Whatever the circumstances, making the decision to bring your child to a therapist is a difficult one. It is an emotionally-charged choice, oftentimes requiring parents or guardians to revisit painful memories, or to acknowledge feelings of sadness and guilt. But the decision to send your child to therapy is just one of the challenges you’ll face along this journey. Knowing how to find a therapist for your child – what to look for and what to avoid – can be equally difficult.
Choosing the right counselor for your child is not a decision to be taken lightly. Psychology Today reports that all credible approaches to child therapy – play therapy, family-based therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc. – all result in the same success rate when administered by a well-trained therapist who is confident with his or her skills.
So, how do you find this well-trained, confident therapist? What other characteristics should you look for? What should you avoid?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CHILD THERAPIST
Genuine Interest in Your Child
Play therapy and other approaches to child counseling are one part science and one part art: having the proper education and training is a science, but having a genuine interest and investment in their patients is an art. Find a well-educated, qualified therapist who can also connect with and engage your child.
Depression, anxiety, aggression, anorexia and other mental health conditions are just that – conditions. Your child, separate from his or her symptoms, embodies a set of unique strengths that the right therapist will be able to identify and leverage to support his or her therapeutic approach.
A child therapist will recognize that his or her role is one of many important roles in your child’s healing process. Parents, guardians and other supportive parties should be enabled and encouraged as invaluable members of the child’s social infrastructure.
Understanding and appreciating a child’s culture – his or her ethnic background, the context in which the child was raised, and any relevant spiritual or religious beliefs – is an important part of solving the complex problem behind your child’s mental health problems. Your therapist should be sensitive to cultural differences, asking questions about the facets of your culture that might strengthen his or her therapeutic approach.
WHAT TO AVOID IN A CHILD THERAPIST
The Blame Game
When a child suffers from a mental health disorder, passing blame is never an acceptable solution. Oftentimes there is no one person or institution at fault for a child’s issues, but even when there is, blame isn’t an effective vehicle for healing. Blame is passive. Your child needs an action-oriented therapist who will work towards a solution.
No therapist can guarantee success, nor can it be implied that he or she employs the “right” approach to child therapy. Run far from any therapist you promises certain results.
CONTACT CREATIVE COUNSELING CENTER
At Creative Counseling Center, we have a diverse team of child therapists and counselors on staff, each bringing a unique set of skills and specialties to the table. If your child is in need of play therapy or any other type of therapy, contact us to schedule a free consultation and see if a member of our team might be right for you.
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