Your child may feel anxiety about visiting the doctor without you by their side. At this age you can explain a little more about each visit. Reassure your child everyone at the office, to include Dr. Gutierrez, is nice and wants to help them feel better. The day before the appointment, have them select their favorite books or electronic device (don't forget the headset), so they have something to occupy their time while waiting.
At this age, it is difficult for your child to understand why they need to visit a doctor, let alone a psychologist. Reassure them Dr. Gutierrez is nice and will not hurt them. If there is a toy or blanket that makes your child feel safe, bring that to the appointments.
Children, adolescents, teens and even adults don’t necessarily like going to the doctor, which is normal. However, by providing a general explanation of what your child can expect during their visit with Dr. Gutierrez, they may experience less stress and anxiety about going. For example, explain when you or another family member does not feel well, you go see a caring doctor who wants to help them feel better. That is Dr. Gutierrez's goal as well.
Inform them you will be visiting Dr. Gutierrez’s office a total of three times. During the first visit, both of you will talk to the doctor. At the second visit, there will be various testing. This could include talking with the doctor and analytical testing, which involves listening skills and also problem solving – reading, writing, math (based on your child's age).
At the third and final visit, the doctor will explain what will make them feel better. It is important to reassure your child the visits will not hurt and there will be no shots or needles.
At the doctor’s office, children will need to be on their best behavior and patiently wait, as wait time could be anywhere from two (2) to four (4) hours. Bring books to read, coloring books, electronic devices (make sure to bring a headset, which is required for all audio/videos) or a couple of their favorite things to help occupy their wait time. Our office does not have books or toys in the waiting room. There is a television in the waiting room which plays various kids shows, however, over time they may lose interest and want to do something else.
It is important to have your “tween”/teen feel like they are a part of the process when visiting a mental health professional. Have more in-depth discussions about what they can expect and encourage questions and dialogue between you and your teen, as well as the doctor. At this age, privacy is important. Let them know you respect their privacy and they can have confidential discussions with Dr. Gutierrez.
At this age, children may have more anxiety visiting a doctor. Help ease this anxiety by talking to your child a week in advance about the upcoming visits. This allows them time to process everything and ask questions about why they are going to the doctor. In addition, they can prepare what they would like to bring to the office, whether that is an electronic device (don't forget the headset) or book.
Dr. Charles E. Gutierrez, Ph.D.