Frequently asked questions

Do you have a question? If you’re like most parents, you probably have many. Here are some common questions that we hear a lot. (Click on the question to expand the text below). If you do not find the answer to your question, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

CBT is a type of talking therapy that looks at the way in which thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings and behaviour. CBT may be able to help if your child’s worries or problems are taking over their life, resulting in a continuous negative thinking cycle and feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness or anger. These feelings may stop them from doing or enjoying the things they want to do and lead them to give up trying or isolate themselves, with a knock-on effect on the family unit as a whole. Your therapist will support and guide your child to explore and develop an awareness of the connections between their thoughts, feelings and actions which can help to achieve positive long-term changes in their life, and yours. CBT is a fun and practical way of tackling difficulties. In CBT you and your child will work with your therapist to identify and challenge any negative thinking patterns and behaviour which may be causing your child difficulties at home or school, or with family or friends. Together with your therapist, you and your child will be able to find new, more helpful ways of coping with any unpleasant thoughts and feelings, helping to overcome difficulties, do the things you would really like to do and develop the skills to deal effectively with any future challenges. Our treatment approach includes a range of techniques and strategies. This flexibility allows us to offer bespoke interventions, unique to your child or family’s individual needs, developmental stage and particular challenges and circumstances. This wealth of techniques also allows for CBT to be used not only as an intervention to address current issues, but also as a preventative measure to enhance future coping and resilience.
When it becomes too difficult to work through the challenges and transitions we experience throughout our lifetime, we can become anxious, angry, confused, scared or sad. Sometimes these feelings become intense and unmanageable for children, and they struggle to identify and express their thoughts and feelings, tending to communicate through their behaviour instead. If you have noticed a consistent, longer term change in your child’s mood or behaviour, and you seem unable to make a positive difference, it may be time to seek professional guidance to enable your child to explore their feelings and emotions in a safe and supportive environment. Often it is easier for children to discuss their difficulties away from home with someone who is objective, less emotionally involved, and can look at the issues from a different perspective.
Children and adolescents have various stressors in their lives that they may not always be able to navigate alone. They may not understand why they feel the way they do or know how to help themselves. Sometimes they need professional support to understand and address their feelings and emotions. There are many reasons that children can experience difficulties. These may include emotional or environmental stress, developmental disorders, traumatic events, changes in relationships, hormonal fluctuations or biochemical imbalances in the brain. The right balance of neurotransmitters in the brain is vital for physical and emotional wellbeing. The most important ones for pleasure and happiness are serotonin and dopamine, and imbalances in the levels of these chemicals can affect mood, sleep, behaviour, learning, memory and concentration.
Your therapist can provide support, help you and your child to explore and understand the feelings and difficulties you are experiencing and address the changes that need to occur for you to restore your family’s healthy emotional wellbeing, guiding you along your personal path to healing and happiness. Treatment goals include: • Developing coping strategies • Reducing anxiety • Improving family or peer relationships • Developing social skills • Enhancing communication skills • Boosting self-esteem and confidence • Encouraging resilience and a growth mindset • Regulating mood and emotions • Managing stress effectively
Each therapy session is unique to meet each child’s needs and address their specific goals. The therapist will discuss the primary issues and concerns in your child’s life during sessions. Therapy can be short-term, addressing a specific issue, or longer-term, focusing on more complex issues or personal growth. Your child may be asked to undertake certain simple tasks at home as part of their treatment. For therapy to be most effective the child must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. During therapy you can expect: • Compassion, respect and understanding • Perspectives to highlight persistent patterns and negative feelings • Real strategies for enacting positive change • Effective and proven techniques with practical guidance.
Change takes time so be patient and don’t expect immediate success. Praise your child for taking positive steps towards change and for their effort, and remember temporary setbacks are common. It is important that you encourage your child to practice the skills they are developing in sessions and help them to see the things that they are doing well. Although you might find your child’s behaviour difficult, try to remember that they are probably not being deliberately difficult or naughty. Talk to your child to help them to highlight key points of sessions and to help them feel supported, but recognise that there are times when they might not want to talk about it.
Often, when a child is struggling with their emotions, it can be difficult for parents to know how to help them, sometimes leading to feelings of guilt, self-blame, helplessness or frustration. It can even cause parents to doubt their own parenting skills. In some cases it is normal for parents to feel that the problem is within the child and feel resentful, angry or pessimistic about the possibility of change. Sometimes, parents just need a little bit of support and reassurance from someone with a fresh perspective. Sessions with parents will typically focus on teaching positive behaviour management strategies, problem-solving skills to address family or personal difficulties, and alternative understandings about parenting efficacy or the nature of the child’s issues. Parent sessions can explore the parents’ role in maintaining the child’s behaviour and ways in which you can support your child in achieving their treatment goals. Parents can be educated about the treatment rationale, meaning that we can then give a consistent message to children about the value and importance of the skills and strategies they are learning. Continued improvement following completion of treatment may be facilitated by parental involvement as parents are supported to manage their own feelings effectively, model appropriate strategies for the child and reduce self or child blame for difficulties by recognising an external cause. Parent sessions can also improve family relationships by improving communication and reducing conflict.
