Where Can I Find A Child Therapist?

By: Mary Elizabeth Dean

Updated July 28, 2021

If you're considering having your son or daughter see a counselor, you've probably asked the question, a quick Google search will give you a long list of health professionals in your area ranging from marriage and family counselors to counselors. However, going through a long list can be overwhelming. Health is very important, and so these steps are crucial.

Thankfully, there are other ways to find a counselor for health, similar to finding a marriage and family counselor. First, we will start by discussing the reasons why parents seek out a counselor, and how these health experts can help with many different issues.

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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 counselor, many kids struggle with family drama, school problems, self-esteem issues, and stress in general. This is to be expected; after all, life is full of highs and lows. However, bumps in the road might require your son or daughter to learn new coping skills, take on different perspectives, or improve their communication skills.

So, when should a parent seek help from a professional? Everyday situations in which a  counselor can help include:

  • Signs of Depression or Anxiety. It is estimated that 60% of kids with depression are not getting help, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association (ADAA). The number of kids with untreated anxiety is close to 80%. Many parents mistake these issues as a "phase." They do not realize that this is different from adults seeking a marriage and family counselor. Issues relating to health may demand the attention of a counselor. Chronic worry and sadness can cause long-term problems when not handled appropriately.
  • Emotional Problems. Kids experience issues that are much deeper than normal sadness or mood swings. If your son or daughter has outbursts that can't be controlled, acts out of anger in destructive ways, or exhibits emotional responses that seem abnormal, consider scheduling a session with a health professional. Your kids' health should always be a concern.
  • Behavioral Issues. Just like emotional issues, inappropriate behavior is a normal part of growing up. Parents may find it a little hard to find a healthcare provider. If your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder or struggles with a condition (ADHD, Autism, etc.) that influences their actions, learning healthy tools and coping techniques can be very beneficial for his or her mind.
  • Self-Esteem Struggles. A major battle of parents today is figuring out how to help kids feel good about themselves. Self-esteem proves to be a major issue even for adults, causing them to turn to a marriage and family counselor. School and online bullying can chip away at self-esteem and lead to chronic feelings of worthlessness. Self-esteem matters a lot when talking about your kids' health. If you've tried helping them strengthen his or her self-image with minimal success, a counselor specializing in adolescent issues might be the best person to help build a solid core and fortify your kid’s 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 son or daughter has experienced a trauma 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 care. This creates even more pain for the one who has been hurt. For this reason, it is critical to put your kid's 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 professional, and secondly by a person who understands recovery.
  • 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 counselor. Most of these behaviors indicate a problem with their health. Often, parents feel helpless when dealing with self-destructive behavior, and may not want to reach out to a health professional out of guilt or fear. They might wonder where to find counselors, but remain too afraid to act. This is normal, but moving past this fear and getting help for them right away is crucial.
  • Struggles in Life Areas. Counseling may be the answer for kids 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 counselor, kids may need counseling, too. They may be plagued by troubles in the house, have trouble fitting in at school, or can't seem to find happiness no matter how hard they try. If anything just 'feels wrong,' and you have a gut feeling that your son or daughter needs help, reach out to a counselor.

What Does A Child Therapist Do?

Fear of the unknown can cause parents and kids to avoid counseling. TV stereotypes and cultural stigma can leave us feeling like needing counseling is a bad thing. One way to combat this feeling before finding a counselor is to gain as much knowledge about the process before the first session. This way, you'll both be better prepared to receive help.

Every session is tailored to the needs of the client. Your son or daughter 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 sessions will consist of a mixture of four things: talking, doing activities, solving problems, and practicing new skills. Just like a marriage and family counselor, a counselor is trained in communication and knows how to help the client feel comfortable.

How long these sessions last and the duration of sessions depends on their needs and goals.

How Can I Help My Child?

Once a session is set, there are a few different things you can do to help.

  • First, you'll want to choose the best counselor, preferably one who is qualified, experienced, and can put them at ease.
  • You will also need to see the counselor one on one to discuss your needs and what you hope to accomplish through counseling sessions.
  • Every session is essential, so make sure to take your son or daughter to every counseling session.
  • Ensure your son or daughter does any work that the counselor has and encourages practicing skills learned during counseling in your house and at school.
  • Be patient and available. Many of the behaviors and issues that lead parents to seek counseling are frustrating and overwhelming. Know that your kid likely feels similarly. Instead of acting out of anger or irritation, be supportive and encouraging. A positive attitude tends to rub off on your kids, and can help them better deal with their emotions.

Options for Finding Help for Your Kids

There are several different options, as outlined below:

School resources: Unlike finding a marriage and family counselor, many schools offer counsel free of charge for students in need. Taking advantage of services at school can be practical since they won't have to miss a whole day of class to see a  counselor. Also, school psychologists are usually well-trained in the needs of adolescents. They have firsthand knowledge of the specific world the kid spends the majority of their day in.

Local counseling centers: The most traditional choice for parents wanting to find counselors is to call and schedule a session at a local counseling center. Local counseling centers may help with stress. Local counseling centers may also offer a marriage and family counselor. If they are covered by insurance that will fully cover the cost of counseling, then this may be a good option for your family. When choosing a counselor, make sure to ask about their background and experience.

Online Counseling: Studies show that online counseling is a useful alternative to face-to-face counseling when helping manage symptoms of common 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 kids. Online counseling services work by connecting parents with a counselor who can guide them through the counseling process, while providing access to helpful resources. Kids may 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.

Online counseling can help them grow and cope with the world around them. BetterHelp has devoted the online counseling platform Teen Counseling to serve kids ages 13-18 years old. Unlike face-to-face counseling, which may not be readily available (especially in schools with no counselor, or rural areas that do not have counselors close by) online counseling through Teen Counseling is easily accessible. You can set them up with a tablet, laptop, or smartphone and let them speak with a counselor while sitting on their bed. The licensed counselors at Teen Counseling can give them the tools to cope with whatever they’re going through. Read below for reviews of counselors, from those whose kids have received guidance in the past.

Counselor Reviews

“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.” Learn more about Karen Lindsay
 
“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 counselor 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.” Learn more about Ryan Bullard

Conclusion

Regardless of the route you choose, keep in mind that you have the responsibility of helping your kids realize their best selves as parents. For these reasons, you might go through the process of hiring a marriage and family counselor. By opting to find a counselor to assist them with his or her problems, you are offering the best for your kids.


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