Choosing a therapist can be very difficult. You need to find someone who cannot only help you, but someone you trust and feel comfortable with. When looking for a therapist for your child, you have to take all that into consideration for both you and the child. Both of my younger children have needed to see different types of therapists based on their needs. It was a bit of a struggle as it was difficult to find someone they were comfortable with and could help them with their specific needs, but when we did, it was all worth it. When choosing a therapist for your child, try these basic tips to help find what you need on the first try. Finding out that a therapist is not what you need, or want, and switching can cause setbacks in the therapy.
Word of Mouth
When I was first started looking at therapy options for my daughter, I was lucky enough to have friends who were in similar situations. They had recommendations for me to look into. While not all of the options presented to me were what we needed, it was very helpful to have an arsenal of phone numbers and information. When making phone calls, I was often given numbers for associates of that office that were more tailored to my daughter’s needs.
If you are looking for a therapist that can help your child learn to cope with ADHD, you need to find a therapist who specializes in working with children affected by ADHD. A therapist who mostly works with children suffering from trauma is not going to work for you. It is not always clear from simple phone book or online ads exactly what a therapist specializes in. Luckily, a simple phone call to their office will get that question answered quickly for you. Be sure to ask friends and family who have taken the time to seek out therapy if they have recommendations or know of anyone who does.
Meeting the Therapist
Always ask for a meeting. Most doctors and therapists will make an appointment to meet with you for a brief ten to fifteen minutes. Use this time wisely and have a list of questions prepared. You will not appear needy or pushy. In fact, the therapist will appreciate your thoughtful search into obtaining the best care for your child. You will need to ask questions about how the session is set-up and how much parent involvement is asked for. Inquiring about specific methods and possible testing is important as well. Also, be sure to ask for suggestions on the best way to introduce your child to the therapist and the idea of therapy. No question is silly or “too obvious” during this meeting. At the end of your meeting, there will be many things to consider. Were you comfortable with him or her? Did they answer your questions in a manner sufficient to you? Would your child be likely to cooperate with this person and the methods of therapy they use?
The First Visit
Using the therapists suggestions, introduce your child to the idea of therapy and how it will benefit them. Be sure that they know that therapy is about them and helping them cope with whatever they are afflicted with. Introduce them to the therapist, but do not push them. They will need to absorb their surroundings in their own way and on their own time. A good therapist will be able to assist this process. When the first session is over, do not press your child for information. Let them come to you. If you were asked to continue certain practices at home, be sure to keep up on them, but in a gentle manner. After all, this is all about them.