Children come into counselling with their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. I work alongside the child and families to find the best method to help the child.
Counselling with children includes using art materials, playing with select toys such as doll houses or puppets, playing games, and using the sandbox. Often children do not have the verbal skills required to do “talk therapy.” Children use play and art to express their feelings, thoughts, and their world.
I use their way of expressing to help get to the root of the problems and help them learn new coping skills.  It can be a challenging time for all members of the family – children and adults.  I am here to help make this path towards health, healing and hope a smooth one.
Please give me a call at 604-283-6318 .

What to expect:

For the first visit, I will ask the parent(s)/ caregiver(s) to come without the child. This gives them a chance to state the issues as they see it. We will go through some of the paperwork and other expectations such as fees and appointment times. We will talk about some basic goals based upon what you wish for your child. I will help you know what to say to your child about the counselling before they come in and answer any questions you have regarding the process and how I work.

What if my child won’t come in the room?

It is normal for children to be hesitant in new situations. Generally, the child will come in if the parent comes in. Parents are free to attend sessions based upon the child’s needs and overall goals of the therapy. Often if children are hesitant to participate, we will do a game or activity together (that is, parents, child and myself). If the child sees the parent engaged and excited, then they are more prone to also be engaged. I have a very welcoming room with lots of toys and activities for children of all ages.   Child counselling does not have to be intimidating for anyone!

What if my child won’t talk?

I have no expectations that the child will want to talk to me for the first few counselling sessions. Play is their main communication tool and I will be closely observing and recording their choices and interactions with the toys and art and providing items to enhance their experience.  Child therapy can look quite different than therapy with adults.

What will the school think if I pull my child from class/day care? I don’t want them to label my child!

I have found that most schools and teachers are pleased to know you are being pro-active in finding your child some help through counselling services.  You are the one who decides what to tell the teachers and school. You can simply say the child has an appointment. I will not be talking to the teachers or school without your permission. We will decide together if you wish me to observe the child at their school/day care.  Again, child counselling is about you and the child. 

How long will it take?

I ask that children attend counselling sessions four to six times to start with. During that time, I will have a good sense of the child and the issues. We will evaluate together and make decisions together on your child’s progress and further goals.

What types of problems do you work with?

I have worked with children with a full range of problems including behavior issues, anger management, selective mutism, anxiety, depression and grief. I have also worked with those with special needs (see under heading “special needs” for more information.)

What do I do now?

Now that you have some basic information, please give me a call and we can discuss further details to provide the best counselling sessions and experience for you and your child. 

Mary Stanwood, MA, BCAT-R, RCC
Ridge Meadows Counselling

I look forward to hearing from you.