When it is Time to End Treatment for your Child

Depressed teen visiting psychologist helping to cope with, problems awkward age

Lakeside is an organization that provides educational and counseling services to 3500 students per year. As we provide those services we not only encounter our students but also their parents who have been integrally involved in their lives for many years. Very often it is the parents who are advocates for the care of their child or teenager. Once their child starts finding success it is sometimes hard to know when to discontinue their treatment program and return to normal life in their home school or community. Obviously, we want students to be in their normal environment as soon as possible but it still can be difficult to know when counseling and support services should end.

Caroline Miller, Editorial Director of Child Mind Institute has written an article about this very issue on that website. Here are some quotes from this article:

When you have a child in treatment for emotional or behavioral problems, it can be hard to know when it’s time to stop. What role should parents, the therapist and the child have in reaching that decision? And how can you ensure that the ending will be a positive experience for the child?

In general, our experts say, it’s time to wind down therapy when your treatment goals have been met. That could mean, say, getting the child back in school, reducing symptoms of anxiety or depression, or seeing fewer tantrums. On the other hand, if treatment isn’t working — if the child hasn’t made progress — it may be time to change course and consider a different approach.

Ms. Miller then describes how parents can be in the process of setting goals and monitoring progress with the therapist so they will be informed and clear about what progress has taken place and how to gradually taper off treatment as goals are reached. 

For those parents who have children in treatment there are some very helpful suggestions in this article. 

Gerry Vassar


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