Children, therapy, child therapist, choosing a child's therapist
Questionsto ask when choosing a therapist for your child.
Choosing a therapist for a child's behavior oremotional or school or friendship problems can be confusing.
There are many different mental health professionals whooffer services to children, including counselors, social workers, psychologists,psychiatrists and pediatric physicians.
There are no right answers to the questionsbelow. However, the process of asking useful questions and hearing them answeredcan give you a good sense about the professional you are planning to employ.
How were you trained to work withchildren?
Work with children is specialized. In choosing a therapist for a child you want someone with solid,specialized training.
How many years have you workedwith children?
Invite the therapist to tell you about the settings in which he/shehas worked and the kinds of situations and problems with which he/she isfamiliar.
Please tell me about the usualmethods you use in your practice.
(Working with children often involves ìplayîactivities that allow the child space and time to feel safe and open up. Aprofessional who works with play techniques can describe how and what playactivities he or she finds useful.)
Will you meet with the child alone, or will youinterview the parent(s) first?
The process of beginningtherapy with a child is dependent upon the childís age, the presenting problemand the family situation.
What is your attitude about medications forchildren?
Medicatingchildren for emotional and behavioral problems is a controversial topic, askingthis question will allow you to understand something about the therapistíspoint of view.
In what ways will the family be involved in thistreatment, what will I/we be allowed to know about what happens during thechildís sessions?
Again, the answers to thisquestion will vary widely depending on your childís age and the circumstancesfor which therapy is sought, but the answers should help you be comfortable withthe therapist.
About the author: Dr.Dunlap is a clinical psychologist in practice in Portland, Oregon. She workswith adults and families, but not with children.