Many adults go to therapy but how about kids? And what could possibly be the reason for a child to go to therapy? Well there may be many reasons. The parents could have separated or divorced and the fallout may have been really hard on the bewildered child. There could have been a death or serious ongoing illness for someone very close t0 the child. There could be some nasty bullying against the child.
There is any number of reasons why a child might benefit from therapy. And if you choose to go to therapy, you then face the possible tricky problem of finding the right therapist.
You may not know the cause of your child’s seemingly unusual behavior but if they are bed-wetting, suffering insomnia, withdrawing, failing at school, have an eating disorder, exhibiting mood swings, taking drugs, etc., then therapy may not be just a good idea, it could be essential. To start with you could talk things over with your family doctor.
Then if you go ahead, find a therapist who works with children and, if possible, in the area which seems to be causing trouble to your child. Remember the golden rule that if the therapist is not the right fit for the client, the sessions should not continue. Find someone else.
No matter how professional and experienced your therapist might be, if your child is unhappy in their presence, you should not put the child through a double nasty experience of talking about their fears to a person they don’t like.
And there are other professionals you can consult beside a therapist. Certainly the teachers at your child’s school, maybe the parents of their friends and your family doctor. Knowing about the background is not just helpful, it is critical.
Recommendations from a professional or former patient can be helpful but don’t take on a therapist just because they are qualified and available. You want the best for your situation. There’s nothing wrong with interviewing a potential therapist – by phone is good – asking whatever questions you like regarding their suitability for your child. You are in charge of therapist selection, you are paying the bills and it is your child.
In some cases your child may be best served by a psychologist or by a social worker. Different specialists for different problems. Investigate the possibilities before making your choice.
The age of your child is a possible factor too. Some therapists concentrate on young children, pre-schoolers, while other specialists deal mainly with teens. Match the child with the therapist.
Be part of the help team. Sending your child to therapy and leaving it to the expert is not right. The family must work as a team. Give encouragement to your child, set time aside to discuss what has happened in therapy and what will happen in the next session – become directly involved in the helping of your child.
Panic is not the way to go. Treat your child’s problems with the seriousness they deserve. Seek help as soon as you believe there is a problem. Work with your child and share their success as they come through with flying colors.
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