The perfect provider
It can take work to find the right therapist for your child, but it’s well worth the effort, says child psychologist Katie McLaughlin. “Many parents can feel overwhelmed by the numerous options available, or [they] feel unsure about how to start the search process,” she says. “Therapists vary widely in the types of training they have received, the strategies they use to treat emotional and behavioral problems in children, and their interpersonal style.”
An important first step, McLaughlin notes, is to determine what kinds of treatment have been found effective (are “evidence-based”) for the types of problems your child is experiencing. Speak to your pediatrician or consult reputable online resources.
Once you have a basic idea of what type of treatment your child needs, search for providers you may feel comfortable with and place that first call.
The final step is determining whether a therapist is a good fit for your child. Request a brief consultation or phone interview (not all therapists have time to do this, and many charge a fee). You may need to speak to a few providers before settling on one both you and your child like. “Try not to be discouraged if the first therapist you meet does not seem to be a good fit, and do not be afraid to shop around,” McLaughlin says. “You know your child best.”
The effort can really pay off, she explains. “The right therapist can have an enormously positive impact on your child’s development.”
When you find the right therapist, it makes all the difference in the world.