Searching for the best therapist for your child can be challenging. How do you know who to choose? Which therapist is the best fit for your child or family system?
Kids and teens need therapy when they experience challenges that are difficult to cope with alone. These challenges can affect how well they think, feel, or act.
Many times, children are able to cope with challenges on their own. In some circumstances, therapy can help them in that process. In fact, all families need support or family counseling from time-to-time to learn how to improve communication and cope in a healthy way.
Introducing the idea of therapy to your child or teen
Not long ago, psychotherapy and counseling were viewed as something that should be kept a secret. But times have, thankfully, changed. More and more children are benefiting from this useful tool for mental and emotional wellbeing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC:
- Nearly 8 in 10 children (78.1%) with depression, ages 3-17, received treatment
- 6 in 10 children (59.3%) with anxiety, ages 3-17, received treatment
- More than 5 in 10 children (53.5%) with behavior disorders, ages 3-17, received treatment
How to find therapy
It can be challenging to know how to talk about therapy services as a family.
In our experience, it is a good idea to use the same tools that you might use to find another type of doctor or clinician. Talk to a variety of therapists about their training, experience, and areas of interest. Ask other trusted professionals for referrals. Take time during initial meetings to get to know who is working with your child and their recommended treatment plan.
Does my child need counseling?
Children and adolescents can receive mental health services for a variety of reasons. It’s important to consider what’s going on in your child’s life and how it relates to their behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
As children and adolescents grow, they are changing in a variety of ways and can be coping with a variety of common challenges, like:
- Personal conflicts within couples or families
- Unexpected illness, death, or unemployment of a friend or family member
- Learning what a healthy romantic relationship is like
- Emotional disorders like behavioral problems or mood issues
- Having a parent that is divorced or separated
- Witnessing or experiencing substance abuse or addiction
- Having a family member, or they themselves having a mental health condition like depression and anxiety
How can parents help?
You can do things to help your child get the most from therapy. Some ideas include:
- Find a child therapist you and your child feel comfortable with. Someone you feel safe with, who is non-judgmental, and provides a therapeutic environment where you and your child can express yourself and your concerns freely will help.
- Ask your child's healthcare team or primary physician to help you find a therapist.
- Having a therapist with experience related to your specific diagnosis or culture can further build trust between you and your treatment provider.
- Stay consistent and take your child to all of their recommended appointments. Change takes time. It can take several family therapy visits for your child to learn new skills and make them a habit.
- Meet with your child's or family therapist. Ask for practical things you can do when your child needs help coping with difficult emotions at home.
- Spend time with your child. Play, cook, read, or laugh together. Do this every day, even if it's only for a few minutes. This allows parents and children to bond.
- Parent with patience and warmth. Use kind words, even when you need to correct your child. Show love. Give praise when your child is doing well or trying hard.
Therapy is beneficial at any age. If you think you and your child could benefit from attending therapy, we are here to help. When seeking a child therapist near me, our counseling center in Kissimmee offers family and child therapy. We have counseling centers in Central Florida and Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can make an appointment and see more of the services we offer here.