Choosing the right child therapist is an important decision. There are many excellent therapists in the area, but there are also those who are not very good. There are also those who just may not work well with your child. Here are a few tips and tricks to use to find the correct therapist for your child.
Does Your Child Actually Need a Therapist?
There are certainly cases where mental health intervention is necessary. This is very unfortunate and children deserve proper care and attention when it comes to their well-being. However, this can be a problem on the flip side of the coin as well. Hyper-fixation on your child’s mental state or over pathologizing typical behaviors and assuming they need counseling can alienate your child if they do not want this kind of attention. If you force your child into psychotherapy when they do not want or need it, this can be damaging to their relationship with you as well as the rapport with the therapist. In these scenarios working with the therapist in a consultative manner will be more beneficial because the therapist can coach you on how to best work and understand your child.
Is the Child Therapist Sensitive to Present Times?
Things have changed vastly from even 20 years ago. Child therapists that have not kept up with the times are going to be hopelessly lost when it comes to modern children and their worries and cares. For example, LGBT youth complain that their therapists don’t seem to understand that their problems are no longer related to their identities, which tend to be far stronger, but with the everyday cares and concerns of an LGBT teenager. If the therapist is unfamiliar with these changes, with the Internet and other forms of communication, it’s like they do not understand the language and will not be able to relate to your child.
Ask Your Child
If we are to assume that your child does, indeed, want to visit a therapist, then their opinion is going to matter the most. The therapist is there to help your child work through their issues, a safe and trusting relationship need to develop. Your child’s feelings and opinions about that person matter more just as much as the person’s experience, number of degrees, or any other qualification. Listening to what your child has to say is not only the best way to make this choice but also one of the best ways to engage with your child in general.
Selecting the right child therapist can be daunting. It’s understandable that you’ll want to trust the person your child will be visiting for care. Remember, however, that it is not really that it is not only your choice. It is also possible that the therapist will say things that you disagree with about your own behavior, so you will need to be able to examine yourself and own your actions when necessary.