Attending an appointment with a psychologist for the first time can feel a bit overwhelming, especially for children who typically have no idea they even need to see one. Perhaps your child is showing a delay in some of their social, emotional, or academic skills and they need psychological testing. Maybe they are going through complex life challenges and need therapy sessions with a licensed psychologist. Regardless of the reason, a child psychologist has the knowledge, education, training and experience to help.
On the way to their appointment, your child may ask where they are going. They may feel anxious about what to expect during their visit with the psychologist. This interaction is natural and healthy. A child who is curious and asks questions is more likely to be a willing participant during their session with the psychologist. Understanding what to expect will help set your child at ease during their session. Today we will discuss the various questions a psychologist may ask your children.
What to Expect During Your Initial Appointment with a Child Psychologist
During the first few appointments, you and your child should expect the psychologist to ask questions about your child’s medical history and family history. Although it may feel silly to answer questions about people who aren’t even at the appointment, this information will help the psychologist understand your child’s needs in a bigger context. Additionally, family history will help correlate the patient and their family’s history regarding mental health, learning disorders, and more.
Initially, the intake questions will be directed to the parent or guardian. A few of the questions that may arise during your child’s initial appointment include but are not limited to:
- What brings you here today?
- What is your child’s personality like? Have there been any notable social changes?
- How do you spend time together as a family?
- Are there any mental health, addiction, or unusual disorders that run in the family?
- Are there currently any significant stressors in the family’s life (i.e. divorce, financial concerns, legal problems, etc.)
- How well does your child get along with other children?
- Does your child struggle at school (emotionally, socially, academically, etc.)?
- What are your approaches to discipline?
Play Therapy for Younger Children
When treating younger children, the psychologist will most likely have a parent or guardian complete the initial appointment intake. During this time, you will share your entire family history and reasons for your child’s referral. After this initial intake is complete, the psychologist will meet with you and your child to start developing a solid therapeutic relationship.
After the psychologist has earned the child’s trust, they may use play therapy as one of their therapeutic methods. Play therapy allows your child and their therapist to continue developing their relationship and deepen their trust levels through play. Whether it’s LEGO, games, play-doh, or art, play therapy is a unique way for the therapist to ask your child questions without being so straightforward. Play therapy is designed to help to avoid any potential confusion or unsettling feelings.
Questions a therapist may ask your child during play therapy include but are not limited to:
- How is school for you? Do you have friends, a favorite teacher, etc.?
- What are your favorite things to do with your parents or siblings?
- Do you have any fears?
- If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change?
- If you had three wishes, what would they be?
Although these are just a few examples of baseline questions, a psychologist will get creative to meet your child where they are at and develop questions in a way your children will understand. If your child has suffered a traumatic event, these questions will be phrased in a manner to discover their truth without causing further trauma.
Scheduling Your Child Psychology Appointment
At BE Psychology, we understand the uncertainty of attending a first-time mental health appointment. What will be asked? Who will the psychologist be? Will my child feel safe and comfortable? These are common questions many of our clients either ask or are thinking about. Our team of therapists, counselors, and psychologists work to create a welcoming, judgment-free environment where clients of all ages feel safe to discuss their feelings, concerns, and challenges. We work with children, teens, and families to help them achieve greater mental health and well-being. We can help you during challenging times.
Contact a member of our team to schedule your appointment.