Once we receive a referral from your child’s primary care physician, one of our psychologists will review it to ensure that our clinic can provide the kind of care your child needs. If so, our office staff will contact you with instructions about completing a background form, which is available online. The information you provide on this form will help us understand your child’s medical history and your concerns about his or her mental health. Once you have submitted the background form, we will contact you to schedule an appointment.
preparing for your visit
You may be concerned that your child may be anxious when told of an upcoming visit with a psychologist. Although this is sometimes the case, it's essential to be honest about the session and why your child (or family) will be going. The issue will come up during the session, but it's important for you to prepare your child for it.
Explain to young kids that this type of visit to the doctor doesn't involve a physical exam or shots. You may also want to stress that this type of doctor talks and plays with kids and families to help them solve problems and feel better. Kids might feel reassured to learn that the psychologist will be helping the parents and other family members too.
Older kids and teens may be reassured to hear that anything they say to the psychologist is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else, including parents or other doctors, without their permission — the exception is if they indicate that they're having thoughts of suicide or otherwise hurting themselves or others or if someone is abusing them.
Giving kids this kind of information before the first appointment can help set the tone, prevent your child from feeling singled out or isolated, and provide reassurance that the family will be working together on the problem.
In addition to talking to your child before your visit, we also recommend the following to ensure a successful visit:
- Our waiting rooms are kid friendly. However, if you are bringing other children with you besides the patient, please bring another adult to help. This will allow you to join your child and the psychologist during parts of the session without having to worry about your other children.
- If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or toy that makes them comfortable, consider bringing it with you. Your child may separate from you to meet with the psychologist alone depending on their age and comfort level. Having a comfort object may help them feel more at ease when meeting with the psychologist.
your child’s first appointment
During your child’s first appointment, you and your child will spend about 60 minutes with one of our psychologists. This gives the psychologist time to perform a complete evaluation, discuss your child’s mental health history and develop a treatment plan.