How Can I Find The Right Children’s Behavioral Therapist Near Me?
Updated August 27, 2020
Finding the proper care for kids can sometimes be tricky and sometimes even stressful, especially for parents. Despite this, regardless of what a child's condition is, you can narrow your search down and eventually find the right doctor for his or her needs. This article will show you some practical ways you can find someone who specializes in children behavioral disorders.
What Disorders Does A Behavioral Therapist Treat?
Several mental disorders can present themselves at a very early age and can cause significant challenges. Some examples of the types of conditions that a child behavioral therapist regularly treat are:
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD)
- Conduct Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
These types of professionals can also work closely with those with language and intellectual disabilities, as well as emotional ones like depression and anxiety.
However, depression and anxiety are typically identified in later childhood, but it is also possible for these kinds of conditions to go undetected in earlier years. This is because some kids have not yet developed the vocabulary to express their feelings and emotions. Additionally, some doctors have trouble distinguishing ordinary emotions and childish behavior, such as crying and fear, from ones that are more persistent distress found in disorders like major depression. 
Post-traumatic stress disorder is also a possible condition that can be observed during one's childhood, but it can also often go unnoticed for the same reasons that depression and anxiety can be.
Nonetheless, a therapist will be able to treat all of these conditions by teaching kids new skills that they can use to keep symptoms under control.
Therapy Vs. Medication
Medication can be a very useful, and sometimes necessary tool in helping to treat child behavioral disorders, such as the ones mentioned in the previous section; yet, relying on medication alone will cause you to miss out on another effective avenue - therapy.
Some medications, like antidepressants, stimulants, and mood stabilizers, can be quite powerful and do work wonders, but they do not cure disorders. Therefore, finding additional ways to manage symptoms can be effective for the long-term treatment of them.
Therapy is also an excellent option for those who are hesitant about having their children taking medications such as these either due to side-effects, dependency, and other personal issues with them. Some people are also non-responsive to various types of drugs and need another option.
However, therapy can be effective in ways that medication cannot, and vice-versa, and they complement each other well, which why a combination of the two is recommended for an assortment of mental conditions. 
Finding The Right Therapist For Your Child
The remainder of this article will be dedicated to giving you advice on how you can find a reputable therapist for your child. A good children's behavioral therapist should not be hard to come by if you follow these tips, and most of them can be used immediately, as long as you have an internet connection.
Consult With Your Family Doctor Or Pediatrist
Any doctor that has experience in helping children will be a valuable resource in finding a therapist. Doctors, like pediatrists and general practitioners; however, are not therapists so they will not be able to provide counseling and therapy. Nevertheless, some psychiatrists, who are also medical doctors, are trained in psychotherapy.
These types of medical doctor primarily give out diagnoses and prescribe medication to treat conditions, which is something that a therapist cannot do, unless he or she is also a licensed doctor. Because of this, a therapist will not be prescribing drugs for your two years old's behavior condition.
Other than diagnosing and recommending medication, doctors can also refer you to a behavioral therapist or a specialist for a child behavioral disorder. For example, if your child has ASD, someone who specializes in that condition can be recommended to you. However, a behavioral therapist who has general knowledge in treating a variety of conditions can also be extremely helpful.
The behavioral therapist that your family doctor or pediatrist refers you to will often be in your healthcare network as well, which makes it a seamless transition because, in most cases, they will accept the same insurance, if it covers therapy.
Most children behavioral disorders are also treated with medication, so if you can connect with a therapist via your doctor, you will be getting the most optimal course of treatment by tackling the condition from two angles.
Do Some Research
Performing a search on Google or whichever your preferred search engine is should yield some results and give you some local options for you and your child.
There are many different inquiries you can make to find what you are looking for; typing "children's behavioral therapist near me," will probably provide you with at least a few local choices that are relevant to your needs. You can also be more specific and write "therapists for my 4-year old's behavior problems", and find similar results.
The great thing about finding a therapist through a search engine is that there are often reviews for them, and you can find out if other people have had success treating whichever child behavior disorder that yours has. This will give you confidence that this is the right therapist for your child, and that he or she is in good hands.
While a doctor can provide you information for a therapist that you can contact, being able to branch out and choose who you think is best is hard to beat. Additionally, if you feel that the therapist you currently have is not working, you can always try another one.
Some parents who have kids that are already diagnosed with a child behavioral disorder might also skip visiting a doctor to find recommendations and opt for this method instead because it is quicker and you do not need to make an appointment to search for a therapist online.
One-On-One Vs. Group Therapy
Another thing that you will also need to determine when trying to find the right behavioral therapist for your child is whether they will benefit from group therapy or one-on-one sessions.
Group therapy sessions can be excellent for helping to develop your child's social, communication, and problem-solving skills, but unfortunately, it is not for everyone.
The more antisocial the individual is, it becomes increasingly more unlikely that group therapy will be helpful and effective, and instead, one-on-one meetings will be optimal. In these personal settings, kids can still learn skills to treat their behavior conditions, but they just will not be interacting with others. 
In these private sessions, they can still improve their social skills, which can help them work with others in the future, and possibly transition into a group setting if feels appropriate and the child is in favor of doing so.
Where they go is largely up to the parent or guardian because they know their kids best. Are they disruptive, defiant, or even aggressive and violent? If so, group therapy is probably not ideal for now, despite most likely being cheaper than individual therapy sessions.
Either option will be beneficial though because, without any treatment, behavioral disorders are unlikely to improve at all, and can escalate out of control during one's adolescent years. 
Conclusion: Try Online Therapy
Finally, if there is a lack of therapists in your area, you can try using online therapy, which has proven to have a high success rate in treating behavioral conditions, like the ones discussed in this guide.
Even for those who do have therapists in their area to choose from, people still enjoy online therapy sessions because it is a convenient and affordable option compared to participating in ones in person.
At BetterHelp, online therapy is just a click away, and you and your child will be able to take advantage of counseling and therapy from licensed professionals in the comfort of your own with flexible scheduling. Scheduling and traveling to appointments just adds to stress - by opting for online treatment, this can be avoided entirely.
In addition to being able to help your four years old behavior problems, these sessions are also excellent for parents and guardians who want to learn coping skills and strategies to be able to help their child at home. Behavioral disorders in children can be very overwhelming and stressful for adults, but they can become manageable, which will decrease pressure on you.
Regardless of which route you decide to go with, you will be able to find a solid treatment plan for any child behavioral disorder, and with education, you can also make a difference at home. Treating behavioral conditions requires participation from family and friends, and sometimes even teachers and peers at school. With everyone's help, life with a behavioral disorder can get easier.
To learn more about symptoms of behavioral disorders, like ADHD and ASD, BetterHelp's advice section has all of the info you need to recognize the signs of them and be as accommodating as you can be.
- Ogundele, M. O. (2018). Behavioral and emotional disorders in childhood: A brief overview of pediatricians. World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, 7(1), 9-26. doi:10.5409/wjcp.v7.i1.9
- American Psychiatric Association. (n.d.). How Do I Choose Between Medication and Therapy? Retrieved July 9, 2019, from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/medication-or-therapy
- American Addictions Centers. (n.d.). How to Find Help in Treating a Behavioral Disorder. Retrieved July 9, 2019, from https://www.psychguides.com/behavioral-disorders/find-help/