Child & Family Counseling
The Center for Family Safety and Healing offers a range of office and community-based counseling services to children and their families through Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health Services. Specialty trained therapists provide interventions aimed at reducing or preventing trauma symptoms that occur as a result of physical or sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence or other family stressors that interfere with a child’s safety and healthy development. After a thorough assessment, an individualized treatment plan is developed.
To schedule an intake appointment for your child's first counseling session, contact the Family Support Program's Intake Coordinator directly at (614) 722-8212.
If you have additional questions and/or concerns about follow-up counseling, please contact one of the available social workers by calling (614) 722-8210.
- My child seems fine. There have been no changes in her/his behavior. Why does she/he need counseling?
Children deal with difficult experiences in a variety of ways. Your child's reaction to being a victim of abuse is unique to her/him. Sometimes when children seem fine, they may still have questions or distressing thoughts about what occurred. Counseling can help to give your child and you some tools to deal with what has happened.
- I just want her/him to forget this ever happened and for our family to move forward. Will counseling cause my child to keep thinking about her/his abuse and create more problems?
It is natural to wish that abuse never happened and to want life to go back to the way things were. We do not know how much of what your child has experienced will be remembered. What we do know is that we cannot erase the past or change what has already occurred. We believe it is important for your child to have the opportunity to talk about his/her experiences through play therapy, group therapy and/or traditional talk therapy. A therapist will never force a child to talk about what has happened, however, we often find that addressing what has occurred in a therapy setting is many times the quickest path to wellness.
- My child says he/she does not want to talk about what happened anymore and does not want to go to counseling. Do I still need him/her go to counseling?
When abuse (especially sexual abuse) occurs, there is often a lot of secrecy that surrounds the act. This same secrecy about abuse makes it hard for children to disclose and talk about it openly. It also increases the chances that they may hold on to thoughts and feelings about themselves that are not healthy, which may negatively impact their ability to function in some areas of their lives. In addition to your support, counseling provides another way they can talk about what has happened to them.
- I do not have the money or health insurance to pay for my child's counseling. What can I do about this?
There are some individual and group-counseling programs that are grant funded in our Family Support Program (FSP) and you may not have any out-of-pocket expenses. You may also be eligible for reimbursement of expenses through the Ohio Attorney General Crime Victim Services.
- I am a single parent and my son/daughter has been referred to counseling services. It is difficult to take time off from work and I do not want my child to miss time from school. Will a therapist be able to work with my schedule?
Every therapist is different. However, many will have some flexibility in their schedules to try to accommodate you. We firmly believe that investing time in counseling now can help your child deal with the thoughts and feelings that often occur with victims of abuse. Our therapist can help him/her improve their ability to deal with current circumstances and other difficult situations, which may occur later in life. Many times, abuse does not leave lasting physical scars. Therefore, people, including the children, are tempted to think that further treatment is unnecessary. It is important to help make sure your child is healing mentally and emotionally from what has happened to him/her. A trained therapist can be invaluable in this process. Your support and active participation will help with the success of treatment. Often, the counselor is able to estimate how long the treatment might last and discuss any concerns.
- I feel I know my child better than anyone and I am not sure how a therapist will help. What will the therapist offer?
It is not a therapist's job to take over any of your responsibilities as a parent. Parents can often be blindsided by their child's abuse. Sometimes outside professional support and expertise can help the whole family heal from this experience in a healthier manner. Therapy offers an added safety net for your child and family to help ensure that you all will have the tools to cope with this experience. We know that the most important person in your child's life at this time is you. Your belief in your child, willingness to protect him/her and love for him/her is irreplaceable. Counseling is meant as a support that will enhance what you are already seeking to provide to your child.
- Before the abuse happened, my child had some behavioral problems and is in counseling. I feel the current counseling may not be helping, so how will this be different?
Counseling for sexual and/or physical abuse is meant to address issues and help your child and family heal from that experience. The counseling for sexual and/or physical abuse is a different type of counseling than the counseling your child has had in the past to address their general behavioral concerns. Your child may need continued therapeutic interventions to address other mental health and/or behavioral issues. It will be important to discuss this concern with the treatment team that is providing the counseling for the sexual and/or physical abuse.
- I am struggling to believe my child's disclosure of abuse. My child has lied about other things, so how do I know that he/she is not lying about this too?
Other parents have struggled with believing their child's disclosure of abuse. It may be especially difficult to believe your child when the person they are accusing is someone you have trusted. What we know is that the overwhelming majority of children do not lie about their victimization history. A counseling environment provides a safe place for your child and you to express what you think and feel without judgment. A skilled therapist, who has expertise addressing abuse issues, will help you to work through your concerns.