Welcome to Kids Corner
If this is your first experience with counseling, you may have questions about what to expect when you come for your first visit.
The unknown may make you feel anxious or worried. We at KPA want your counseling experience to be helpful to you, not cause you stress. So, we have provided some information to questions other kids and teens just like you have asked. We hope the answers help you get a better idea of what to expect and help you feel more comfortable when you come to your counseling appointment. If you have a question that you don’t see here, be sure to ask your counselor for the answer when you meet.
Why do I have to go to counseling?
Sometimes your parents, guardian, teacher or guidance counselor thinks that things may not be going as well for you as they could be. They may think that you are experiencing stress, feeling sad, mad, angry, confused or nervous and it’s influencing your choices, grades, mood or behavior, which is not good for you or others around you. Counseling is meant to help you figure out what might be going on to cause your feelings or your behavior. Your counselor is there to help you figure it all out so you can take steps to reduce stress, feel happier, less angry or nervous about the people, events and choices you have to make on a day-to-day basis. Counseling can help you feel less agitated, reduce your fear, help you complain less with relationship issues along with improve your overall personal wellness.
I’m going for some testing. What’s that all about?
Some kids do come for testing. These are not like the tests that you get in school. You can’t fail these tests. Some tests will involve blocks or puzzles, others will ask you questions about what you like and do not like. The tests are designed to help your counselor understand your feelings so they can figure out how best to help you. Other tests help to show why kids are having trouble in certain areas at school so your parents, guardians or teachers can help to make things easier for you. Testing can be fun – as you use objects not normally found in your classroom – plus you get to tell the counselor why you are worrying, having trouble falling asleep, or why you have behavioral problems.
Usually your parent or guardian comes to the first counseling appointment to talk with the therapist who will be testing you. Then you will come to two or three more meetings to complete the testing. These are not like the tests that you get in school. You can’t fail these tests – so you have nothing to worry about.
Who will I see when I get there?
Some of the counselors (they are also called therapists) are psychologists and some are social workers. The psychologists are called doctors. They are different from the doctor that you see when you are sick or need shots. Don’t worry, these doctors do not give medication or shots! At school you may already know or see your school psychologist or social worker. If you do, tell your new counselor at Karner how you feel about seeing your school counselor. They want to know what that has been like for you.
At Karner, your counselor may be a psychologist or a social worker. If you are having the testing, however, that will be done by a psychologist.
Will I be seeing a male or female counselor?
You could see either a male counselor or a female counselor. If you prefer one over the other, please let your parents or guardian know before you make your first visit so they can request a male counselor or a female counselor for you.
Where do I go for the counseling or testing?
You will visit one of our three different offices in Guilderland/Albany, Schodack/East Greenbush and Clifton Park/Saratoga. You will be meeting your counselor in a small office with chairs where you’ll be able to talk with him or her.
What happens when we get there?
Each office has a waiting room where you wait to meet your new counselor. Because it’s your first visit to Karner, your parent or guardian will need to fill out some paperwork. That can take 10 or 15 minutes, but then you will be meeting with your own counselor.
Sometimes there are other kids in the waiting room, sometimes just other adults. Some kids bring a book or a toy to play with while they wait. You can do the same – feel free to bring a favorite book or toy while you wait.
Will I see the counselor by myself?
At your first session, usually, your parents or guardians will be there also. Your counselor may ask if you want to meet alone for part or all of the session. Each counseling session lasts between 45 to 50 minutes and usually seems like it goes by fast. Some kids want an adult to be with them, other kids find it easier to talk to their counselor in private. It is important that you tell everyone which you prefer, and you can change your mind for each session, if you want.
Will the counselor tell my parents/guardian everything that I say?
No. There are certain things that a counselor is required by law to share with your parents, but only certain things. If you are concerned about this, be sure to ask your counselor to explain the things they share with your parents so you can feel comfortable about sharing your thoughts and feelings with your counselor. Your counselor is here to help both you and your parents – but it’s also okay to have some things shared with just you and your counselor.
How long will I be in counseling?
That is a decision that you, your family, and your counselor will make. Often kids come in for a session once a week or once every other week. How long that person stays in counseling depends on how long it takes to meet your goals. That means how long it takes for you to feel better or have the behavior that will make you effective and successful in school, at home and in life in general. Your parents and counselor are interested in your wellness and overall mental health. Sometimes counseling is finished in a few weeks, sometimes it takes longer. The purpose of counseling is to make things better for you and your life. If you come into counseling ready to work with your counselor to make things better, before you know it, you won’t even need them any more!
We promise that at Karner Psychological Group, we will work with you, your parents and/or guardians to make your counseling experience a good one.
We look forward to meeting you and your family! Welcome to KPA!
Links for Kids
Magination Press: special books for children’s special concerns
This site has books for kids, teens, children and parents on such topics as: nightmares, attention deficit disorder, misbehaving, divorce, feeling sad, angry, scared, etc. Although much of the site is set up for your parents to learn about the books and order them, the site also allows you to start reading the book on-line, so that you can see if it is a book you would really like or not.
KidsPsych!: Games that make you Think!
This site has games for kids and children ages 1-5 and 6-9. The games are a lot of fun. Kids, have your parents check this site out with you; they might learn something too – plus have fun too!
KidsHealth for Kids: Answers to all sorts of questions! This site has all sorts of information on staying healthy, how to deal with feelings, difficult situations, personal health … there is even a game section. The information is also given en espanol as well as in English!
Parent Bug – Resources for Parents, Kids and Families! Parent Bug offers news and resources long with an online newsletter, summer camp guide, articles, newsletters and more!