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Posted by Michelle Rigg on 10/25/2021

Finding A Therapist Or Other Provider For Your Child Or Teen

Finding A Therapist Or Other Provider For Your Child Or Teen

As a parent, you want the very best for your child or teen. By now, you’ve probably researched the best schools, the best pediatricians, the best dentists, and more.  It’s no different when your child is needing emotional support-you want to find the best counselor, psychologist or other provider for them.  But you may be unsure of how to get started.  We’ve put together our top tips to helping you find the support you need and the care your child deserves.

Tips To Choosing Quality Providers 

1. Identify your child’s needs and the types of providers appropriate for your child’s team. 

Your “team” of providers usually includes your child’s pediatrician, but if your child has mental health issues or special needs, it may also include, mental health professionals, occupational, speech, or physical therapy, or other therapeutic providers. Start by making a list of the types of services and providers you are looking for. If you’re not sure, use our glossary to search types of providers or watch some of the videos about different types of therapists and what they do.

2. Understand your healthcare coverage.

Take the time to become knowledgeable about your healthcare coverage. You’ll need to figure out what services are covered and become familiar with the costs (premiums, copayments, deductibles, co-insurance, etc.). Make sure you understand the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers and whether or not your plan has out-of-network benefits.

3. Gather referrals and start researching.

By using a trusted directory site such as www.kidstherapyfinder.com you can read provider reviews and endorsements shared by others and even contact providers directly. Other ways to get recommendations for therapists, include: 

  • Asking your child’s pediatrician
  • Speaking to your child or teen’s school counselor
  • Searching through your health insurance company’s directory
  • Inquiring with friends and family, particularly parents you know who have children with similar needs
  • Reaching out to parent Facebook groups you trust in your area 

4. Make a list.

Now that you have some referrals it is time to make a list of all the providers you accumulated in your preliminary research. This list will be the provider list that you will begin to vet in the next step.

5. Research providers and programs.

Once your list is made, gather more research about each provider on the list to determine if they might be a good match for you and your child. Visit the provider’s personal website and take note of the hours of operation, insurance information, staff bios, expertise, about page, and training and certifications.

6. Contact the provider.

Once you have developed several vetted provider options, reach out to the strongest options for further exploration. It’s helpful to be prepared before you contact them with questions.  Also try to be upfront about your needs and expectations. This will help to insure you are getting the best services possible for your child. 

Pro Parent Tip: Through www.KidsTherapyFinder.com you have the option to chat with providers on our site through direct messaging, or you can use our click-to-call button on your mobile devices. Whether you choose to call directly,  e-mail or message the provider, it is important to keep in mind that any identifying information by your child may be compromised when sending an email through a non-secured method that is not HIPAA compliant.

 Potential questions may ask during the initial phone contact (or face-to-face meeting in step #7 below) may include: 

  • Do you have any current openings for my child? If not, is there a waiting list? How long is the waiting list? (And if no openings, can you recommend any other providers?)
  • Do you accept __________ (name) insurance?
  • What are your fees? 
  • What services and programs are offered?
  • How many years have you been a provider OR/How many years has the center been in operation?
  • Do you accept children who require extra support such as ______________ (state your child’s needs).
  • Does your program have any special features or benefits (such as a nature area, music, etc.)? 
  • How often will I be updated on my child’s progress? Will these reports be phone calls, written reports or meetings? 
  • How will you communicate with the rest of my child’s team (pediatrician, specialists, therapists, school)?
  • What experience/training do you (or any other providers) have?
  • How are background checks conducted on staff?
  • Can you provide me with the contact information of at least two references, preferably parents of current or former clients?

 

7. Set up your first meeting.

Once you have narrowed down your choices, the next step is to set a meeting appointment with the remaining provider candidates. Remember that a positive working relationship between you, your child, and the team of providers involved in your child’s life is very important. In fact, “goodness of fit” is recognized as one of the best predictors of treatment outcome.

When seeking a therapist, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist or other provider or program, it’s important that you feel comfortable that the provider has the knowledge, skills, and experience to help your child safely and sufficiently. You also want to find someone your child or teen can connect with. Look for providers that are compatible with your family’s preference’s values, and personality.  

8. Make your decision.

Once you’ve visited with several providers, it’s time to determine who may be the best match for your child and family. Discuss observations and feedback with your child and/or trusted third party to gauge acceptability. Clarify information, and if applicable check references to verify credentials.

9. Prepare your child. 

As developmentally appropriate, talk to your child about the new provider. Discuss the names, the arrangements, and try to develop a fun ritual with your child, such as a secret handshake at drop off. Transitions and meeting new adults can be challenging for many children, and it may take some time for you and your child to adapt. Be patient as all parties involved become familiar with the people and processes involved. 

Ready to begin?

Hopefully by following these steps and using the information shared by the providers listed on www.KidsTherapyFinder.com you will find it easier to get the support your child needs. 

Need more help?

Simply go to www.KidsTherapyFinder.com and search our directory to find a therapist for your child today. If you need any help or have any questions, use our Ask-Our-Child-Experts or  Contact Us features.

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