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How To Choose A Child Therapist

>> May 12, 2018

The world of adolescent and child mental health is frequently confusing and unfamiliar.  It can be very hard to determine whether or not therapy is something your child may benefit from.  Searching for the best treatment is also hard since it can be so difficult to know who your child's well-being can be trusted with and whether or not the prescribed treatment is going to be effective.  That is why it is so important to acquire the knowledge you need so that you will know the right questions to ask and know what you should be looking for in a therapist - and the things you need to avoid.  When it comes to mental health treatment, this will help to clear up some of the confusion.
Questions You Should Ask When Choosing A Psychologist:

Is the Individual a Licensed Therapist?

It is very misleading for somebody to claim to be a "therapist" without having the proper training and licensing, however, many people do.  Although some providers do declare they are therapists, truthfully, they do not have the professional license that states they are fit for treating the mental health disorders of children. Without that license, there aren't any assurances that the person has received any type of training.  Having a professional license ensures that the person follows their state's legal and ethical codes as well as that they have undergone formal mental health education and training.   

You can determine whether or not a specific therapist is licensed by reviewing the description on their website or the title used with their name.  Each state has its own licensure boards for every kind of mental health license that allows you to confirm whether or not a therapist is licensed and whether or not the board has taken any action against the therapist at any time for ethical violations.  When searching for a therapist for your child, you should look for someone who has one of the following titles:

     Licensed marital and family therapist
     Licensed counselor
     Licensed social worker
     Licensed psychiatrist
     Licensed psychologist

What Treatments does the Therapist Provide?

A variety of treatments are offered by children's mental health professionals.  However, it is very important to understand that all therapies are not created equal or the same.  Research supports using specific therapies for other therapies for different disorders or behaviors.  That is why it is important for parents to ask whether there is scientific evidence to support a specific treatment before their child is treated with it. 

Is The Therapist Willing To Offer A Treatment Plan?

A detailed treatment plan should be outlined by the therapist that includes everything they are planning to do, as well as how your child's difficulties are going to be specifically addressed by the treatment.   The plan also should clearly outline the benchmarks for whatever progress is made throughout the overall treatment process and inform you on how long the treatment will last.  When progress is tracked that also helps you make a determination on whether or not the treatment needs to be modified or continued.  If a treatment plan is not provided to you by the therapist ask how they are planning to determine whether or not their treatment is effective.

Potential Red Flags to Watch For When Selecting a Child Therapist

Always Remember That if Something Sounds Like It's Too Good To Be True, Then Most Likely It Is

Parents need to look for different warning signs when they are selecting a therapist for their child.  First of all, if a therapist makes a promise they can use one type of therapy for treating many different disorders, then there is a good chance it's too good to be true.  For instance, there was a therapy website that made the claim that the same approach could be using for treating dementia, marital conflict, depression, and ADHD 0 which are four entirely different problems.  It is unlike that this type of statement is truthful.

Second of all, they claim to know something nobody else knows.  If any therapist claims they have the secret to getting rid of your child's anxiety or that nobody else can offer the same kind of treatment, then most likely this is a very misleading sales tactic.  Also, if in the treatment plan; they are proposing appears to work against conventional wisdom then that is a red flag, or if they recommend treatments that science does not support.  For instance, if they try to claim that pharmaceutical companies want to prevent you from knowing about the treatment since it would cause their profits to drop or that scientists have conspired to prevent you from knowing about a treatment - then usually they are untrue and misleading.

They Promise You The World 

The reason why a majority of therapist become part of the profession is due to wanting to help children who have mental health disorders.  But there might be some who make empty promises to families and children.  If a therapist promises dramatic, quick results, then it is a good idea to take a step back and see what they actually are offering to you.  There is a good chance that those types of promised results aren't achievable or practical and should be avoided.

Another potential warning sign is when a therapist claims that a specific type of therapy is going to take years before any progress is shown.  Although there are some childhood conditions, like autism-spectrum disorders, where long-term treatment is required, there are numerous research-supported treatments that only take 12-16 sessions.  So if a therapist is recommending a treatment that will take longer than that, the parent will need to ask more questions to find out why it is going to last that long, what specific benchmarks will be met by their child along the way, and how much the treatment is going to cost. 

The Therapist Doesn't Rely on Scientific Research

If a therapist relies mainly on testimonials rather than research then that is definitely a concern. For example, rather than research supporting the treatment, there are some therapists that will furnish quotes from patients to show that a treatment is effective.  Although it is nice hearing that past clients were satisfied with a treatment, it can be hard to know how many patients were unhappy that are not being cited.

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a home maker, a stay at home wife. I'm just an ordinary woman who has interest in reading, working at home and learning to write. We live in Bogor, Indonesia.
This blog contains articles in family topic.
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