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To be charged for this?

(14 Posts)
honeybuffe Mon 02-May-16 21:36:16

I genuinely am not sure so thought I'd ask, am nervous as normally lurk but here goes.

My ds aged 7 is an anxious child so we decided to find a counsellor who specialises in this to get him help now, so that he learns the tools to deal with this from a young age in the hope that as he gets older it will abate to a degree and if not then he'll having coping mechanisms. The counsellor asked to meet first and the charge was €80. She explained that it would be €70 thereafter and after 3 sessions she would meet to discuss.

As my dh works away, we tried to get dates to work around his work and my dc school and sports schedules etc and couldn't do a meet with the 3 of us so we decided that I would meet her. By this stage he had 5 sessions. Now here is my AIBU, I'm not sure if it's a little unfair that I was charged the full amount for a session to basically discuss what the previous €430 had been spent on? I appreciate that her time is effectively money but I don't have any other way to find out how he is doing/what he is doing. She doesn't discuss anything when his session is finished so my first discussion about the work she was doing was that one and was €70.

We don't have health insurance so the €500 to date is all out of our own pocket which is a massive amount to us, we decided to do this as there are mental health issues on both sides of our family and we thought it best to seek expert help as young as possible. Maybe it is unreasonable of me to feel a bit taken advantage of, as it seems harsh that the only way to find out about what you've been paying for is to pay more but I'm totally prepared to be told that this is the norm and I am unreasonable, would just appreciate knowing as its bugging me a little.

Osolea Mon 02-May-16 21:40:24

I think it's fair enough to charge, you are taking the counsellors time, which doesn't come for free, and you knew that discussion time wasn't included in the actual therapy sessions when you signed up for them.

PPie10 Mon 02-May-16 21:42:22

If you knew that her time wouldn't include the discussion then Yabu. When do you think she should have provided feedback except for booking another session?

CaptainCorellisBanjo Mon 02-May-16 21:46:26

YANBU. Ask the person if you could cut short the session by a few minutes to discuss feedback and then if a full session to discuss is merited then you shall feel comfortable paying it.

honeybuffe Mon 02-May-16 21:52:19

Ok, I do appreciate that I am taking her time and she should be paid for that, that true and fair enough. I do think it didn't warrant a full session, it felt like there was a lot of repetition and discussing of the programme rather than what's been done in the sessions to date so perhaps a reduced session would be a good compromise. Thanks

I'm thinking about it more and I think this has probably been made more irksome by other niggles I have about her rather than just this issue so probably just need to get over it.

CaptainCorellisBanjo Mon 02-May-16 22:01:38

Yes, that sounds like a good idea. My son is younger but having speech therapy. The therapist gives me brief feedback at the end of each session - flags up any concerns and then I am happy to pay for the in depth feedback / assessment we do every few months. I think it's odd that your person wouldn't give any at all at the end of a session.
Good luck!

honeybuffe Mon 02-May-16 22:34:12

I think that's part of it, it feels like she won't give any information at all except in a separate paid session. She generally starts late and the sessions aren't always the same length so I suppose It seems like she can be flexible with her time, I just wish she could give me a minute or two to indicate how it went, especially as it's a 3 hr round trip in car and bus each time, it's hard walking away not having any clue if it went well or not! My ds standard answer is "good" so I'm happy about that but just wish I knew a little bit week to week. I don't expect her to take excess time as I know it could cost her just a v quick heads up.

CaptainCorellisBanjo Mon 02-May-16 22:55:58

What???! That sounds terrible. That is so completely unprofessional. Especially when so much time, effort and expense is involved in each session. It would be worth considering changing therapist. I find it bizarre that someone would spend an hour in the company of your child and not give you any feedback and then charge you for the privilege. It's so hard to know sometimes.

AdjustableWench Mon 02-May-16 23:42:32

I think it's normal to pay for a session where the therapist updates you on the progress of your child's therapy. A couple of minutes at the end isn't really all that helpful - the therapist needs to be able to process the session and then identify general themes, and also offer some suggestions about what will happen next in the therapy, which is best discussed in a longer session. My daughter was in therapy for quite a long time, and every fifth session was an update session.

What seems more problematic is starting late and having sessions of different lengths. This is a failure to maintain the therapeutic frame, and the frame is important, even to a child. I think you should talk to the therapist about this.

honeybuffe Tue 03-May-16 00:44:44

Thanks. It's good to know that it is protocol to pay for an update session.

I agree re the times issue and will need to think about how to discuss it with her.

AdjustableWench Tue 03-May-16 00:58:20

To be honest, she should be very clear with you about what is involved: how often the update sessions will be, how long each session will be, fees for sessions, etc. It shouldn't be something you have to figure out along the way! So if I were in your shoes I'd ask her to outline the way she structures her work, and the fees involved. Apart from anything else, you need to be able to budget!

I hope your son finds the therapy useful. My daughter did.

DowntonIsMyHome Tue 03-May-16 01:06:25

my son had counselling via school; the counsellor was very clear that I'd not know the details of what was discussed at all, unless she needed to report something of a safeguarding nature.

I'm amazed that your son's counsellor is prepared to break his confidentiality to update you. If he wanted you to know, he'd tell you, surely? it's his safe space to chat about his worries - he may not feel quite so open if he knows Mum and Dad will find out what he's been saying every so often?

RonaldMcDonald Tue 03-May-16 01:19:26

Agree with the last poster. Surprised the therapist spoke at length regarding your child's sessions.
Unless engaging with you personally or explaining/ psychoeducating around a problem area being worked upon.
A therapeutic hour is 50 mins if possible. Sometimes it is necessary for this to be reduced due to attention span subject matter stressors etc. Rarely sessions overrun - it does happen. I hope that explains the timing a little?
I note you are unhappy with the therapist? Is your child?

honeybuffe Tue 03-May-16 10:12:22

No I don't think he is unhappy, as I said above he always says it was "good" and I never push him to discuss what was said for exactly the reasons you say, his sense of privacy etc. For that reason alone I wanted to ask if I was BU, as my niggle with her over the paid parent session was something I wasn't sure if it was the norm or not. I'm glad to hear it is to be honest as it doesn't bother me now.

The gripes with timings etc are mine and not something I would ever let Ds sense as I want him to enjoy meeting her and wouldn't let him feel I was in any disagreement with her with regard to anything.

I was always told that I would be updated after 3 sessions. She doesn't discuss everything he says but told us she would tell us anything she did regard to be a safety concern. The meeting is about his anxiety programme and how it works, his worksheets, relaxation techniques etc and things to do at home so I think he still feels a sense of confidentiality with her. She has told me some of his more specific concerns or anxieties but I think that is to enable us to work on those at home and help him better. Overall I do think the sessions are helping him and I'm hopeful that in dealing with things now it will help him in his future.

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