Child and Adolescent Services
Child and adolescent services typically range from 6 years of age through to adolescence and early adulthood (includes primary school age, secondary school age and early adulthood).
Counselling is a highly structured communication process designed to enable people to understand why they think, feel and behave the way they do. The primary purpose is to influence positive changes in attitudes, emotions and behaviours. Counselling is a conversationally based tool, so it can seem like “a chat”. Many young people and adolescents, unaware of the techniques being used by the psychologist, tell their parents that they “just had a chat”. Counselling is more than just a chat. You may like to know that we regularly utilise a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) framework to support many of our counselling sessions when introducing concepts with young people. Essentially, CBT is a highly researched and effective therapeutic model (or ‘modality’) that helps us understand the links between our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Often we use diagrams to help people see how all of these factors are linked and influence our attitudes, moods and behaviours. As registered psychologists under privacy laws we are legally bound to keep the content of counselling sessions private and confidential, unless instructed by the client to release details, or there is a risk of harm to the individual or others. Counselling with young people at Hine Psychology typically addresses the following areas:
- Communication techniques and managing social situations (including bullying behaviour; exclusion; social isolation)
- Understanding and managing challenging emotions (e.g. Anxiety, Anger, Depression). We have a wealth of experience treating anxiety conditions including generalised anxiety, separation anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorders.
- Managing Behavioural Difficulties (Aggressive/Antisocial Behaviours, School Refusal, Impulsivity, Attention Issues)
- Supporting, educating and guiding individuals and their caregivers with Autism Spectrum Disorders (e.g. Asperger’s Syndrome)
- Learning strategies – ‘learning to understand and work effectively with your brain and not against it’
- Time management and organisation strategies
- Addressing motivational issues
- Career planning and exploration of learning avenues for upper secondary school students and school leavers (includes students who are unsure about whether they have chosen the right course of study for themselves and wish to explore their options)
- Subject selection for VCE / VET, VCAL and beyond
What to expect at an initial consultation?
If you or your child have never attended a psychologist, naturally there will be some anticipatory nerves. Whilst many adults are often relieved to finally be able to talk confidentially with a professional who is objective, empathetic and ethical in their approach, children and adolescents tend to be a little more anxious and unsure about meeting someone new for the first time, particularly if the problem involves them! Wouldn’t you be?
Young people often feel daunted by the prospect of meeting a mental health professional given the unfortunate stigma that mental health issues still carry in our society, despite increasing education and awareness campaigns.
As we have experienced firsthand over the past 21 years, some common concerns and queries for children and adolescents can include: Why am I going? What’s wrong with me? What’s going to happen in the session? What am I going to be asked? How long will this go for? Will I have to keep going back? How often do I have to do this? Why didn’t I know about this until today? Well, there is no need to be unsure about what is going to happen. The initial consultation is designed to get to know you and your child and to establish an understanding as to what is going on; what needs attention; what the process will entail and to ultimately to work out what you want from us and what you are prepared to do about it with our guidance.
Dealing with resistance…
Confronted with our own anxieties about life, we have 2 choices – either deal with them or avoid them. Of course the human instinct is to naturally avoid uncomfortable experiences. Hence, there may well be some unavoidable initial resistance from your child. Don’t panic! Getting your child or adolescent to the appointment is your primary objective. We will do the rest with respect to gaining their trust in addressing their issues. We have found that there are 2 key ways to reduce resistance: 1) Negotiating and striking a fair deal to initially get them there. This may involve food, a small novelty or some other form of currency that your young person relates to. 2) Express to your child that the meeting is more about you receiving guidance and direction to best assist them and that you will need their support with this because what you are doing isn’t working for them.
What if your child or adolescent refuses to attend?
Simple… As the responsible adult, you attend the appointment yourself so as to establish the appropriate formula you will need to apply to your situation whilst demonstrating to your child that you care about them and are seriously committed to dealing with their situation or problem(s) in a healthy and constructive way.
This means that whilst you are highly likely to still be frustrated by your child’s initial non-compliance with your request, you will have commenced the process of seeking help and will have established a clearer perspective on how to more effectively handle the situation and to gain your child’s willingness to attend.
