Help! I’m having trouble finding a therapist for my child.
As you search for a provider for your child, you may find that child/teen specialists are not accepting new clients. There are only so many after-school appointments and child psychologists tend to be in high demand (and low supply). Parents can feel discouraged by the lack of available providers in the Puget Sound area.
Parents should realize that they are their child’s number one resource. Child psychologists can often effectively intervene with child problems by providing guidance to parents, even without ongoing therapy sessions with the child. Such a model can be cost effective while maximizing strengths that already exist within the family. Although some children and teens are truly best served by working directly with a provider, others may be not be developmentally ready to productively engage in therapy. Also, some youths may feel daunted by regular therapy sessions, whether because of busy schedules, a sense of shame, or resistance to getting help.
While I maintain a substantial caseload of child and teen clients, I have been able to reach even more children by also offering a parent consult model of care. Within this model, parents attend an initial 90-minute intake/ consultation meeting. Prior to the initial meeting, parents complete extensive history forms via a secure client portal. By reviewing the information ahead of time, I can maximize what we accomplish in the initial consult. During the consult, I ask follow-up questions and
by the end of the consult I’m able to offer initial impressions and recommendations. Parents almost always come away with some type of action plan, which may involve a new lens through which to understand their child’s problems as well as strategies to implement right away. In many cases, an evaluation of the child may be arranged to better understand factors driving the concerns. When it comes to young children (about ages 3 to 6), I will often have the child attend an office visit (and, if needed, provide a school observation). Following the initial consult, follow-up frequency varies widely from family to family. Some parents feel that they get what they need from just the initial consultation and do not require ongoing follow-up. Many families prefer ongoing follow-up parent sessions (which may or may not include a child evaluation). Parent sessions usually range from bi-weekly to every few months, although some families feel best served by having several sessions in close succession. In such cases, the work tends to be relatively short-term. It’s common for families to continue to utilize me as a resource over the years of their child’s development with occasional meetings from time to time. Please reach out if you would like to discuss whether the parent consultation model may be suitable for your situation.