When a family comes into my practice it is usually the uncomfortable; disruptive; destructive or just plain disquieting behaviors of the child that brings them into my office. The goal of the therapy is to diminish the negative behaviors and help the child have more meaningful and positive relationships. This also involves the parent becoming experienced by the child as a trusting 'safe base' at all times. Initial sessions involve a comprehensive assessment and getting to know eachother.
Firstly, it allows us (therapist and parent) to understand how your child's strengths and deficits have been formed during a time line of physiological and emotional development. Next, we can get a sense of the environment and circumstances of your child's past caretaking relationships and any past traumas influencing the present. We can learn about the ways your child survived and coped during transitions and during times of trauma (often alone) - their self-soothing/regulatory strategies - which will tell us about the ways your child manages stress and distress now (with you, in your family) I find that when parents begin to describe and understand more about their child's known past trauma and the strength of surviing, it allows the parent to open to feelings of compassion for their child, rather than focusing so much on the negative attention getting behavior.