the botanical gardens, the Biltmore estate grounds) where we will conduct the session in the outdoors utilizing the same basic principles that guide a session in the office, but incorporating natural elements throughout the process. In certain circumstances, we might even meet at your home if that feels important to the process. We can talk more about how this looks when we meet for the initial parent meeting.

**Are parents involved during the session?
Most children are ready to begin this process on their own with the therapist, but some children might be anxious about separating from their parent and may want their parent with them for all or part of the first session. I let the child lead this process. You can communicate to your child that they are in a safe space with a trusted adult and they are going to be able to play in a way that will allow them to feel better. Typically the goal is to help a child move through their anxiety and develop their self-confidence and trust to be able to work independently without the parent in the session. However, depending on your child’s age, development and needs, I may suggest working with you and your child together at some point in the process so that you can learn and practice regulation and bonding activities together.

**What should I expect from the parent update?
As part of the play therapy process, I meet with the parents for 15 minutes of the paid hour or hour and a half of therapy. The parent update is an opportunity for us check-in and discuss how things are going at home and/or school, and for you to receive an update on how therapy is progressing. I will also offer you information on how to continue your child’s work in the home setting and offer strategies or tools for how to work with any on-going challenges and/or struggles. My goal is a collaborative process that allows for the open and non-judgmental guidance that will not only support your child, but will help your family return to a state of empowerment, connection, and loving authenticity. We will work together throughout the therapy process.

There are multiple options for the parent check-in:

*A weekly 15 minute check-in in person immediately after the play therapy session

*A weekly 15 minute check-in via phone call at a later time

*An every other week 30 minute in person or phone call check-in

If at any point in the process you would like more parent support, or if we mutually determine it would be beneficial to your child’s therapeutic work, we can schedule additional parent sessions.

**How long will my child need to be in play therapy?
On average, it will take 12-15 sessions of play therapy for your child to meet the goals set and to feel more empowered, self-confident, and secure in handling on-going life challenges. There are many factors which can increase or reduce the needed length of therapy. Consistent weekly participation and active client/parent engagement tend to support the therapy process and reduce the length of overall therapy. Factors that may prolong the process include life stressors that are on-going, the length of time a challenge(s) has been present, newly separated or divorced parents, sensory sensitivities, adoption or foster care, witness to abuse of others, or experiencing abuse and/or neglect.

**Why do you not accept insurance for services?  

Accepting insurance typically requires that I give a diagnosis to the child client I work with. Often this diagnosis can remain on their permanent records. Many times, I have seen children receive a diagnosis due to symptoms that abate upon completion of therapy. Insurance companies might also dictate the length and type of service that can be provided. I prefer to offer more individualized treatment services for my clients based on each child and family’s needs and concerns.

However if you choose to file a claim with your insurance, I can provide a Professional Service Statement that can be attached to the insurance form. You will be responsible for completing, filing and collecting third-party (e.g. insurance) reimbursement. Please be advised that some health insurance companies will reimburse clients for counseling services and some will not. In addition, most will require that a diagnosis of a mental-health condition before they will agree to reimburse you.

I do offer a few slots for a sliding fee scale when full payment poses a barrier to psychotherapy services. Using this arrangement, working within in certain boundaries, clients pay what they can afford. Depending on the circumstances, a client using my sliding scale fee structure would pay $60 – $100 per session.

It is important to note that sliding fee slots are often filled quickly and I may have a wait list. If you wished to be placed on my waitlist or learn about my sliding fee scale options, please call me at 828-782-5526. I’m happy to answer questions and/or schedule a consultation with you.

  

Our job is not to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. Our job is to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.

~L.R. Knost

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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. 

~Rachel Carson

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Nature-Based Play Therapy
© 2016 Playful Nature
828.782.5526
khristine@playfulnature.org