Tips for Finding a Therapist for Your Child
Written by: Kristin Davis
Graduate student intern, Santa Clara University
Research, Research, Research!
The first thing you want to do is do your homework. Finding a therapist that is right for your teen takes time and effort! When you call a potential therapist, make sure you ask research questions based on the advice below to help increase the chances of a "good fit"!
- Location & Availability of the therapist
- Is his/her practice open?
- Can he/she see your teen after and before school?
- Short-term or Long-term Needs of your teen
- Training of the therapist
- Is the therapist certified or credentialed?
- Methods of Payment
- If you have health insurance, start by calling your insurance company and inquiring about your mental (or some call it behavioral) health benefits.
- Don't forget to ask how many sessions are covered and what your co-pay will be.
- Your insurance company will give you a list of covered therapists in your area.
- Some therapists will not take insurance, so you have to pay out-of-pocket. If this is the case, ask your insurance company if you can be reimbursed.
- Some therapists offer a "sliding scale."
- Therapist Orientation
- Each therapist is trained and practices under a certain "orientation."
- For example, a therapist with a cognitive-behavioral orientation believes that thoughts and behaviors are tied to symptoms, and will conduct therapy aimed at changing behaviors.
- In contrast, someone with a family systems orientation believes that symptoms are related to whole family dynamic of the teen. Often times, parents or siblings can be brought into therapy sessions as well.
- Therapist Experience
- Does you therapist have experience with adolescents?
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Network and ask for referrals!
The following are resources to help you find a therapist:
- UCompare HealthCare
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies: Find a Therapist Service
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Give Your Teen Options
Let your child pick a few therapists. Not all therapists on your list will be a good fit. With many factors to consider including money, orientation of the therapist, and experience with teens – the most important thing to consider is that he or she is a "good fit" for your teen.
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If your teen experiences an immediate crisis, please call 911!
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013