Choosing The Right Therapist For Your Child
Raising a child is hard work and sometimes involves getting help for your child. When children face challenges and need intervention, early intervention is best. Starting therapy for your child can bring on some level of anxiety. It all begins with that first tiny step of reaching out for help. Early intervention is of utmost importance and a large factor contributing to starting and continuing therapy can often be the therapist involved. Finding the right therapist for your child may not be the simplest task surrounding therapy but is surely a deciding factor. It can be overwhelming to find a therapist you can trust your child with. However, having some knowledge on what to expect, how therapy works and what you are looking for can make this process less daunting.
Therapy isn’t just for crises. It can help children:
- Manage their feelings and behaviour better
- Cope with disabilities or disorders
- Deal with academic pressure and challenges
- Improve interpersonal relationships
What therapy does my child need?
After you’ve taken the first step of deciding that you want to approach a therapist, you will also need to spend time understanding what kind of therapy your child requires. Depending on the nature and severity of your child’s challenges, you might reach out to a
- A counsellor who works with children on behavioural and interpersonal problems
- Clinical psychologists work on complex issues such as ADHD, with children on the spectrum or with those dealing with a mental illness
- Psychiatrists who work with children who need medication for conditions such as depression, ADHD etc.
It can be difficult to understand beforehand what therapy your child will exactly need, but it’s important to reach out for help anyway. A professional can guide you in the right direction.
Finding the right therapist
Step two will be to find the right therapist for your child. Personal recommendations can work well as they can give you first-hand feedback on what to expect. However, it may not always be possible.
Qualifications & Certifications:
Although an obvious requirement, it is important to check the credentials of the therapist you’re considering. Depending on the type of therapy you are looking for, therapists have specific training and certifications in their field. The word therapist has become rather common now and people assume the title of a counsellor without the proper training. There is a misconception that anyone who can dole out advice based on their personal experience or interest can be called a counsellor. The truth is, a counsellor or therapist must have the educational qualifications and certifications to be titled a counsellor.
Transparency & Clarity:
This is critical. Therapists should have open lines of communication for you can discuss concerns, apprehensions and understand what you can expect from therapy. Those promising a magic cure to problems or claiming to have a secret technique probably or sound to be too good to be true, can definitely not fulfil those claims. Therapy takes time and doesn’t promise overnight changes and anyone who claims otherwise is not making ethical claims. Therapy is designed to an individual’s unique needs and challenges and a one size fit all approach doesn’t work. Most therapists offer an initial free or quick consultation to understand your needs and educate you on what they can offer. So look for a therapist who can offer open lines of communication.
Comfort & Convenience:
When a child goes to therapy, a crucial factor that decides its success is how comfortable they feel with the therapist. Although it takes time to build rapport and gain trust, a good therapist puts in a lot of effort in making your child feel at ease right from the start. They will spend time getting to know your child, their likes and dislikes, their interests and use these to build a connection with your child. Younger children might also be comfortable with a therapist who speaks in a language that is native to your child. It is almost important to find a therapist who is available at times and on days that are convenient to you and your child. For school-going children, this might mean after school hours and for busy parents, weekends might be easier to attend. Finding the right “fit” for you is important, even if that means it takes a bit longer or if you need to change the therapist you are consulting.
Starting therapy can be scary but we are here to help. It is important to beat the stigma that surrounds therapy. Going to therapy or taking your child to therapy doesn’t mean you have failed as a parent or that your child is problematic. It simply means you are getting the right help that you and your child need. Raising a child is hard work and we all need help sometimes to navigate the rough patches. It is important to work together with a therapist with who you and your child feel at ease. Therapy involves effort and it takes time to bring about change. So give your child and their therapist to work on goals and overcome challenges.
If you’d like to understand more or need help choosing a therapist, we are here to help.
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