How to begin and end a child's therapy?
As a psychotherapist working with children I am confronted with the question by parents of how long therapy will take. I have come to realize that addressing this question from the beginning with parents is important. The response is that there is no clear cut answer to this. To each individual therapy there is a time and a logic that is unique, it is unique to the child. It might take some time for the child to engage in therapy, to want to come do therapeutic work, and once this work is started it will evolve following a rhythm and logic that ideally is not interrupted prematurely. For parents it might be frustrasting that this logic not necessarily corresponds with what they perceive as 'success.' Dramatic symptoms can disappear in quite a short time, but this does not mean that the child is done with the work. There is a logic to the therapeutic work of the child that is ideally not interrupted in a random way, with disrespect or disregard to the work the child is doing. Just as we don't want to force a child into therapy, we don't want to force a child out of therapy. Forcing the child into therapy and removing the child prematurely imply a certain disregard for the psychic 'time' of the child. This is why I find it very important in my work with children to also meet with parents on a regular basis, to connect with them with regard to this work of their child. Although I will respect the confidentiality of the child, I find there are ways to have them appreciate the work their child is doing in his or her sessions.