Q: What is counseling?
A: Counseling (or therapy) is an assistance given by a helping professional who provides a client with an avenue of growth and healing. Lifeline’s Counseling team is unique because it seeks to be holistic and collaborative with individuals, couples, and families. Therapeutic interventions are tailor-fit to the needs of each client.

Q: Is it common for adoptive and foster families to seek counseling?
A: Yes, it is very common for anyone involved in the adoption or foster care process to seek therapy. Many children in adoptive or foster care placements will need counseling at some point in their journey because they have often experienced significant loss, trauma, or neglect. These traumas can negatively affect a child’s thoughts about themselves, others, and the world around them. Parents and siblings have their own needs and experiences that may affect their own daily functioning. In addition, the process of adoption and fostering can create challenges in a marriage, between siblings, and in the family as a whole.

Q: How do I know if my child or family needs therapy?
A: Many families face challenges pre- and post-placement. Sometimes these challenges are obvious, based on difficult thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of self, spouse, or children. Other times the needs are less obvious. If you have any concerns or challenges within your family and want to discuss the possible need for therapy, reach out to your caseworker or email counseling@lifelinechild.org or call 205-967-0811.

Q: Can families request a particular counselor at Lifeline?
A: Yes, you can request a specific counselor. Sometimes a family’s needs may best fit another counselor within Lifeline, and a referral can be made in those cases.

Q: Is there a waitlist for counseling at Lifeline? How long can I expect to wait for services?
A: Lifeline does operate from a waitlist. The number of individuals or families on the list varies. The wait can vary from zero to six months. Lifeline can provide referral sources for families if needed.

Q: How soon should my family begin counseling with Lifeline after a child is placed in our home?
A: In most cases of recent adoption or foster care placement, the goal of counseling should focus on enhancing the attachment relationships between child and parent, rather than between child and counselor (which is common in typical counseling settings). Counseling often begins with the parents, then they work together to devise a treatment plan that includes the child. Deciding when this process should begin depends on a number of factors, including: current issues, child’s history, level of need, language abilities, etc.

Q: How do you conduct therapy when a child’s primary language is not English?
A: It is common within international adoption for a child not to speak the primary language of his/her adoptive family. Therapists can work specifically with the parents while the child is gaining language skills. Sometimes a bilingual therapist or translator is utilized. Some counseling interventions are aimed at pre-verbal interactions, like TheraPlay, where fluency in language is not necessarily needed.

Q: I know Lifeline is a Christian organization, so what is the balance in sessions between faith and psychology?
A: People are at different places in their walk with God, and the same is true for when they participate in a counseling session. Lifeline’s team members assess this and are sensitive to it. The Counseling team strives to meet each client where he/she is. Each of our counselors are Christ-followers and is open to discuss faith and Biblical truths in each session. Our counselors also view psychology through the lens of theology and the Holy Spirit. Much like in the Book of Esther, God may not always be specifically mentioned, but His fingerprints are all over. That’s similar to how sessions with our clients look.

Q: I am concerned for my marriage as well as our adoption/foster care placement. Can counseling address both marital and placement concerns?
A: Yes, every therapist at Lifeline is able to provide marriage therapy as well as address placement concerns. Lifeline therapists will meet with parents for a number of sessions before including children, to first address marital concerns that frequently co-exist with placement concerns.

Q: I think myself, my child, or my family could benefit from therapy. What do I do next?
A: If you think therapy may be helpful for your situation, reach out to your Lifeline caseworker or call 205-967-0811 or email counseling@lifelinechild.org.


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