Today’s children face an overwhelming amount of challenges that are unique to this generation: Social Media, constant distractions from our environment, family disruptions, social worlds merged with technology and much more. Sometimes our kids need a mental health professional too. Finding the right therapist for your child is certainly a challenge that should be undertaken with great care. With all the options across Long Island, how do you know who to choose?
The first step should be to reach out to anyone in your social or familial circle that has ever worked with a youth therapist. Your child may be experiencing similar issues to that of someone else’s child, and if someone you personally know and trust can vouch for a professional they have experience with, this will save you a lot of time scouring the internet or phonebook looking for a place to start.
Another healthy option may be to consult with your child’s school psychologist, social worker or guidance counselor. Experienced school counselors can often provide resources and referrals to reputable child and adolescent therapists in your area.
When you’ve found someone to contact, you must ask some very important questions. Some of the answers you seek may be published on the therapist’s website or online profile, so try and research their online presence before making the first call. What is the therapist’s background and training working with children? How often do they meet with parents? Will they be in contact with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor? What are their thoughts about medication?It is imperative to ask these questions and come to understand the values the professional holds.
What Kind of Therapy Does Your Child Need?
Youth counselors employ a number of different strategies depending on age and what exact issues the child is facing. For example, Play Therapyinvolves toys, action figures, games, and art to help small children express themselves and describe their concerns. This seems to work best for pre-K or elementary school-aged children who struggle with emotional problems. Then there’s Group Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy, and Behavioral Therapy, all of which use different purposes and methods to produce specific results.
Most importantly, find someone you and your child trust. Without a strong bond of trust, how can you or your child fully allow the professional to help? Being knowledgeable about the space will help you make an informed decision and put your family on the road to mental health and harmony.