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what to expect from
a good therapist

A good therapist will help you and your child better understand your child’s current symptoms and how different areas (e.g., biological, psychological, and environmental factors) of their life can affect their current functioning.

A good therapist will explain how their proposed treatment plan will address your child’s current mental health needs.

A good therapist will also, depending on your child’s age, help your child understand their current patterns of emotions and behaviors.

A good therapist will also teach your child coping skills to help them better manage their emotions more effectively.  

Be open to feedback:

It really is true, you know your child best. A good therapist will actively listen to you and your child and be open to your feedback as you progress through treatment.

Your therapist should be comfortable with you and/or your child expressing your opinions and should encourage you to speak up when something isn’t working.

Listen to your child:

A good therapist will build a relationship with your child. Research seems to suggest that up to 50% of therapeutic success can be due to the relationship between a client and their therapist.

A good therapist, particularly in the beginning stages of therapy, will put a lot of emphasis on understanding your child and getting to know them better.

A good therapist will also listen and validate your child’s feelings. When validating your child’s feelings, it is important to understand that the therapist is not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with what your child is saying. A key component of validation is that the therapist shows your child that they accept their perspective and understand why he/she might feel a certain way in a situation.

Meet with child and potentially offer parent only and/or family sessions

A good therapist will potentially offer a combination of therapy sessions that help your child. Depending on your child’s needs, a therapist may offer individual sessions (child alone), family sessions, and/or parent individual sessions (parent alone).

A good therapist will create a treatment plan for your child that will help them learn and use tools even outside of the therapy session. That is why it may be important for you to also be a part of your child’s treatment, in order to help encourage and support them outside of sessions.

Won’t impose their values and won’t judge:

A good therapist will not divulge a lot of information about themselves. They will be interested in understanding your child and family’s perspectives.

A good therapist will create a safe space for your child to explore their mental health and provide support through honest conversations.

A good therapist will help your child learn tools and coping strategies that assist them in better managing their emotions and allow them to take ownership of their growth.

Monitor treatment progress:

You have every right to want to understand how your therapist is tracking treatment progress.

A good therapist should be collecting data and monitoring your child’s progress throughout treatment.

Each therapist may have their own way of monitoring progress, but they should be discussing with you and your child this data to help strengthen gains and problem solve around difficulties.

An example of how a therapist may track progress could look like this: A therapist who is using exposure therapy with their anxious client could track the client’s anxiety ratings before and after each session. Through tracking and monitoring your child’s anxiety, a therapist can see if these techniques are working.

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