Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues can affect any family, at any time. Buts stigmas around these issues can prevent parents from reaching out for help, for fear that they or their child will be judged.

Fortunately, there’s hope. People are breaking down barriers and talking more openly about mental illness and mental health issues. And with increased awareness and visibility comes greater access to resources for parents who struggle with these challenges.

These videos offer parental support and information on topics such as depression, self-harm, and how to obtain the help your child needs.

My Child Needs Professional Help. How Do I Find a Good Therapist That Matches My Child’s Needs?

Kim Jenkins, MSW, CADC
One Oak Educational & Therapeutic Placement Consulting

How Do I Find a Good Therapist That Matches My Child’s Needs?

Education and experience are important factors as you consider a therapist for your child. However, there are additional considerations that can impact the type of connection your child will have with the therapist that you choose.

First, a therapist should be as invested as you are in making sure that it’s a good match. Most therapists are willing to offer a brief introductory session or interview before you commit to regular sessions. This will allow to you determine if the connection feels authentic, if you like his or her style and if their approach aligns with your goals.

Factors to consider in choosing the right therapist for you child include:

  • What are his credentials and how long has he been in practice?
  • What type of therapy does she specialize in?
  • It’s important that the issues you are seeking treatment for are within therapists range of expertise and interest
  • Do you feel like your child will find the therapist friendly and approachable?
  • What is the therapist’s policy in communicating with parents? Will the therapist meet with parents in addition to the child?
  • Is your child’s therapist willing to collaborate with other providers (psychiatrist, school personnel, etc.)?
  • Is your therapist covered by your insurance provider?

Keep in mind the following:

  • Ask for recommendations from people who know your child and know the resources available in your community. For example, seek recommendations from you pediatrician, teacher, school counselor or school social worker.
  • In order for therapy to work, there needs to be a level of rapport and connection between your child and the therapist. Finding a therapist who connects with your child and who your child feels they can trust is important. It may be helpful for your child to meet with a couple of therapists and allow them to select the one they feel most comfortable with. This may empower them to commit to the therapeutic process.
  • Find a therapist who works from a strengths-based perspective. Pointing out faults and weaknesses will put kids on edge and create resistance to therapy. A good therapist can build on a child’s strengths and find balance in addressing a child’s struggles.
  • If your child is struggling with substance abuse or addiction related issues, find a therapist who has had addiction specific training.
  • As you are exploring the reasons why you are beginning therapy with your child, discuss the types of therapies that have been proven to be most effective. For example, some adolescents may benefit from:

— Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT)
— Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
— Family Therapy
— Play Therapy
— Art Therapy
— And more…