Counseling is available to children and adolescents, ages 3-17, who have been victims and/or witnesses of relationship violence (physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse) or sexual assault on a case by case basis.
Counseling services help build self-esteem, teach new coping skills, and provide a safe environment to process traumatic experiences. Counseling involves building trust by going at the child's pace, letting the child choose what to say and when, and accepting the child and his or her perception of the world.
To seek services for your child or adolescent:
1. Call DCFOF 940.387.5131 to schedule an intake appointment. When attending the intake, bring in any applicable divorce decrees/temporary orders from the court that outlines parent/guardian ability to consent for counseling services for child.
2. Parent/guardian can begin attending parent orientation as soon as they have completed an intake. Parent/guardian is required to attend a minimum of 4 parent orientation groups in order for the child to receive counseling. At the parent orientation, parents will receive information about the effects of relationship violence/sexual assault on children, learn specific skills and be supported by other parents who may be experiencing similar difficulties.
3. Your parent orientation group counselor will be available for any questions and will provide information on how to best meet the needs of your individual child.
Why are parents asked to attend orientation?
We have found that providing support and specific skills to parents is often more effective than individual counseling for the child.
Potential reasons for this include:
- Because parents know their children best, and spend the most time with them, they are most able to help their children long-term.
- In the parent support group you will learn skills to strengthen and enhance your relationship with your child.
- Because a child’s relationship with their parents is typically the strongest relationship in their lives, positive changes within that relationship can be the most beneficial for the child.
- In the parent support group, you will learn the same skills that professional child counselors learn for working with children.
- In group, parents can receive support and help from other parents who may be experiencing similar difficulties.
Child & Adolescent Counseling Services Include:
- Play therapy/Activity therapy - helping children express themselves through toys and activities.
- Adolescent Counseling - helping adolescents express themselves through talk or activities.
- Group Counseling - in which children join with other children or siblings to explore related issues (groups may be activity, talk to play-therapy based).
- Family Counseling - in a case by case basis, exploring issues related to relationship between parent/guardian.
- Parent Consultations - in which caregivers discuss their child's progress and needs, learn new parenting skills and receive support and resources, usually once a month throughout their child's counseling process.