Where Can I Find Child Counselors Near Me?
Updated March 08, 2021
If you're considering having your child see a therapist, you've probably asked the question, "Where can I find child counselors near me?" A quick Google search will give you a long list of mental health professionals in your area ranging from marriage and family therapists to child counselors. However, going through a long list of names can be overwhelming. Your child’s mental health is very important, and so these steps are inevitable.
Thankfully, there are other ways to find a therapist for your child’s mental health, similar to finding a marriage and family therapist. First, we will start by discussing the reasons why parents seek out a child counselor, and how these mental health experts can help with many different issues.
Issues That Matter: When to Take Action
Life changes and ups and downs are a part of everyday existence. Like adults who need a marriage, career, or family therapist, many children struggle with family drama, school problems, self-esteem issues, and stress management in general. Some of this is to be expected; after all, life is full of highs and lows. However, some bumps in the road might require your child to learn new coping mechanisms, take on different perspectives, or improve their communication skills.
So, when should a parent seek help from a professional? Some everyday situations in which a child counselor can help include:
- Signs of Depression or Anxiety. It is estimated that 60% of children with depression are not getting help, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The number of children with untreated anxiety is near 80%. Many parents mistake these issues as a "phase." They do not realize that this is different from adults seeking a marriage and family therapist. Issues relating to a child’s mental health may demand the attention of a child counselor. Chronic worry and sadness can cause long-term problems for the child when not handled appropriately.
- Emotional Problems.Sometimes, children experience issues that are much deeper than normal sadness or mood swings. If your child has outbursts that can't be controlled, acts out of anger in destructive ways, or exhibits emotional responses that seem abnormal, consider scheduling a therapy session with a mental health professional. Your child’s mental health should always be a concern.
- Behavioral Issues.Just like emotional issues, inappropriate behavior is a normal part of childhood. For some reason, parents may find it a little hard to find a therapist. However, there are times when a specialist can be beneficial because your child’s mental health is a priority. If your child has been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder or struggles with a condition (ADHD, Autism, etc.) that influences their actions, learning healthy tools and coping mechanisms can be extremely beneficial for his or her mental health.
- Self-Esteem Struggles.A major battle of parents today is figuring out how to help children feel good about themselves. Self-esteem proves to be a major issue even for adults, sometimes making them require a marriage and family therapist. School and social media bullying can chip away at self-esteem and lead to chronic feelings of worthlessness. Self-esteem matters a lot when talking about your child's mental health. If you've tried helping your child strengthen his or her self-image with minimal success, a child counselor specializing in adolescent issues might be the best person to help build a solid core and fortify your child’s mental health.
- Sexual Abuse or Trauma. One out of every five girls and one out of every twenty boys in the U.S. is a survivor of sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crimes. Finding out that your child has been victimized in such a way can be traumatizing for parents and cause feelings of guilt. It can be often be hard to confront these feelings, leading to a lack of treatment.This creates even more pain and suffering for the one who has been hurt. For this reason, it is critical to put your child’s mental health as number one. Getting help is the first step in recovery.
- Changes With Sleep or Eating. Often tell-tale signs of heavier issues, eating disorders and sleep problems can remain hidden. They should always be addressed, first by a medical professional, and secondly by someone who understands recovery to ensure your child has perfect mental health.
- Self-Destructive Behavior or Threats of Self-Harm. Threatsor other talk of self-harmshould never be ignored or swept under the rug. It’s enough reason for any parent to find a therapist. Most of these behaviors indicate a problem with a child’s mental health. Often, parents feel helpless when dealing with self-destructive behavior, and may not want to reach out to a mental health professional out of embarrassment, shame, or fear. Some even consult a marriage and family therapist. They might wonder where to find nearby child counselors, but remain too afraid to act. This is normal, but moving past this fear and getting help for your child right away is crucial.
- Struggles in Life Areas. Sometimes counseling is the answer for children who don't have any of the issues above, but are struggling to succeed in several different areas. Similar to how parents may need a marriage and family therapist, children may need counseling, too. They may be plagued by troubles at home, have trouble fitting in at school, or can't seem to find happiness no matter how hard they try. If something just 'feels wrong,' and you have a gut feeling that your child needs help, reach out to a child counselor.
What Will Happen During Therapy?