The length of time a child will attend sessions varies greatly, depending on the nature of the issues, the frequency/consistency that your child attends, and their participation both in and out of sessions. We will establish a schedule based on your child’s specific needs. In some cases, we have had clients who may come in for just a few sessions, where others may require continued support. More sessions may be needed for more complex difficulties. Usually however, most children and families will see significant improvements and gain maximum benefit from between six and twelve sessions. Try to keep in mind that many emotional issues will have developed over a long period of time and it is unrealistic to expect them to be resolved quickly. It is often difficult to determine the amount of sessions that will be needed ahead of time, but ultimately the decision will always be yours. We will discuss your child and family’s needs as treatment progresses and it is possible to space sessions further apart as goals begin to be met. Some children engage in therapy for a period of time and then take a break from therapy knowing that they can return at any point in the future for booster sessions if they feel they need it or if further difficulties arise.
Group therapy provides an opportunity for peer support, and a safe space for discussion, interaction and activities with other children or parents with similar experiences and goals. Group sessions are provided for a maximum of four children or six adults and are an affordable, rewarding and effective way of achieving therapy aims, whilst the group atmosphere provides the comfort of knowing that you or your child are not alone. ***In order to participate in group sessions, each member must agree to keep group discussions confidential.***
Confidentiality is a big word for a young child to understand so we use age-appropriate language to explain our obligation and commitment to privacy. Parents/carers will also be given a copy of our confidentiality policy fully explaining our privacy practices. All records kept by Kids Dot Calm are for documentation and personal review only and will never be shared with anyone unless permission has been granted to do so, or legally required. At times, collaboration with other professionals may be necessary in order to provide the best treatment, and it is standard practice to share only the relevant information with your written consent. There are certain situations in which confidentiality must be broken as follows: • In any case of suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. If a child discloses something that indicates the possibility of abuse, neglect or a situation in which the child or someone else could be harmed, the therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately. • If a client intends to harm him/herself. • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. • If we are legally required to do so. We are bound by legal and ethical obligations to protect your privacy and rights as clients, and we are committed to upholding the highest level of confidentiality with your records and information. For reasons of safety, Lake House is protected by CCTV.
Sometimes when working with children, confidentiality can become complex as parents are keen to know what is happening and what the child is expressing during therapy sessions. We ask for your understanding in this situation, as it is our responsibility to protect the rights and privacy of the child that we are working with, which requires that some specifics of the sessions cannot be discussed with the parents/carers. This promotes freedom of expression for the child and builds trust between the child and therapist. Please be reassured that you will be informed immediately if we have any concerns about your child’s safety. This does not mean that you will be ill-informed or left out of the process. We believe that you know your child best, and consider that working in partnership with you is of paramount importance to enable your child to get the most out of their sessions. Understandably, you will want information and feedback regarding your child as therapy progresses. We are free to discuss the focus of your child’s sessions, broad themes, general areas for concern, and how you feel that your child is engaging and progressing with their therapy. We can also make suggestions and recommendations where appropriate. We will usually ask that you join your child and therapist for a group discussion about your child’s progress at home, and future therapy needs every 6 sessions.
No. We aim to improve the situation and develop skills and strategies to progress without medication. Some cases include a medical component and medication is a valuable resource. During treatment we can help you to determine whether this may be an appropriate course of action and would then recommend that you visit your G.P.
No. We do not provide court ordered treatment, or get involved with court matters on any level. We do not make recommendations to the courts, or to families regarding custody or court matters.
Simply contact Kids Dot Calm for an initial consultation. This will be a 30-45 minute appointment during which we will gather information about your child and family’s situation, background and individual requirements. We will then decide together if our services are appropriate for your needs. If you decide to progress, we will identify your hopes and goals for treatment. Every effort is made to schedule appointments with new clients as soon as possible. Appointments are available after school and during school holidays to help to meet the needs of our young clients and working parents. Typically, clients schedule appointments weekly.
We are located in Office 4, Lake House, Lake Place off Market Street in Hoylake.
Office hours vary to accommodate the needs of clients looking for appointments outside school hours. We offer evening appointments, and we often run our group sessions on a Saturday.
This depends on the type of session that you book and the number of sessions booked. We offer discounts for block bookings.

