Many children and teens have problems that affect how they feel, act, or learn. Therapy is a type of treatment for these problems. It is a way to get help for your child. In therapy, kids talk and learn how to work out their problems. Going to therapy helps them cope better, communicate better, and do better. What Problems Do Therapists Help With? Therapists are trained to help with all kinds of problems. Why Do Kids and Teens Need Therapy? Kids and teens need therapy when they have problems they can’t cope with alone. Or they need help when problems affect how well they do, feel, or act. If things don’t get better on their own, kids may need therapy so things can improve. Sometimes, entire families need support while trying to communicate, learn, and create boundaries. How Does Therapy Work? In therapy, kids learn by doing. With younger kids, this means working with the whole family, drawing, playing, and talking. For older kids and teens, therapists share activities and ideas that focus on learning the skills they need.

Back to School Dinner Dishes - Chicago Academy of NutritionThey talk through feelings and solve problems. Therapists give praise and support as kids learn. They help kids believe in themselves and find their strengths. Therapy builds helpful thinking patterns and healthy behavioral habits. A therapist might meet with the child and parent together or meet with the child alone. It depends on the child’s age. A therapist might also meet with a parent to give tips and ideas for how to help their child at home. What Happens in Therapy? At first, the therapist will meet with you and your child to talk. They will ask questions and listen. This helps them learn more about your child and about the problem. The therapist will tell you how they can help. After that, your child will go to more therapy visits. Talk. Talking is a healthy way to express feelings. When kids put feelings into words instead of actions, they can act their best. When someone listens and knows how they feel, kids are more ready to learn. Do activities. Therapists use activities to teach about feelings and coping skills.

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They may have kids draw or play as a way to learn. They may teach mindfulness and calm breathing as a way to lower stress. Practice new skills. Therapists help kids practice what they learn. They might play games where kids need to wait their turn, use self-control, be patient, follow directions, listen, share, try again, or deal with losing. Solve problems. With older kids and teens, therapists ask how problems affect them at home, at school. They talk over how to solve these problems. How Long Do Kids Do Therapy? How long therapy lasts depends on the goals you and your child’s therapist have. Most of the time, a therapist will want to meet with your child once a week for a few months. How Can Parents Help? You can do things to help your child get the most from therapy. Find a therapist you and your child feel comfortable with. Your child’s health care team can help you find someone. Take your child to all the appointments. Change takes time. It takes many therapy visits for your child to learn new skills and keep them up. Meet with your child’s therapist. Ask what to do when your child shows problems at home. Ask how to help your child do well. Spend time with your child. Play, cook, read, or laugh together. Do this every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Parent with patience and warmth. Use kind words, even when you need to correct your child. Show love. Give praise when your child is doing well or trying hard.

Now 28 and living near Dallas, Erin still gets phone calls and letters a couple of times a year ordering her to pay up. “When I get that phone call, it’s still so raw. I’m shaking,” Erin said. Yet for some people who have been raped, the bills keep coming, despite this long-standing federal prohibition and laws in many states that provide additional financial protections. There is wide variation in how states meet their financial obligations to cover the medical forensic exams, sometimes called rape kits, that collect evidence of the crime. Many states tap funds they receive under the federal Victims of Crime Act. Others use money from law enforcement or prosecutors’ budgets or other designated options. What services are covered as part of the rape exam can vary by state as well. Federal rules require that victims be interviewed and examined for physical trauma, penetration or force, and that evidence be collected and evaluated.

But many states include additional services without charging victims, including testing and treatment for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Some may cover treatment for injuries that victims receive during the assault or for counseling. Having financial protections for rape victims on the books, however, doesn’t necessarily translate to seamless, no-cost services on the ground. For instance, New York requires that rape victims receive some services at no charge beyond the federal requirements, including emergency contraception and treatment for STDs, said Christopher Bromson, executive director of the Crime Victims Treatment Center in New York. 3,000. In some cases, the hospitals referred the individuals to bill collectors who dunned them for the payments. Afterward, the Healthcare Assn. of New York State, a nonprofit group that advocates for better health services, teamed up with the state Department of Health and others to present four webinars for hospital personnel to explain their legal responsibilities. Karen Roach, the association’s senior director of regulatory affairs and rural health, said the billing problem in New York doesn’t appear widespread. “Some of these issues arose from greater automation of the billing process,” she said.

Working with an advocacy group, Erin eventually got the hospital to stop billing her. 131.68 bill has been bundled with other debts and resold to different collectors several times, she said. She contacted Kaiser Health News and NPR through the “Bill of the Month” series, which explores exorbitant or baffling medical bills. When she tells a debt collector that the bill they’re calling about is for services related to rape, “They say, ‘Oh, we’ll fix it,’ but they don’t,” Erin said. “They just sell it again and it just becomes someone else’s problem. Despite state and federal laws, many people who were raped wind up paying for some medical services out of pocket, even if they have insurance. 948 out of pocket for prescription drugs and hospital inpatient or outpatient services during the first 30 days after the assault. That amount represented 14% of total costs, the study found. Some rape victims don’t want to use their insurance in any case, because they are worried about privacy or safety issues if family members or others find out, advocates said. The Violence Against Women Act, often referred to as VAWA, is up for reauthorization this year. It’s not clear whether a new bill would address these payment issues. If states don’t certify that they shoulder the cost of rape exams and don’t require victims to participate in the criminal justice system, their funds can be frozen. The Department of Justice declined to comment on enforcement of those VAWA provisions. Some advocates would like to see the federal definition of what must be included in a no-cost medical forensic exam broadened to such services as testing and medication for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Such a move would level the playing field for rape victims across the country, they say.

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