St. Clare’s has a specialist therapy service for children or young person who have experienced sexual abuse and their families.
If an opinion has been provided that the child or young person has given a credible account of sexual abuse, he/she may attend the Therapy Service. This opinion may have been provided by the Assessment Team in St. Clare’s Unit or another designated professional such as a Social Worker employed by Tusla.
The Assessment Team will make recommendations based on the child’s presentation, what is disclosed and what the child’s needs are, and will pass these recommendations on to the appropriate service and thus a referral may be made to the Therapy Service in St. Clare’s Unit.
A combination of therapy can be offered, including individual therapy for the child or young person, parent support, and family therapy. Groups are also provided to young people and parents.
What should we expect when attending St. Clare’s Unit for therapy?
Before the young person begins therapy in St. Clare’s Unit, parent(s)/guardian(s) attend an intake assessment with the clinician who will be working therapeutically with their child. The clinician will review the parent’s concerns, assess the needs of the child/young person and their family, and explain the therapy process to the parents. The clinician will also review, during this intake assessment, if the child/young person’s parents would also benefit from support.
What happens during my child’s first session?
St. Clare’s offers therapy that is child-centred and meets the specific needs of the young person. Therapeutic intervention will address the needs of the young person, possibly in relation to their experience of sexual abuse, but also relating to other difficulties they might be experiencing.
During the first session, the young person will meet with their therapist, another clinician from St. Clare’s Unit who will take notes during the session, and a parent/guardian will also be present. Towards the end of the session, the young person will spend some time meeting with their therapist alone, if they feel comfortable doing so.
In the first appointment, the therapist will talk through their role, the expectations of therapy with the child and identify their needs. The therapy process in St. Clare’s Unit will also be explained to the child.
How long does the first session take?
The first therapy session usually lasts for around 1-1½ hours.
How many times will my child have to come for therapy?
The amount of therapy sessions varies from child to child as it depends on the specific needs and presentation of the young person.
However, there is no limit in St. Clare’s Unit to the number of sessions that can be given to a child, depending on their age. A discussion will be had with the therapist and young person, called contracting, where the length of time the young person will attend therapy will be discussed, and reviewed regularly as the therapy progresses. Any decision to end therapy would be collaboratively discussed between the young person and therapist, unless the young person decides that they do not want to attend the service anymore. In this event, a young person would still be offered an opportunity to attend a closing session with their therapist.
What happens when the therapy is complete?
If therapeutic intervention ends for a young person at St. Clare’s Unit, they are welcome to get back in touch in the future to reengage with the service, depending on their age
What do I tell my child about coming to St. Clare’s Unit for therapy?
This will be explained to parent(s)/guardian(s) in their initial intake assessment with the therapist who will be working with their child.