As 2024 begins, our practice has been taking time to reflect on our work, celebrate successes, and discuss ideas for the year ahead. We are passionate about a new initiative that we will be starting to implement and wanted to share the news with you as soon as possible! Here is our new year’s resolution: offering more convenient session times during the day to help you and your families prioritize your mental health.
Let’s start with why we are launching this initiative. Well, it is first and foremost motivated by a desire to better meet the needs of our clients. We strongly believe that making time for mental health during the day can have a positive impact on individuals overall well being. While this could look different for each client, some common benefits could be improved mood during your day and increased focus during sessions which would contribute to a more impactful therapeutic experience.
In reflecting on when therapy sessions are usually offered, they typically occur after work or school hours. By adhering to this norm, both children and adults often come to therapy already fatigued from the demands of their day. While our society has made strides in acknowledging the importance of mental health, with the current approach in place, many individuals are more or less still “carving out” time for mental health services in between their hectic schedules at the end of the day instead of making this a priority. It has us contemplating why this has become the standard practice, especially when most other professions schedule client appointments during daytime hours.
If you are reading this, you may be thinking to yourself that while this sounds good in theory, how will this be put into practice? We are so glad that you asked and this is just another example of why we appreciate the collaboration that exists between our therapists and clients. Like any significant change that occurs, we understand that this will take time, patience, commitment, and of course, a creative and open discussion(s). Starting in January, our therapists’ new year’s resolution will be put into place, which is beginning to offer as many daytime session times as their schedules will allow, with the goal of helping clients prioritize their mental health. At the same time, we ask that our adult clients take the time to re-evaluate their current schedules and see if they can find optimal times for therapy sessions during the day. While you may have certain workdays that are more flexible, early morning sessions prior to work or lunchtime appointments are all options you may want to consider.
When thinking about the needs of our child and teen clients, we acknowledge that coordinating a daytime session for them can bring about its own unique set of challenges. With a number of our therapists having experience working in the schools, we understand the importance of keeping a child’s day consistent and minimizing disruption while simultaneously working together with administrators, teachers, and specialists to coordinate instruction and activities that support academic, social, and emotional development. As we are in the business of promoting mental health, we believe communication with everyone who is part of the child’s “team,” is key to helping this initiative be successful. Parents may wish to talk with school staff about the reasoning behind the desire for their child or teen to switch to daytime sessions. The ultimate goal would be to ensure the least disruption possible when scheduling session times and working closely with the school team on when this could be possible would be an ideal situation. Also, of course, switching to daytime sessions does involve coordinating with parents schedules to make this happen. Another option that parents may want to reflect on is your child participating in a teletherapy or in-person session before the school day starts.
We want to emphasize that while we encourage you to consider this initiative of daytime sessions, there is no obligation to change your current session time that you have with your therapist or your child’s therapist, if this ultimately works best for both of your schedules. As part of this process, we as therapists are also working to prioritize our own well being so that we can be most effective in our work with you, our clients. We look forward to partnering with you and continuing to discuss this initiative that we believe is a very powerful new year’s resolution. Thank you for being on this journey with us as we work to continue finding ways to advocate for increased access to mental health support and for striving to have our sessions be as helpful to you as possible. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-942-9745 for more information.
Liz Bresnahan, Ed.S., NCSP
Licensed School Psychologist
Therapist at Think Happy Live Healthy