It depends on your child’s comfort level, preferences, and goals. Depending on your child’s age, I may ask what he or she wants to do. Sometimes children want help from their parents to explain the troubles they are having, and that is fine. Sometimes children want to have a session mostly on their own, and that is also fine. Usually, the last 10-15 minutes of a session is set aside for providing parents with a general review of what was discussed and will be worked on between sessions.
Certain treatment goals are best addressed with parents in the room with their child (developing communication skills, establishing healthy boundaries, creating a distraction-free space for completing homework), while some goals tend to progress better when a child feels as if he or she has full ownership over the problem (relaxation skills, social difficulties, school stressors).
If a parent wants to discuss specific matters in depth without their child present, a separate session can be scheduled. Feedback sessions to help guide parents on what they can do to assist in their child’s therapy may be beneficial as well.
With older children who may be hesitant to open up and participate in therapy, parents may be asked to stay in the waiting area so that adequate rapport and trust can be built.