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Finding The Best Therapist For Your Child

Finding The Best Therapist For Your Child

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It can be painful to admit your child needs more help than you are equipped to provide. Not every child is the same, and everyone has their own needs. The only thing that matters is that your child receives the necessary help that they need to move forward in life.

The world of mental health can be complex and confusing, and a child’s psychology is no easier to understand than an adult’s. It can be hard to know who to trust with your child and whether the prescribed treatment will be effective.

The first step in getting the right therapist for your child is to arm yourself with knowledge and be able to ask the right questions in front of a therapist. This article will outline the most important questions you should ask when selecting a therapist.

Choose A Therapist That Specializes In Children

Children don’t think like adults. They experience a slew of mental health problems during their most sensitive growth periods that regular therapists just aren’t equipped to handle. You want a child therapist that appreciates your child’s strengths, and doesn’t simply slap them with a label. They have to provide an actual treatment plan with a goal aimed at creating concrete results.

It’s even better if they can incorporate physical play and activities into their treatment plan to help children understand their emotions and coping mechanisms. A good therapist will ally with the parents and caregivers. They will work to thoroughly understand the child and usually develop a strategy to take home and apply after office hours are done.

What Questions Should I Ask My Therapist?

1. Do they label the child?

There are many therapists who undermine a child’s development by giving them a label and which potentially agitates a problem instead of helping. A good therapist avoids pathologizing a child. They are open to hearing possible solutions from the caregivers and understand that many symptoms are simply coping mechanisms that the child needs to grow out of.

Placing a label such as being ADHD, anorexic, or depressed can backfire, especially if inaccurate. A good therapist understands the valuable person beneath the mental health condition and works to give your child the tools to develop healthier thinking patterns instead.

2. Are they licensed?

There are people that call themselves therapists when they completely lack the necessary credentials to do so. A proper license tells you important information. It tells you that the therapist is formally trained and that they are held to accountable standards by your state’s ethical and legal codes.

3. Do they provide a comprehensive treatment plan?

child playing with large building blocksNot all therapy is created equal. A good therapist should use scientifically-based methods of therapy that are known for producing concrete results within a time frame. They should be able to provide you with a timeline for their treatment. This timeline should specify what they are going to do, how the treatment addresses the problem, and what benchmarks will be used to track progress.

If a treatment plan doesn’t seem to work, don’t hesitate to switch to another plan instead of wasting time and money. If your therapist doesn’t provide a treatment plan, simply ask them how they are going to determine if the treatment will be effective.

Evidence-based treatments are important plans to look out for. These are treatments that have been scientifically validated to treat mental health disorders and other physical health concerns.


Red Flags To Avoid

1. Over-promises

Therapists that promise to solve several problems at once using a single form of therapy are overly optimistic. As an example, some therapists assert they can address ADHD, depression, anxiety due to marital conflict, and hyperactivity with one single approach. These are four different problems that need different treatments. A statement like this is likely to be inaccurate.

2. Lots of marketing terms instead of an evidence-based approach

There are some therapists that claim they hold the secret to curing your child of anxiety and depression with a treatment that no one else can provide. Others assert that their treatment plans work against conventional wisdom but are unlikely to produce results.

Another popular marketing approach is to assert that Big Pharma or other scientists are conspiring to keep you from knowing about a treatment. These, and similar claims, are usually nonsense.

3. Credentials based on testimonials-only, not science

Some therapists can offer treatment plans that seem too good to be true. Most therapists that enter this profession do so because they genuinely want to help people. However, there will always be therapists that offer unscientific, unsupported treatments that are completely impractical or not achievable by any normal means.

Instead of providing solid research support for their treatment plans, they will display quotes from previous clients and testimonials as evidence that the treatment plan works. While positive testimonials are always nice to see and examine, you never know how many negative testimonials are being hidden from you. Therapy should be supported by scientifically approved methods, not just testimonials.

Mental health is priceless, and a therapist is a fantastic investment that creates life-long results. It’s important to stick to qualified professionals who understand what they’re doing. Humana takes pride in helping the people and communities around them become healthier and happier. Click here to find therapists who accept Humana.