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On Preparing your Child for Therapy


Sarah Hakala, MA LPC

The decision to take your child to see a therapist is one that can be very difficult, even agonizing, for parents.

Some parents worry their child will refuse to talk or throw a huge fit. Others have concerns about the stigma historically associated with mental health treatment and if their child will feel embarrassed or ashamed for attending sessions. And other moms and dads may approach with caution, worried therapy won’t help as they had hoped, and their child will continue with the same difficulties.

This is nothing to say squeezing the time into an already-jam-packed schedule. Between these worries and more, parents have enough to deal with.

When preparing to bring your child in for their first therapy session, you can help ease the worries of your child (and yourself) by grabbing one of the following children’s books. Each one unique with its own characters and presentation, these books lay the groundwork for success in therapy.

For your youngest kiddos, “Some Bunny To Talk To: A Story About Going To Therapy” by Paola Conte, Cheryl Sterling, and Larissa Labay is a great choice. This is a simple yet comforting read all about Little Bunny’s questions before starting therapy.

Children ages 5-11 who are having behavioral difficulties may like to read “My Listening Friend: A Story About the Benefits of Counseling” by P.J. Michaels. A young boy is referred for therapy and doesn’t want to go until he learns more and realizes it may not be so bad after all.

“Someone To Talk To: Getting Good at Feeling Better” is another great choice from authors Cheryl Sterling, Paola Conte and Larissa Labay. Geared toward children ages 6-11, this book will not only answer all your child’s questions but get them thinking and reflecting on their own experience through the multiple activities. This book guides children from the start of therapy through the finish and can serve as a helpful tool for facilitating discussion between parents and children about how therapy sessions are going and what your child has been learning.

For children ages 8-14, Rachel Rashkin’s “Feeling Better: A Kid’s Book about Therapy” is a more personal account through the therapeutic process. Maya, the main character, has written a journal throughout a particularly rough year and highlights the gains made through therapy.

Sarah Hakala, LPC  is a staff  therapist at Child and Family Solutions Center. She works with children, teens, adults and families  She can be reached at 248-851-5437 and