When we first meet at the clinic, this is called the assessment. This typically lasts one hour and 20 minutes. During this meeting, there is an opportunity for your psychologist to ask a lot more questions and get more of an understanding of the problem, your child’s needs and goals, and those of the whole family. There will be an opportunity to talk as a whole family, but we also like to spend some time with the child on their own if they are happy to, to get to know them a little bit more. By the end of the assessment session, we will aim to give you some ideas and recommendations for what to do next in managing the problem, and to make a plan for any future sessions.
As clinical psychologists, we do not like to just consider the problem as being located within the child, but it is important to reflect on the systems in which they exist and to evaluate how these may be affecting the problem, perhaps even keeping it going. Therefore, the assessment will not just seek to gather information from your child and you as a family, but also it is important for us to engage with other important systems like the school or nursery that your child goes to. Initially, this may just be information gathering to understand how they see the problem from their perspective, but it is often helpful to work closely with these systems as therapy continues. This ensures that all are working together to support the child in the most efficient and effective ways.