Choosing a therapist for our kids could feel as daunting as any other unknown journey we experience as parents. We know that the ‘right fit’ is so important, yet how do we get started?
What’s important to know, ask, and notice?
I put this list together after working with dozens of parents on this very journey and guiding them into the unknown with a few ideas.
1 – Ask around (school, friends, neighbors, family). While anyone they suggest could a) not be in your insurance plan or b) not necessarily a great fit, it could be a place to start.
2 – If using insurance, get the list of covered providers from your insurance’s behavioral/mental health plan. With this list, split in ½ with someone (friend/spouse) and share the task of calling.
Questions to ask upon calling:
– Are you taking new clients?
– Do you see/specialize in pediatrics (you could specify your child’s age ‘teen’ or ‘toddler’ to really narrow this down)
– If they claim that they see ‘any’ or ‘many’ ages, ask what percentage of their clients are kids (your kid’s age!). – If there is something specific with your child (social anxiety, depression, LGBTQ+, bullying, substance use etc) then ask if they have a focus on kids with these issues. – Many therapists also have background working in the medical setting so if medical illness is an issue impacting your child, do reference this so the potential therapist knows.
– Ask about an option to ‘meet and greet’ where they may offer a 20 min visit to assess for a good match between your child and the therapist, or even a brief 10 minute complimentary phone call
– Ask about their structure; do they meet with the kids alone only, bring in parents at some point, offer feedback in between sessions? What can you expect from working with them?
3 – pay attention to your gut instincts, they matter! This is the person you will be employing, working with, to help you help your child. It is important that you feel comfortable about this choice.
Remember this ~ the therapist is the expert in their field yet you are the expert on your child. Trust your instincts in forming a connection with a potential therapist. You will be working together in some capacity with, on behalf of your child.
4 – If the office is difficult to reach or they do not respond in a timely manner or if they respond with what feels like dismissive statements or otherwise you sense they are not interested in helping – this matters!
– The treatment modality (cognitive behavioral therapy etc) may be less important than finding a great fit between the therapist and your child
– Gender/culture may play a role for your child (you could ask if they have a preference). Involve them and do not assume.
– Just because a friend knows/recommends someone does not mean that person is the ‘right’ choice for you and your family.
Enjoy the journey, you are an active participant in this with your child ~
We are excited to announce that
Wasatch Family Therapy is starting up our Mad Science and social skills group
this summer! The group is starting June 11th and goes through July
30th for a total of seven groups. These groups are two hours long
and will run every Tuesday skipping the week of the 24th of
July. The group consist of an hour
science experiment with the Mad Science group leader and the therapists.
Followed by the last hour with the therapist working with the children on
various social skills involving play and our science experiment. Some of you
may be wondering is this group worth it for my child? The answer to that
question is yes! Below are some of the benefits that kids can receive from our
social skills group.
Social skills group builds self-confidence in
the group setting which then goes to all areas of your child’s life.
Allows them to make new friends and learn how to
maintain healthy friendships going forward.
Develop new problem solving skills for school
and home settings.
Ability to cope with changes that may occur in
their day-to-day life.
A better understanding of their own emotions and
then how to connect with peers through empathy.
Play is a child’s primary language which means
we will be doing a lot of it during the group!
Group play can support emotional healing and
Improves independence and creative thinking.
Allows a safe place to make decisions and learn
to accept and understand their responsibility for these.
We look forward to this group every year as we see each of the children make great leaps forward in their abilities. If you or anyone you know is interested in our social skills group reach out to us at 801-944-4555 to sign up now!
Parents are a powerful force to be reckoned with, and inviting them to be a part of the play therapy process is a critical component to creating lasting change in the child’s world. So why is this so hard to do?? Clinicians new and seasoned alike struggle with allowing and inviting parents to participate in play therapy for a variety of reasons, but learning skills in building a strong alliance with the parents is a MUST in child and family therapy. In this dynamic workshop, participants will learn the hows, whys, whens, and what-to-dos of parent-child play therapy utilizing Attachment Centered Play Therapy. You will learn attachment centered play therapy interventions, as well as take a look at your own roadblocks in a hands-on, experiential, nurturing learning environment. Get ready to learn and play!
***Please note that the address on the flyer has changed. The correct address is listed above***
“Today on Fresh Living Clair Mellenthin, a therapist at Wasatch Family Therapy, sat down with Brooke with some coping skills anyone can use to help deal with anxiety. About Clair Mellenthin: Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S is a sought after speaker, author, and trainer.” – KUTV 2News
Did you know that April 20th has been deemed a National Day of Action? It’s the 19th anniversary of the school shooting at Columbine High School and a day that many communities are planning events designed at keeping kids safer in schools.
I thought I’d let you know about something I am doing to help professionals, parents and teachers like you on this day and challenge you to take part with me:
It’s the School Safety Summit, and it’s totally FREE to register!
I will giving a presentation called Putting Back the Pieces After Community Violence: Using Play Therapy To Mend Broken Attachments
And other top mental health and play therapy experts are talking about:
Reducing bullying using the Nurtured Heart Approach
How we might actually be increasing aggression by trying to keep kids calm
Toolkits for schools to prepare for crisis responses
This is a politics free event focused entirely on how to help parents and teachers feel more prepared to help the kids that they care so much about.
As a child, the world is full of fears and challenges, real and imaginary, that adults cannot recollect from their own childhood. Most of these childhood fears and challenges are temporary and eventually outgrown, but studies show that one in eight children suffer from an anxiety disorder and anxiety has become one of the most common mental health conditions in children. At some point in life, children will experience some form of anxiety, however, when the symptoms become distressing and interfere with normal living then the anxiety can be considered and classified as an anxiety disorder. The mind and emotions of a child are continuously changing and developing at different rates, so it may not always be easy to distinguish normal fears and challenges from those that may require additional attention. That is why it is important to important not only to assess the severity of the symptoms that obstruct daily living, but also be aware of the developmental progress of each individual child. Assessing if the fears and behaviors are appropriate on a developmental level is crucial for each child. Many situations will cause children to display anxiety; however, if they continue beyond reasonable age norms, or are intense and distressing, then it could likely be the beginning stage of an anxiety disorder. These intense or distressing anxieties can eventually cause more serious distress, destroy a family system, and interfere with a child’s development or education.
Anxiety disorders that your child could be experiencing are:
Generalized anxiety disorder. With this common anxiety disorder, children worry excessively about many things, such as school, the health or safety of family members, or the future in general. They may always think of the worst that could happen. Children with generalized anxiety tend to be very hard on themselves and strive for perfection. Children with this disorder are self-conscious, self-doubting, and excessively concerned about meeting other people’s expectations. Along with the worry and dread, kids may have physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, or tiredness. With generalized anxiety, worries can feel like a burden, making life feel overwhelming or out of control.