How do we support our children while also challenging them to grow and change, eventually becoming independent and high-achieving adults? There are thousands of books that exist to guide us, but translating the information into real life can be frustrating and messy. Through parent consultation, or parent coaching as it is often referred to, I partner with parents to explore the specifics of the challenges they are facing with their children. We start by defining the eventual goals you have for your children and your relationship with them. Then we collaborate on how you interact on a daily basis with them to lay the groundwork for that relationship. I am passionate about respectful and positive parenting, utilizing both empathy and boundaries. I also provide basic education around child development, neurobiology, and evidence-based parenting techniques to my consultation clients.
How is consultation different from therapy?
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I am qualified to provide both consultation and therapy services. My approach is very similar in each of these formats- I work in a collaborative and strengths-based way with consulting clients and with therapy clients. However, the goals in each of these formats are different. The goal of therapy is to treat a diagnosable mental health disorder. The goal of consultation is to support parents by providing education and encouragement, tailored to their children’s developmental level and the specific needs of the family. There are no diagnoses given for consulting services and the services are not reimbursable by insurance. Consultation tends to be more short-term than therapy as well.
If, at any point during our consultation relationship, I believe you or your child may benefit from individual or family therapy, I will bring this up with you and offer guidance on finding an appropriate therapeutic support. And if you or your family members are already receiving therapeutic services from another provider, I am happy to consult with that provider to coordinate care. Therapy and consultation can complement each other well.
What approaches are used in sessions?
I use a variety of evidence-based developmental approaches in parent consultation, but these are a few that I often find beneficial:
Positive Discipline is a general model for parenting that aims to develop mutually respectful relationships between family members. The method emphasizes the idea that adults can be both kind and firm at the same time, without being punitive or permissive. You can learn more here.
Collaborative Problem Solving is a structured process to help parents whose children exhibit significant behavior problems. The idea that ’children do well if they can’ guides this method and helps parents assess lagging skills and problem areas, plan how to approach the issues in a collaborative way, and build skills to help their children take ownership of problems they are experiencing. You can learn more here.
What is the format of a session?
These 50-minute or 80-minute sessions can be in-person in my office at the Center for Integrative Counseling & Wellness in Hingham, MA or via HIPAA-compliant video chat. Frequency and number of sessions vary between families, but meeting weekly or every other week for 4-6 sessions is typical for many.
Who attends a consultation session?
Anyone who cares for a child is welcome to attend a consultation session- single parents, married parents, co-parenting partners, foster parents, and even extended family members. Some partners who are co-parenting but cannot attend sessions together will alternate who attends each week. Generally, children are not present at consultation sessions, in order to allow transparency about parenting struggles and frustrations. This may also vary depending on particular struggles within your family though.
What is the cost?
50-minute session: $140
80-minute session: $220
Consultation services are not reimbursable by insurance companies.