Choosing a Therapist for Your Child

Therapy can alleviate many emotional and behavioral problems for children. It can help them adjust to losses, separations, or traumas; resolve anxiety and depression; improve their behavior; assist them in developing social skills; and even perform better academically. The quality of therapists varies widely.

Therapist for your child

Here are a few considerations in choosing a therapist:

  • A number of professionals provide therapy, including psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and Marriage and Family Therapists. It is important that whomever you choose has graduated from an accredited program (Master’s level or above) and is licensed in their profession in your state.
  • Make sure that the therapist has training and experience working with children and families.
  • No matter how qualified or experienced the therapist, a good “patient-therapist fit” is vital. It is important that both you and your child feel that the therapist is respectful, empathic, and competent. You might want to set up a phone or face-to face interview with the potential therapist. Many therapists, in recognition of the importance of the therapeutic relationship, offer interviews free of charge.
  • Make sure that the therapist is committed to involving you in the treatment process and supporting you as a parent. The therapist should communicate frequently and clearly to you, helping you understand your child’s concerns and better manage your child’s emotional and behavioral difficulties.
  • Inquire as to the therapist’s orientation towards treatment and make sure that it fits your child’s needs.
  • Make sure that the therapist is knowledgeable enough about psychotropic medications to recommend when to refer for a medication evaluation. Only medical doctors as well as some nurse practitioners may actually prescribe medicine.
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