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Sunny Psychology Maroochydore


"It takes a village to raise a child"
- African proverb

Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if that great kid of yours had come with a manual?

Sometimes those cute faces and smart minds can push your buttons just a bit too often. Oftentimes the parents I see have tried so many avenues, ranging from rewards to a more free-reign approach. They have tried supplements, no screens during the week, earlier bedtime and handing the child over to well-intentioned grandparents. Yet still some behaviours aren’t changing or keep creeping back in and it turns out those behaviours weren’t a phase…

Sunny Psychology

Working with young people

You are not failing! As I wrote here (Psychology Services for Adults), we have become separated from a tight knit community where experience and advice were readily available to learn from and now many of us find ourselves google-ing our way through the day. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It is ok to ask for help, you are not expected to do or know it all.

Seriously. Take a breath, there is hope 🙂

Really, take a few deep breaths. Then head over to the Resources page for links to some amazing books and podcasts available, tailored to the parenting phase you are in. After that, keep reading and know that someone will listen, someone will get your story.

The parent child connection is the most powerful mental health intervention known to man kind”
– Dr Bessel van der Kolk. psychiatrist and trauma specialist.

What to expect?

The intake can take up several sessions, which often include several questionnaires. Depending on the child’s age, I may ask for the parents to come in by themselves first so that we can speak freely. After the intake, I will suggest a direction for treatment. Sometimes treatments are short, between six to ten sessions. Sometimes they are longer and can take up to a year, with the increments between sessions getting bigger and bigger.

When finding a psychologist for your child, it is important to seek expertise from someone who has been trained in child psychology. The treatments I use are evidence based and tailored to your child and the needs of your family. The younger the child, the more likely I am to work with the caregiver(s), as you are the one implementing the suggestions at home.

I often work with parents who have separated and I warmly welcome stepparents who are willing and able to care for the child. I believe the more love and nurturing, the merrier. When difficulties may arise due to different parenting styles, I aim to directly address those challenges, to avoid future conflict and thus further heartbreak for the child.

Do the best you can, until you know better. When you know better, do better.”
– Maya Angelou, Poet and civil rights activist.

Sunny Psychology

All types of caregivers

Caregivers come in many forms and they don’t all involve sharing DNA: single parents, same sex parents, (great)grandparents, foster and adoptive parents, aunts and uncles and stepparents. Sometimes families have stayed together throughout the years, sometimes they have decided on a different path.

Whoever the legal caretaker is and whatever the percentage of parenting duties is, I warmly welcome any caregivers who are willing and able to prioritise the wellbeing of the child in their care. I believe the more love and nurturing, the merrier. This includes bringing step/grandparents, support workers and residential care workers into the session, with permission of the child of course.

When difficulties may arise due to different parenting styles, I aim to directly address those challenges, to avoid future conflict and thus further heartbreak for the child. My main approach around parenting is related to the attachment theory, which basically states that when the child is consistently safely attached to their caregiver, they will grow into stable, kind, successful adults. Life events can destabilise this safe connection and therapy can help parents and children (incl. teens) to reconnect.

Help your child benefit from therapy

Before we meet there are things you can do to help your child get the most from therapy.  Here are some tips:

• Find a psychologist you and your child feel comfortable with

Like medication, therapy is not a one-size-fits-all. What worked for one, may not work for another. Your child’s health care team can help you find someone that fits your needs. Word of mouth is a great way to find a therapist as well, experienced parents are usually very trustworthy referrers.

• Take your child to all the appointments

The issue you come to session for likely didn’t develop overnight, so it is unlikely it will disappear overnight. Change takes time. It may take a few psychology sessions for your child to learn new skills and then a few more for your child and yourself to turn these skills into a habit. 

• Meet with your child's therapist

Be honest and feel welcome to ask questions or give feedback on what is and isn’t working. You are the expert on your child and your psychologist wants to help you both.
• Find your own psychologist
Sessions for your child are about them and sometimes about your parenting. This can bring up your own personal challenges. If this is the case, please mention this to your child’s psychologist, so that they can be mindful of your experience and possibly refer you to a colleague they trust.

• Be present with your child

Put away/turn off all screen and play, cook, read and laugh together. Include them in your daily activities and intentionally make time to connect. No amount of therapy can replace the bond between you and your child.

• Quality over quantity

Your direct engagement inside and outside the session will directly influence the effectiveness of the treatment.  For your child it is not about the quantity of time together, the number of birthday or Christmas presents or the amount of money spend on a weekend activity. Instead your child will remember the quality of the time spend together. Were you present with them? Did you laugh together, did you teach them a new skill or word, did you remember their favourite book or drink? What we do in session, continues outside the session.

• Parent with patience and warmth

Use kind words, even when you need to correct your child. Connect, before you redirect. Give praise when your child is doing well or trying hard and be consistent in your approach. When your ‘no’ is a real ‘no’, your ‘yes’ becomes a real YES!