Should it be agreed or determined that some form of assessment is required, it is helpful to know what is likely to be involved.
Any psychological assessment / psychometric assessment requires contact time with the person being assessed and a significant amount of time behind the scenes, scoring, analysing and interpreting the data and subsequently compiling a personally meaningful and relevant report.
At all times, we endeavour only to seek information from assessments that will be practical in helping to determine a pathway of improvement for your child.
With your consent, we will only ever conduct an assessment if we have a clear purpose in mind for doing so. We, like you, want to see action and improved outcomes for your child.
Assessments typically conducted by this service include: Cognitive Assessments (otherwise referred to learning or abilities assessments); Personality Assessments and Vocational Assessments.
Why assess your child’s learning style/cognitive abilities?
- Would you like to know your child’s relative learning strengths and weaknesses and discover what they are genuinely capable of achieving at school?
- Would you like your child to get most out of their education and discover ways they can help themselves with their learning?
- Would you like to have at your convenience information that will hold validity and guide you and your child for the next 3 to 4 years of their educational experience?
- Would you like to discover whether your child’s term reports are a genuine reflection of what they are capable of achieving?
- Would you like to know whether the stumbling blocks your child is experiencing with their learning are attitudinally driven or genuine learning issues that require professionally considered management strategies?
- Would you like to explore whether your child’s early developmental issues e.g. speech and language difficulties, motor development issues; ear, nose and throat issues may have and continue to impact on their learning?
- Would you like to know what subject content your child is likely to enjoy and excel at?
- Would you and your teenager like to know what subjects are likely to be more personally engaging and rewarding during the upper secondary years and beyond (i.e. for VCE, VCAL, University and TAFE)?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may wish to consider the merits of the universally recognised Wechsler Intelligence Scales. The Wechsler Intelligence Scales are empirically researched and validated tools with over 70 years of application and development. Indeed, you may of heard of the assessment. The current children’s version (ranges from 6 years of age to 16 years and 11 months) is called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V). The adult version (covering ages from 16 years upwards) is called the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV).
Often a student who is performing poorly may have an unusual way of using information, or the student may have more ability than their school performances and reports indicate. To help an individual improve their learning outcomes, an exploration of these issues is often essential.
Conducting a cognitive assessment takes the guess work and mystery out of what is happening with the young person’s learning.
The Information derived from this assessment will help in formulating the steps to assist your child in achieving their learning potential.
This practice conducts cognitive assessments from 6 years of age upwards.
The WISC-V will help determine the style of learning to which your child responds best.
A cognitive assessment will also give a clear profile of the individual’s learning strengths and weaknesses and provide solid information for making practical recommendations to help improve the learning outcomes for your child.
The assessment can also help with upper secondary schooling subject selection, potential choice of school and with planning for post school learning options.
The recommendation to have your child assessed may come from your child’s school, GP, audiologist, speech pathologist or paediatrician, with the possible goal(s) in mind of establishing whether your child is more of a ‘verbal’ or ‘visual learner’ or to clarify whether your child has ‘auditory memory difficulties’, ‘attention and concentration difficulties’ and / or ‘processing speed difficulties’.
In the event that your child has a documented history of difficulties that have impacted on their learning development, you may find yourself being encouraged by your child’s school (especially towards the upper end of secondary school i.e. prior to VCE), to apply to the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) for some form of ‘special provisions’ in an effort to give your child a more equitable opportunity to demonstrate their learning potential during examinations and assessment tasks. An abilities assessment may need to be conducted as part of a supporting body of evidence to be attached such an application.
A standardised, individual intelligence assessment is used to obtain information about a number of factors critical to an individual’s learning style.
It is well worth noting that the information gained from an Abilities /Intelligence assessment such as the WISC-V or WAIS-IV results will be relevant for approximately 3 years.
The WISC-V assessment process:
We allow 2 hours for administering an abilities assessment.
- Behind the scenes.
