Child therapists cover a variety of situations, including abuse, behavioral problems, anger, bullying and social difficulties. No matter why your child needs a therapist, the selection process is crucial. A therapist who meshes well with your child is more likely to make progress toward helping your child deal with the root problems. Experience and schooling of the therapist is only one aspect when looking for a qualified therapist. The professional’s attitude, philosophy and method of interacting with children also plays a role in finding a match for your child.
Write a list of traits you want the therapist to have. Consider factors, such as the therapist’s specialty, education, state licensing, professional organization membership, experience with children, philosophy, hours, payment policies, personality and location of the office. Keep this list handy as you evaluate the different therapists you’re considering.
Ask your child’s physician, school counselor or other professionals for therapist referrals. The professionals that already work with your child might know of therapists who would work well with your child in meeting his specific needs.
Call your insurance company if the child’s therapy will be covered. Ask for a list of therapists who are preferred providers under the plan. Ask if the amount paid by the insurance company varies, depending on the therapist you choose so you know what to expect for coverage.
Call each therapist’s office to ask the receptionist questions to help narrow down the list. Ask about things you listed that are important to you for the therapist. For example, you might ask them what hours they are open, how they handle billing and how long it takes to schedule a session. Record the answers for each therapist so you can compare them.
Narrow down the therapist list, based on the answers to the questions. If you are still unsure about which therapist to choose for your child, ask if the actual therapist is willing to talk to you on the phone. This gives you a better sense of which therapist is the best match.
Schedule an introductory therapy session with the therapist you selected. Note how your child and the therapist interact and your child’s reaction to determine if the therapist is the best match. If you have concerns, talk to the therapist or try out a different therapist.