Disclaimer: I am honestly not a difficult therapist to work with. However due to a significant increase in the amount of therapist lawsuits and legal/ ethical situations that are trending currently, I have to be diligent in this area. More often than not, working with children is frequently considered “high risk ” especially if the biological parents are not together. High risk- meaning the possibility of the Therapist being sued, complained about, and/ or pulled into court.
In working with minors (things for parents/ guardians to be aware of): A minor client is under the age of 18, in which all legal guardians are required to give consent for treatment. Therapists are ethically and professionally required to receive the “consent for treatment” to treat a child by both biological parents and/or legal guardians. There are some situations in which this is not required, and I will explain that below. The “consent of treatment” will consist of a verbal agreement (via phone or in person) and a handwritten release that will state that I can legally provide mental health treatment to your child. I also prefer both parents to complete a separate copy of my initial intake paperwork.
What will I disclose to the parent(s) or guardians? Ultimately a parent has the right to know what is going on with their child. But trust is very important in the therapeutic relationship. If a child feels that I will tell their parents everything that they say, minimal progress will be made in treatment. My hope is that when an uncomfortable and needed topic comes up that I can assist the child in letting the parents know how they are feeling. I also hope that you will trust me to decipher what I believe is relevant information to be disclosed.
General Expectations: I believe in the importance of “family therapy,” to benefit your child and your family (whether the parents are together or not). Generally speaking, the best progress is made when both parents are involved in their child’s mental health treatment. I do not expect both parents to be involved in every therapy session. However I would appreciate ongoing and open communication from both parents.
In the event that the biological parents are separated or divorced: a copy of the most recent custody judgement is required prior to the initial session. It is also required that I receive a copy of all updated legal judgements during the course of treatment with your child. It is very important that I am able to read clearly what type of custody arrangement is active, what are the medical expectations, the academic expectations, and how the parents are to communicate about such issues.
If there is no custody paperwork in place, if a parent is not involved, or additional challenging custody situations: I will require a form to be completed prior to the initial session for the parent or legal guardian to document a clear and specific reason as to why the other parent can not be involved (such as if the parent is deceased or incarcerated). The document will require the reason that the other parent can not be involved.
Custody Issues/ Court proceedings and Court Costs: I am not a custody evaluator, court appointed meditator, family reunification therapist, nor a parenting coordinator. If you are seeking someone for this type of treatment, I can give you an appropriate referral. I also am not considered an “expert witness” and thus if you are seeking someone to support you in a legal suit, a referral will be needed. If you do require that I be present in court (via court subpoena/ judge order) the costs are quite high and will be discussed in the initial paperwork. This will cover any time spent preparing for the case, for travel, for any accomodations, for missed time at my practice, for documentation, for phone calls, and for time spent at a court-house (whether delayed or not).
There are likely many issues & situations that I have not covered on here. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.