What should I expect?
First: In our first session or two, I will listen to your concerns and your hopes and dreams for how things could be different for your child. I may suggest that I come to your home or into your child's classroom so that I can ensure I fully understand the situation. I will make sure that we have a clear definition of the behavior change that you want to see, prioritizing the one or two behaviors we want to start with first. The first session is usually without the child present, so that you can feel comfortable sharing everything that is of concern without causing your child to feel ashamed or angry. You will leave this session with some concrete strategies to get started on the road to positive behavior change!
Next: In consultation with you, I will develop a behavioral "prescription" for what you can do in order to make the desired behavior change happen. This will involve ensuring your child has the skills needed to change his/her behavior, and making sure that he/she is motivated to make this change. We will figure out how you can reinforce your child for demonstrating new replacement skills - and how to avoid reinforcing (or rewarding) those old negative behaviors. I will make sure you know exactly what to do, and together we will problem-solve any issues that come up.
Then: At every session, we will review how things are going to see whether behavior change is happening as we want it to. If not, we will adjust what we are doing by using different rewards, changing your response to the behavior, or teaching new skills. As a team, we can make changes that will make your child feel happier and more successful, usually in very little time compared with traditional therapy approaches. When we have strategically and successfully addressed all of your concerns, we will make sure we put into place whatever is needed to maintain those gains after therapy sessions are terminated.
At the end: Behavior therapy stays behavior-focused, so when you've met your goals, our therapy sessions will end. Booster sessions will always be available, and if a new problem crops up, we can certainly re-institute regular sessions until the issue is resolved. The end result is a happy, calm home where children and parents feel confident and successful.