Looking for the right therapist for your child can be a difficult process, unless you have a solid game plan. Beyond that, you want to focus on experience, specialization and reputation. If your child is dealing with specific issues, such as cutting, body image or bullying, you need to seek out a therapist who focuses either your child’s age group or who has worked with that particular issue before.
Do your research
After you narrow down your choices, you still have some legwork to do before you make an appointment. Contact your state’s psychology licensing board ( in our case NJ) to confirm that the therapist is licensed and doesn’t have a spotty past. Also, their online presence can help whittle down the field. Google them, check out their web site and see if they have a Facebook or Twitter profile. Read their posts and the posts from clients to get a feel for their practice and their personality.
Listen to your gut
So you’ve found the ideal therapist! Before your child jumps into a session, make an appointment to sit down with him or her one-on-one and put your intuition to work. This enables you to download all of the pertinent information they’ll need to help your son or daughter, plus you will get a better feel for that individual’s approach.
Check out the additional following practical tips for finding the right therapist:
- Seek referrals from your friends, neighbors, pediatrician and school counselor.
- Check out the Psychology Today website to locate a therapist by zip code, find out about their specialties, whether they accept insurance, their fees, and other relevant information.
- Ideally the therapist should be able to lay out for you how many sessions or months that they believe it will take to effect change in your family.
- Does the therapist take the time to hear and understand your concerns or do they have their own agenda?
- If you are not seeing improvement with your son or daughter in four months of regular therapy, you need to find someone else that will get down to business and put the issues on the table.
- Many times, parents have to adjust their behavior towards their child for the child to adopt lasting changes as well. It’s not always easy but with the right therapist, your family can begin to heal and get back on a positive road.