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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Choosing a Therapist

Refer to our guidelines below to find the right therapist for your child and family.

Work with a licensed mental health professional

A licensed child or adolescent therapist may have one of the following credentials:

  • Psychologist (PhD)
  • Licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW)
  • Licensed clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC)
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
  • Licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor (LADAC)

Psychiatrists have an MD and are also mental health professionals, but they often do not provide counseling services.

Find the therapist with the right "fit" for your family

Finding the right therapist depends on many factors, including:

  • Personal "fit" between the family, child and therapist
  • The therapist’s experience, qualifications, and skills
  • The type of therapy approach that matches the specific child and families’ needs
  • The therapist’s ability to coordinate and communicate care with other providers
  • The therapist's availability at a frequency enough to support real change
  • The therapist is affordable:
    • Call your insurer to determine if there are "preferred" providers in your area
    • Ask if you need a referral from a primary care physician

Choosing the right kind of therapy for your child and family

There are many kinds of therapies that can address your child's difficulties. Our practitioners are trained in many evidence-based therapies.

Some of these therapies include:

  • Child-parent psychotherapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Parent management training

Speak with your provider about their approach to treatment to determine if they are a good fit.

A therapist should provide you with important pieces of information after consultation:

  • A description of the problem that is clear, thorough, and makes sense to you
  • A description of the type or approach of therapy to be used to address the identified issues. The rationale of the approach should “feel right” and make sense to you.
  • An estimate of how long the treatment may take and when you and your child will see results.
  • An  understanding of how the therapy is going to work to address your child’s needs. You'll also need to understand the goals of the therapy and feel good about the fit with the therapist.

For more information on the different kinds of therapy and what they are useful for, please refer to the following resources:

 

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