Fear of the unknown can cause parents and kids to avoid therapy. When it comes to mental health, TV stereotypes and cultural stigma can leave us feeling like needing therapy is a bad thing or something for others, not us. One way to combat this feeling before finding a child counselor is to gain as much knowledge about the process before the first session. This way, both you and your child will be better prepared to receive help.
Every therapy session is tailored to the needs of the client. In therapy, kids learn by doing. Your child won't be lying on a couch telling all of his or her problems to a doctor and writing notes like in the movies. Most meetings will consist of a mixture of four things: talking, doing activities, solving problems, and practicing new skills. Just like a marriage and family therapist, a child counselor is trained in communication and knows how to help the client feel comfortable.
How long these sessions last and the duration of therapy depends on your child's needs and goals.
How Can I Help My Child?
Once an appointment is set, there are a few different things you can do to help with your child’s mental health.
- First, you'll want to choose the best child counselor, preferably one who is qualified, experienced, and can put your child at ease.
- You will also need to meet with the therapist one on one to discuss your child's needs and what you hope to accomplish through counseling sessions.
- Every appointment is essential, so make sure to take your child to every counseling session.
- Ensure your son or daughter does any 'homework' that the therapist has and encourages practicing skills learned during therapy at home and school.
- Be patient and available. Many of the behaviors and issues that lead parents to google search, "where can I find child counselors near me" are frustrating and overwhelming. Try to remember that your child likely feels the same way. Instead of acting out of anger or irritation, be supportive and encouraging. A positive attitude tends to rub off on your children, and can help them better deal with their emotions.
Options for Finding Help for Your Child
If you're still reading, then it is likely that a child you know is dealing with one of the issues above, and you want to help them manage it. There are several different options, as outlined below:
School resources: Unlike finding a marriage and family therapist, many schools offer counsel free of charge for students in need. Having your child receive services at school can be practical since they won't have to miss a whole day of class to see a child counselor. Also, school therapists are usually well-trained in the needs of adolescents. They have firsthand knowledge of the specific environment the child spends the majority of their day in.
Local counseling centers: The most traditional choice for parents wanting to find child counselors is to call and set an appointment at a local counseling center. Local counseling centers may help with your child’s stress management. Some local counseling centers also offer a marriage and family therapist. If your child has insurance that will fully cover the cost of counseling, then this may be a good option for your family. When choosing a therapist, make sure to ask about their background and experience.
Online Counseling: Studies show that online child counseling is a useful alternative to face-to-face counseling when helping manage symptoms of common mental health disorders. In a study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, researchers stated that online platforms have been effective in treating feelings of anxiety and depression in children. Online therapy services work by connecting parents with a counselor who can guide the child through the counseling process, while providing access to helpful resources. Oftentimes, children will work on exercises or interactive lessons that will help them understand their complicated emotions and behaviors, so that they can learn how to deal with difficult situations.
As mentioned above, online counseling for your child can help them grow and cope with the world around them. BetterHelp has devoted the online counseling platform Teen Counseling to serve children ages 13-18 years old. Unlike face-to-face counseling, which may not be readily available (especially in schools with no child counselor, or rural areas that do not have child counselors close by) online therapy through Teen Counseling is easily accessible. You can set your child up with a tablet, laptop, or smartphone and let them speak with a therapist while sitting on their bed. The licensed counselors at Teen Counseling can give your child the tools to cope with whatever they’re going through. Read below for reviews of counselors, from those whose children have received guidance in the past.
“Karen has done an amazing job with my daughter. I was hesitant if virtual counseling would work, especially since my daughter only preferred the chat option, but Karen has exceeded all of my expectations. My daughter has made drastic improvement and others have even noticed the change! My favorite thing is that Karen cares about my daughter as a person (not just a client) because she always asks how my daughters pets are, which really means a lot to her.”
“I sought counseling for my almost 17 yo son to help with anger mgmt/emotional control and overall complicated family & life issues. I noticed a change within a week. My son is not someone who opens up easily but he has responded very well to Ryan and his advice. He now schedules his own sessions without prompting and is even starting to talk to me about some of the behavioral methods he's learning. Of note, we've had an in-person family therapist for 5 years but I've seen more progress in the one month with Ryan. Well worth it and one of the best decisions I've made.”
Regardless of the route you choose, keep in mind that you have the responsibility of helping your children become their best selves as parents. For these reasons, some of us go through the process of hiring a marriage and family therapist. By opting to find a child counselor to assist your child with his or her problems, you are offering the best for your kids.
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