There is a further 3.5 hours behind the scenes for scoring, data analysis, interpretation and report writing. The results are examined against other available information about the young person e.g. Reviewing previous school reports, audiology reports, etc. A written report is prepared for your records and is provided at the Follow-up consultation.
- Follow-up consultation.
A 1 hour consultation is provided in order to thoroughly review and discuss the assessment results. Conclusions and recommendations are discussed at this stage.
Some form of further action is likely to be recommended at this point. This may involve simply taking a copy of the report to your child’s school; having the psychologist speak with your child’s school (at your request); having an optometric assessment; or having some 1:1 study skills sessions scheduled. As you would expect, the specific recommendations will depend of the context of the individual’s circumstances and the results of the assessment.
You will need to budget $1560 for this type of assessment which includes the process outlined above. Please note this budget does not include your initial consultation or any psychology consultations that occur after the 1 hour Follow-up consultation.
We understand and appreciate that assessments are costly exercises to our clients and believe that our clients deserve the best value for their money. Hence, we do our best to explain what is involved in having your child / young adult assessed and delivering a professional set of findings and personalised report with specific recommendations for you and your school to utilise as a resource for years to come.
When considering the cost of an assessment to you, we ask that you take the time to consider your child’s other ongoing educational costs (school fees, tuition and extracurricular costs) and to also consider that this assessment will take the guess work out of your child’s learning and provide you with great confidence in your ongoing educational investments.
Please do not hesitate to talk to us about this process.
Personality Assessments are designed to help the individual learn more about themselves and to develop a stronger insight into understanding their applied behaviour and choices in life; what is likely to motivate them; areas that may need development and attention; and most importantly, how to get the most out of their natural strengths.
Generally speaking, this style of assessment tends to be conducted with individuals who are approximately 16 years of above (i.e. Year 10 or above). At this stage, individuals are typically more curious to learn about ‘what makes them tick’ and subsequently what subjects and career directions are likely to fit more comfortably with their personality strengths and style.
Standardised Personality Assessments are used for this process.
Typically, the assessment is conducted over a 1 hour period. There is also 1 hour of behind the scenes scoring and analysis, followed by a 1 hour follow-up appointment to review the results with you and your child. A summary only of the key results is provided for your records. A comprehensive report is not provided for this assessment, unless specifically arranged with the psychologist conducting the assessment. You will need to budget $720 for this type of assessment (effectively 3 hours of practitioner time).
Call us to talk about the tools we use to help you explore personality.
Career Planning Assessments and Guidance:
Vocational Assessments help an individual gain a clearer understanding of the areas, themes and types of work activities that appear to be capturing their interest and imagination.
Whilst Vocational Assessments are good tools designed to assist individuals develop their self-awareness, typically, this practice does not encourage individuals to rely on vocational assessment information alone when making decisions about potential subject selection(s) and with career path planning. This is because an individual’s vocational interests may not be consistent with their learning strengths (abilities) and personality style.
Therefore, most often, vocational assessments conducted by this practice will be done in conjunction with a personality assessment and / or a cognitive assessment in an effort to provide you with the most relevant and meaningful career planning information.
Comprehensive Vocational Guidance Assessment:
It is our experience that when exploring potential career options and pathways, it is crucial to have access to reliable, concrete and insightful information to help accurately guide and accelerate the process.
A comprehensive vocational guidance assessment provides a deep level of insight into the following 3 areas:
- The individual’s Cognitive Abilities / Learning Style,
- Personality and
- Vocational Interests.
Please note each of these 3 respective services is outlined on this website and are included in this form of assessment.
The key benefits of this assessment include:
- Helping the individual develop a clear and objective understanding of their learning potential – Answers the questions: Would I be best suited to VCE or VCAL? Do I have a learning profile that would suit University style learning, TAFE or Traineeship style learning?
- Helps the individual and parent(s)/caregivers establish a clear profile of relative strengths and weaknesses with learning and personality style.
- Takes the guesswork out of the career planning maze.
- Provides an insight into the emotional needs of the individual.
- Helps provide clarity on vocational pathways that embrace the individual’s strengths and abilities.
- Gives a solid framework for the next steps in the career planning and exploration process.