I work in an integrative, non- directive way, where the child leads the process and decides on the therapeutic medium/s they want to use . So, for instance, some older children may prefer talking therapy whilst younger children may prefer play or creative therapy.
Others may want to use a combination of therapies where drawing, painting, music, writing, or drama alongside the sand tray or talking to express and make sense of the feelings and thoughts they have is used.
I always speak to parents/guardians before the first session to get an understanding from them as to why they feel their child needs therapy at this time and why they think the child might be experiencing what they are experiencing. These conversations are also about eliciting information on the context in which the child lives their life, so this would include asking parents/guardians questions about the family, such as the makeup, or if there have been any incidents such as bereavements, major changes or trauma that have taken place. This is used to get a better idea of factors related to the family that might be influencing the child's emotional behaviour.
Many parents/guardians can quite understandably feel quite concerned about what might happen in therapy, so these sessions also allow for time to answer any questions the parents might have around the therapy process, as well as those around safeguarding, child protection and confidentiality.
These meetings last for 1 1/2 hour and can take place on line or in person. Depending on the make up of the family and the relationship between the parents, parents/guardians may be seen together or separately. These will form part of the assessment process and is used to devise a treatment plan which will clarify how I think treatment with your child should look and the reasons for this: It may recommend a mixture of sessions, so some play sessions for your child, some parent child sessions, psycho- education sessions or even a referral to another agency or service.
Meetings with parents/guardians during their child's therapy.
I will arrange meetings with parents/guardians to review and assess how they feel the therapy is progressing, highlight any issues/ or new concerns they may have about the therapy or their child's emotional behaviour. We will think together about the issues raised and identify new ways in which parents/guardians can support the child at home with them.
Sometimes I might recommend meeting with a parent to explore how issues from their own childhood may be influencing their parenting now.
Sometimes there might be parent/guardian and child combined sessions. These can provide a safe, contained and non judgemental space to explore issues such as those related to communication and can be a pre- requisite to resolution.
The approach highlighted above, acknowledges that parents/ guardians are important facilitators/ influencers of emotional well being and mental health in their child given they will, in most cases, spend more time with the child than anyone else, and know a lot more about what their child has experienced than anyone else. It recognises that for therapy to be effective, parent/ guardian and therapist need to work together.
My name is Anjula Cheema. I am a registered United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists (UKCP) child and adolescent psychotherapist and provide therapy (short and long term) to both children and young people in Milton Keynes (UK) and the surrounding areas.
I have experience of working on a one to one therapeutic basis with children aged between 4-11, and young people aged between 12 and 18. This has been gained from providing therapy for children known to Milton Keynes Social Services; in primary and secondary schools, youth centres, youth counselling organisations, a refuge and in my private practice.
Issues that I have addressed include, anger, anxiety, depression, self-injury, low self-esteem, suicidal intent, bereavement and loss, bullying, transitions and change, including those related to divorce; stress, abuse, including sexual abuse; trauma, identity and relationship difficulties.
Like all UKCP registered psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors I can work with a wide range of issues, but here are some areas in which I have a special interest or additional experience.