There are hundreds of child psychologists in the United States. So how do you choose the right one for your child?
Choosing the right child psychologist could make or break your child’s bright future. This puts a lot of pressure on you to make the right decision.
Read on to see how you can go about finding the right youth therapist for your child.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Don’t be shy and ask lots of questions of the child psychologist. They know that you are interviewing them for your precious child and they should be willing to answer dozens of questions if necessary.
If you end up choosing the wrong child psychologist, you could end up drastically hampering your child’s future. That is avoidable if you do your due diligence.
Yes, you are busy with a hundred other things, but this is a crucial part of getting the right kind of help for your child.
Some questions to ask are:
- How long do children stay in therapy with you
- Do you meet up with the parents frequently
- Do you stay in touch with the school counselor
- Can I speak to a parent who’s worked with you before
- What do you think about using medication with children
You should also inquire about the kind of therapy that the child psychologist prefers to work with. There are many kinds of therapies out there:
- Play therapy – for children with emotional difficulties
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – for children with behavior problems
- Group therapy – build social resilience and competence in children
- Family therapy – build communication between the parents and child
- Individual therapy – also called talk therapy
As you can see there are many things to keep in mind. Don’t get overwhelmed, but take it one step at a time.
Try To Get a Referral From a Friend
No one likes to talk about the fact that their child needs therapy or is in therapy. For some reason, there is a sort of taboo on seeking therapy, although that seems to be lifting a little bit now.
Either way, if you wish to find the best child psychologist for your child, then you need to get over your fears and social anxieties and ask in your circle for referrals.
The great thing about getting a referral is that they have already been vetted by a close friend or acquaintance of yours. It doesn’t get any better than that.
You can rest easy knowing that you aren’t picking a random youth therapist off the street, but someone who has helped friends of yours.
Contact Your School’s Guidance Counselor
If your child’s school has a guidance counselor, then consult with them. They usually have a list of therapists that they trust and recommend.
They will have an excellent grasp of what your child needs as they have probably spoken to them before. Also, they will be able to recommend therapists who are experienced at working with children or teenagers.
Learn About the Difference in Credentials
You didn’t know that you would need to start learning about credentials, degrees, and certifications, but that is entirely the case here.
There are many different kinds of counselors, therapists, and psychologists out there with different degrees, and qualifications.
Even though they might all be placed under the big umbrella of therapists, they have all been trained differently.
Clinical Social Workers
They have a master’s in social work and seek practical problem solving and conflict resolution. They are trained in empowerment and social advocacy. They use talk or play therapy, group therapy, and counseling.
They have a medical degree and prescribe medication for social anxiety, depression, and more. If you are seeking medication for ADD or depression for your child, then psychiatrists can help with that.
They have a doctorate in psychology and provide psychological assessments and testing, and therapy. They will also be able to provide recommendations to academic support, group therapy, or a specialized school if need be.
As you can see, they will all have a different way of treating your child. You know your child best and you know which technique and track will work best with them.
That’s why you can’t discount your own intuition when it comes to finding the right therapist for your child. Do your due diligence, but always go with your gut in the end.
Don’t Choose the First One You Speak To
You wouldn’t choose the first house you look at or the first DSLR camera. Finding the right therapist for your child is an even more important endeavor. So don’t go with the first therapist you speak to.
Always work with a pool of 3-4 therapists, and then pick one from that pool. This way you can trust that you made the right decision when it comes to your child and their specific needs.
Every therapist is going to be different in the way they interact with children. You want to ensure that you pick one that’s going to treat your child in the way you would want them treated.
Pick a therapist that doesn’t blame you, your child, or anyone else. No one is to blame here. Neither should they talk down to the child, no matter their age.
A good therapist will be able to see your child’s strengths, rather than focusing on the ‘problems’ or ‘issues’. They should also focus on building a solid relationship with the child from the get-go.
Finally, a good therapist will look at you as an ally rather than as the enemy who is the cause of the child’s suffering.
As you can see, finding the right therapist can sometimes be even more complicated than picking your life partner. It definitely has long-term ramifications for your child and their future.
Choosing the Right Child Psychologist Takes Time and Effort
If you thought you could start the process of choosing a child psychologist on Monday, and be done with it by Friday, think again. The process will probably be longer than that.
Go in with the right attitude and you will absolutely end up finding the right therapist for your child.
Searching for adolescent and child psychologists in the Halifax, Nova Scotia area? Check out Bird Psychological Services today.