Initial consultation:
Your first visit will usually be a 30 minute appointment during which we will gather information about your child’s background, symptoms and difficulties. We will discuss what you hope to achieve through treatment, decide upon a treatment approach and set therapy goals. The cost of the initial consultation is free.

Individual session:
The cost for a 50-minute session is £50.
Younger children, or children who may struggle to focus can receive 30-minute play-based sessions at a cost of £40.
We also provide a limited number of reduced-fee slots within our case load (e.g. for families on a low income) If you feel that you may qualify for one of these slots, please inform your therapist before treatment commences.

Group sessions:
We offer group sessions for anxiety, anger management, self-esteem and positivity or a general course covering a range of topics to restore, enhance and maintain positive emotional health and wellbeing. Group sessions are provided for a maximum of four children at a time at a cost of £30 per hour per child. These sessions will be run according to demand and there may be a waiting list.
Group sessions for siblings of children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder: We also offer group sessions for siblings of children who have received a diagnosis of ASD to help them to make sense of their situation, better understand their brother or sister and their unique strengths and differences, and learn about ways in which they can support their sibling to cope with difficulties. These sessions help to enhance empathy and understanding, and it can also help children to know that others are in a similar situation and to share their experiences, knowing that they are not alone. The cost of these small group sessions is £30 per hour.

Parent coaching:
Private or group parent sessions can be booked separately for advice and support with parenting issues such as behaviour management, supporting your child with emotional issues such as low self-esteem, stress and anxiety, low mood and negativity, or anger, improving parent-child relationships and dealing with an additional needs diagnosis. The cost of these sessions is £30 per hour.

Family sessions:
Family sessions consist of two or more members of the family working through relationship issues and being assisted to find solutions to their problems. This is usually achieved by exploring communication patterns and roles within families.
Our goal is to provide emotional support, education and guidance for a variety of issues and challenges experienced by families, in order to strengthen relationships and improve communication skills.
As facilitators and guides, we can use observation of interactions, therapeutic discussion and family activities to assist families to shift negative patterns, generate greater understanding and respect for each other, and address issues that are affecting their family dynamic.
Treatment focuses on encouraging reflection upon patterns, emotions and relationships within the family. It provides a valuable opportunity for each family member to better understand and appreciate the perspective of other members, and for giving a voice to anyone who may otherwise go unheard.

Common family goals include:
More effective and meaningful communication
Conflict resolution
Development of problem-solving strategies
A more positive family environment
Identification of future challenges and strategies to manage these effectively.

Family sessions are 45 minutes long and the cost is £40. You may also block-book 3 sessions at a cost of £100.

For schools:
We provide one to one or small group therapy sessions for children within their school environment. We also provide whole class ‘Autism Awareness’ sessions to encourage awareness of the nature of the condition, and the unique way in which children may perceive the world and the strengths and difficulties they may experience. These sessions are designed to increase understanding and change attitudes, as myths, misconceptions and stereotypes mean that many autistic people feel socially isolated (National Autistic Society, 2018). Understanding the ways in which the condition can impact upon an individual’s behaviour, feelings, learning, communication, friendships and relationships, family life and health can help to minimize the challenges faced by children with an autism diagnosis.
Please call or email to discuss your school’s individual needs, and to discuss costs.
All payments must be received prior to sessions. We accept payment by cash or bank transfer.
We request that you give at least 24 hours notice if you will not be able to keep your appointment so that we can offer the time to another client. The office has voicemail so you can cancel your appointment via voicemail if necessary. There is no charge for any session cancelled 24 or more hours prior to the appointment time, and pre-paid sessions can be carried over to another time, however sessions cancelled with less than 24 hours notice or ‘no-shows’ will be charged at the full rate. If you are late to your session, unfortunately we will still have to end the session at the scheduled time out of respect for clients who have appointments.