To look for a child therapist can be nerve-wracking. Try not to let this deter you from getting the treatment your child needs. There are ways to find a therapist that is a good fit for your child and yourself.
Practical ways to find a good therapist for your child and you:
- Talk with your friends and family to see if they have any recommendations of therapists they have found helpful for their children and families.
- Check with your insurance provider for a list of therapist and begin calling those on the list
- Ask your primary care physician or pediatrician for a recommendation.
- Search the internet for local providers.
- Verify that the therapist has a clean record through the state licensing department such as the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California (https://www.breeze.ca.gov/datamart/selSearchTypeCADCA.do?from=loginPage)
Questions to ask a potential therapist:
- Do they have experience working with the age group of your child?
- What is their theoretical framework? Have them explain how they feel it can help your child. Have them explain the pros and cons of their treatment
- Do they appear comfortable and okay with your questions? If they seem defensive or judgmental then they likely are not a good fit.
- Don’t feel offended if they don’t want to answer personal questions, they are trained to make it all about you, not them.
- Are they open to including you in part of the treatment; family sessions, parenting collateral?
- Are they doing a complete assessment; asking about family history, current family composition, academic, and social functioning? These are all important in developing a sound diagnosis and treatment planning.
- Are they letting you know what the treatment is and obtaining your input, seeing if you have any concerns, and inquiring of your ideas of the possible problems and what the outcome is that you would like?
- Are they able to develop a good relationship with your child and you?
Know your rights!
- If you do not feel a therapist is a good fit, you have the right to request a different one!
For more information on finding a good therapist, check these additional resources
Michelle Natale LMFT
Michelle is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has been working with youth and families for over 17 years.
Michelle graduated from Chapman University with her Masters in Psychology; emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy.
Michelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University at Northridge.