Child & Family Counseling

Safe Harbor offers free counseling to any child or family who is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse. Our goal is to relieve traumatic stress related to abuse and to empower non-offending parents to lead their families toward healing.

Child & Family Counseling

We utilize a variety of methods to work with children and families, including:

  • Individual play therapy sessions
  • Parent consultations
  • Family sessions

Frequently Asked Questions about child & family counseling

  • How can play therapy help my child?

    Play is vital to every child’s development. Play therapy helps in a variety of ways:

    • Children receive emotional support and can learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts.

    • Sometimes they may re-enact or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their future.

    • Outcomes of Play therapy may be general, such as a reduction in anxiety and raised self-esteem, or more specific, such as a change in behavior and improved relations with family and friends.

  • How can my family receive counseling services?
    • In shelter: If you are a Safe Harbor shelter client, you will have the opportunity to connect with our Child and Family Counselor in the shelter where you are residing within the first five days of your arrival.

    • In the community: Due to the overwhelming need for this service in our community, we are only able to offer Child and Family Counseling to the children of current adult counseling clients. If you are interested in receiving counseling, please complete our online intake form or call our 24/7 line at 1.800.291.2139 (select option 1 to speak with someone.) Once connected with a counselor, they can discuss with you the need for making a referral to our Child and Family Counseling Program.

  • How frequently can my child or I be seen?
    • Typically one 50-minute session a week is appropriate, but we recognize our clients have different needs. Your counselor will work closely with you to assess you and your child’s individual needs and discuss a plan with you.

  • How long can my child receive counseling?
    • In shelter: Sessions will continue for the duration of your stay with Safe Harbor. As your departure from shelter nears, your counselor will work to connect you with continuing services in the community.

    • In the community: Typically, we are able to offer counseling for up to one year.

    • Our therapy services for children in the community focus only on those issues directly related to your child’s experience of domestic abuse. Your counselor will discuss next steps with you as your child’s needs change and, when appropriate, will work to connect you with continuing services in the community.

  • Do I need to have custody of my children to receive services?
    • In shelter: No, you do not need to have custody of or have your children with you in shelter to receive services. Our Child and Family Counselors can work to address a variety of issues with you individually, including: parenting skills, reunification strategies and other stressors. Parents of adult children, women who are currently pregnant, and women who have been pregnant in the past are all appropriate to receive our services while in shelter.

    • In the community: If you are a current client of our adult community counseling program your child may still be able to receive our services, regardless of your custody situation. However, the legal custodian will have to sign consent for treatment and agree to work alongside you and the counselor as part of the treatment team.

  • Will anyone find out if I'm receiving counseling at Safe Harbor?
    • With a few exceptions that your counselor will review with you at your initial appointment (such as mandated reporting of abuse/neglect of child or vulnerable adult, plans to harm yourself or someone else, court order from a judge), counseling is confidential.

    • We do not share with anyone (including case workers, attorneys, family or friends) that you are receiving our services, without your written consent.

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