Choosing a Therapist
Finding the right therapist depends on a number of factors, including:
- The personal "fit" between the family, child and therapist. What role do you want to play in your child's therapy?
- The therapist's qualifications and skills
- The therapist's ability to coordinate care with other practitioners
- Financial considerations. If you want these services covered by insurance, call your insurer ahead of time to be sure they provide the benefits you need.
- If you have a managed care plan, call your insurer to determine what providers you can see in your area. Find out what other steps need to be taken before you can contact a mental health counselor.
- Ask if you need a referral from a primary care physician in order to have coverage.
Depending on your child's needs, there are many kinds of therapy available. Regardless of the approach, the therapist should be able to provide the family with several important pieces of information after the initial consultation.
- A description of the problem that is clear, comprehensive and makes sense to the parents
- A description of the type of therapy that will provide the greatest benefit to the child, and steps to achieving that goal
- An estimate of how long the treatment may proceed, and how the parents and child will know they have reached their goal
If you have defined these issues very clearly at the outset of your relationship with a therapist, you will find that therapy is more efficient, satisfying and effective. Finding a therapist is a very personal process. One size does not fit all, and you may need to meet several practitioners before you meet the one who is right for your child.