Carolyne Jones (behavioural psychologist): When a psychologist meets with a new client, whether it’s a primary school child or a toddler coming in with their family, they will conduct an assessment, so get a complete picture of what’s happening, what the parents’ and the child’s concerns are, things that they’ve tried in the past. What’s worked, what hasn’t, things that they think would be worthwhile exploring. And then we will develop a plan with the family, and that’s really important that we work together with the family because the changes that we make we want them to be able to be maintained over time.
Parents are pivotal in the assessment process when we’re gathering information about the problem that they’ve raised. Parents are the experts on their child and they can give us some really valuable information about the difficulties experienced at home, feedback that they have received from the school etc.
So, we rely on parents to be involved in the process of receiving services from a psychologist because they are our connection in the real world. They are with the child at home. They are with the child at school and can be really useful in terms of seeing how the strategies an actually take place in the child’s real life. They can give us feedback on what’s working, when the child’s trying to use a particular strategy or technique that we’ve practiced in the session and they can make changes on the run, see what’s working and what’s not, and make sure that the skill is used not only in the initial situation we were looking at, but then using the strategy in a variety of situations with different people in different places at different times.