Five Steps to Helping Your Child :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Five Steps to Helping your Child

Welcome to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Services. We are pleased to be a part of your child’s growth and well-being. We hope this guide will help to explain more about our procedures and your child’s treatment.

Step One:  The First Appointment

At your first visit to our office please come at least 45 minutes before your scheduled appointment. This will allow time to complete necessary paperwork and provide information about your child prior to seeing the mental health clinician. Please bring the child’s insurance or medical card, the child’s social security number, and any past behavioral health treatment records to the first appointment. All client fees, including co-pay or co-insurance, are due at the time of service. Another adult should come with you to this appointment if you are bringing children who require supervision

First you will meet with a qualified mental health clinician. You will be asked many questions about your child’s and your family’s social and medical history. This includes such things as growth and development, health, educational, psychiatric, legal, cultural, ethnic, and spiritual background, and history of drug use. Very special attention will be given to the problem that brings you and your child to counseling. This will be the main focus of your child’s treatment.

Usually, the same person who takes the history will meet briefly with the child alone.  This meeting is part of the complete assessment. You will be given your next appointment at the end of this first session.

Some rules to follow during your child’s treatment are:

  • No food or beverages are allowed in the waiting room. Please speak with your mental health clinician if this causes a health problem for your child.
  • It is important to have a parent or adult present with your child at all times. You should wait with your child until your therapist is ready to see him or her, and then stay in our waiting room until the session is over and the therapist brings your child back to you.  

Step Two:  Treatment Planning

You and your child’s therapist will work together to plan the treatment that your child or teen needs. Your therapist may also point out the possible good results if treatment is followed, as well as the possible bad results if it is not. This plan will be reviewed from time to time during your child’s treatment.  We want to make sure the plan is working and make any needed changes. Since the treatment plan is created just for your child, typically you will both be asked to sign it. This shows that you understand and agree with the treatment plan.

Step Three:  Counseling is a Process

Because you are the greatest influence on your child, it is important that you are involved in all phases of your child’s treatment. We may ask you to sign releases of information. This is so that others on the counseling team can all work together on your child’s care.

At first we may see your child once a week, depending on your child’s needs. It is very important to keep all appointments and to always be on time. We cannot make progress in your child’s treatment if these sessions are missed. If you feel you cannot commit to counseling at this time, please tell us. You may need to come back when the time is better for you to deal with your child’s problem.

If you must cancel an appointment, you must do so at least 24 hours before the scheduled time by calling the office where your child is scheduled to be seen. If you or your child is ill or is contagious, please call us to reschedule the appointment.

Step Four:  Special Services

You and your therapist may decide that talking with one or more other specialists would help.

Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Your therapist may refer your child to this service. These interviews are done by therapists who are certified and licensed in both the mental health and chemical abuse fields. They will work with you and help your child to get the treatment that is needed.

Community Support Program
Some children benefit from having services at home, at school, or at other places in the community. Services may include: linking you to community resources, other kinds of treatment and support, coordinating your treatment providers, and crisis intervention.

Family Support Program
If your child has been sexually abused, you or your therapist may refer your child to this special team.  They will assess your child and provide treatment. If your child is at risk or has sexually offended others, they will assess and determine the treatment your child needs.

Partnership-In-Schools Program
The Partnership-In-Schools program provides mental health services and treatment at certain Columbus middle schools. These schools have been chosen to provide treatment for students with ED (Emotional Disturbance). Treatment takes place in the schools and includes one-on-one and group counseling. There is also community support for families in their homes.

Your therapist may refer your child to one of our psychiatrists. The doctor will work with your therapist to decide if medication may be needed to treat your child’s problem or for other purposes.

Your therapist may refer your child to one of our psychologists. The doctor may assess your child’s thinking and learning status, and may determine if he or she is struggling with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Your child’s emotional make-up, personality and thought processes might  also be assessed depending on the question at hand.

Step Five:  Finishing Treatment

Most treatment ends when your child has met their treatment goals. But if you do not show for two appointments in a row or continue to miss appointments, we will discuss whether treatment should continue at this time. If we have not heard from you within 30 days, we will assume that you are ending current services. If you decide later to start treatment again, you may call us at (614) 355-8080 to get an appointment.   

If your child has met all of the treatment goals and a new problem comes up (or if the old problem comes back), please call us at (614) 355-8080 to get an appointment. You can ask for a therapist that you have worked with before.

We are always happy to help you and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to working with you and your child!

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000