Going to a Child Therapist with your child can be scary and stressful for both you and your child. You both are probably confused at your child’s behavior or emotional reaction to life events. I am sure that you feel like you have talked to your child, at your child, and with others who are concerned about your child. You might feel that taking your child to see a therapist has a negative stigma, meaning that there is something wrong with you or your child. I assure that is far from the truth. Getting help from a Therapist is no worse than taking your child to the Doctor to get help getting rid of a virus. With that said there are still many questions that you should ask and wonder when looking for the Child Therapist to help your child.
How do I evaluate who is a qualified Child Therapist?
What does a Child Therapist do with my child?
Should My Child see a Therapist?
How do I know who is a qualified Child Therapist?
Make sure to consider a number of factors when searching for the right therapist for your child. Credentials along with the type of therapy and how your child responds to the therapist are some other factors to consider. A good first step is to ask the if they would be willing to do an initial phone consultation or brief meeting to see if they are the right fit for your child.
The following questions may be helpful when evaluating a potential Child Therapist.
Is the therapist licensed to practice in your state? (You can check with your state professional regulation or ask the therapist to see their license)
What type of experience does the therapist have?
How long has the therapist worked with children and adolescents?
Would your child find the therapist friendly?
Does the therapist include you or your family in the session?
What type of therapy does the therapist specialize in?
What are their credentials?
Child Therapist Credentials
There are several types of Credentials that a therapist can hold. Your child’s therapist should hold a professional degree in the field of mental health (psychiatry, psychology, counseling, social work) and be licensed in your state. Psychiatrist, Psychologists, Clinical Counselors, Clinical Social Workers all diagnose and treat mental health disorders.
The following may be helpful in understanding the letters behind the name of your Child Therapist.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD of DO) they have advanced training and experience in psychotherapy. They also have the ability to prescribe medication
Clinical psychologists (PsyD, PhD) are therapists who have a doctorate degree that includes advanced training in psychology. Many specialize in testing and evaluation. Psychologists do not prescribe medication.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) has a master degree in counseling psychology with at least 3 years experience in the practice of clinical counseling therapy. A Clinical Professional Counselor is licensed in the state they practice.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) has a master degree in the study of sociology and has at least 3 years experience in the practice of clinical social work. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker is licensed in the state they practice.
With all of the above professionals you want to find someone who specializes in working with children. Look for the child therapist who has the right experience and most important who will have the best approach to connect with or help your child.
What Does a Child Therapist Do with My Child?
There are many different types of therapy that a professional can use to help your child. Many therapists choose the strategies that are appropriate for a particular problem. Child Therapists may use a variety of strategies, including:
This type of therapy uses dialogue and evaluation to help the client come to personal realizations about areas of their behavior or emotions that need to be challenged or changed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Focuses on the thought process of and individual. Activities used will help the client identify and change problematic behavior through assignments, homework and behavior modification.
Play therapy enters into the child’s expression of emotions and behaviors through play. Play Therapy uses play tools as the medium to help the child identify emotions, problem solve and develop new behaviors.
Should My Child see a Therapist?
Sometimes knowing when to take your child to see a child therapist is not clear. A child can suddenly seem withdrawn, worried, stressed, sulky or tearful. Other times significant life events, the death of a family member, friend, pet, divorce, a move, abuse, trauma, a parent leaving on military deployment, or a major illness in the family, can cause stress that might lead to problems with behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning. If you feel that your child might have an emotional or behavioral problem or needs help coping with a difficult life event, trust your parental instincts. And most likely if you are asking this question it would be a good idea to consult with a professional.
Signs that your child may benefit from Child Therapy include:
Developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training.
Learning or attention problems (such as ADD or ADHD)
Behavior problems of excessive, anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorder
Being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
Significant drop in grades
Social withdrawal or isolation
Episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression..
Overly aggressive behavior of biting, kicking or hitting.
Insomnia or increased sleepiness
Sudden change in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
Development of an increase in physical complaints, like headache, stomach ache, not feeling well despite a normal physical exam by your child’s doctor.
Excessive school absenteeism or tardiness. Signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use.
Management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
Problems with transitions following separation, divorce or relocation.
Following sexual physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events.
If your child is having difficulty with any of the above emotions or behaviors it is likely that they may benefit from seeing a therapist. Do not hesitate to seek Professional help. The longer you wait the harder it will be for your child and family to overcome the difficulty.
Question for a Child Therapist
Please contact me with questions you may have concerning your child's behavior or child therapy services. It is my service to talk with parents. I can be contacted at email@example.com
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