Ideally the whole family comes to an initial session which is often 75 minutes vs. 50 minutes. Depending on the age of the children and the issues the family is struggling with—art experiences, board games, sand tray, and/or communication exercises are chosen by the therapist initially for assessment and then for shifting relationship dynamics toward healthier patterns and restoring balance and connection.
Through the course of treatment, different constellations of the family may attend sessions according to what best serves the health of the whole family. When working with children younger than 11, I meet with the parents periodically or communicate via text or email to support the child’s progress at home. When seeing children over 11, I ask them permission to speak to their parents if doing do would be helpful to their therapy progress. At times, families are best helped by the parents attending therapy for support as parents and as a couple, with the children coming in occasionally as an opportunity to practice new skills with coaching and feedback available to them.