“ Your child does not need a crisis to qualify for therapy. Any change in behavior that impacts their day-to-day life – like frequent tantrums, worrying, extreme shyness, or relationship issues – can benefit from tools and support. ”
While the goal of therapy is different for every child and family, a therapist can teach your child skills for managing big feelings, boosting self-esteem, and improving self-regulation. A child therapist can also provide you with tools to best parent your unique child.
A child therapist is for you if you or your child is:
Struggling with emotions and/or behaviors
Having difficulties in school, with friends, or at home
Feeling overwhelmed after a difficult transition or traumatic event
Navigating a recent medical or developmental diagnosis
What is a child therapist?
What is a child therapist? A child therapist works with a child to understand their emotions, build upon their strengths, and increase their coping skills. They are highly trained professionals who work in various settings, including schools, medical institutions, and private practices. Typically, child therapists work with parents or caregivers and advise on any issues that arise at home. In some cases, child therapists collaborate with your child’s educators to ensure consistency among providers’ strategies and interventions.
Child therapists answer questions like:
How can I understand my child’s behavior better?
How can I help my child’s self-esteem
Why aren’t typical parenting strategies working for my child?
Types of child therapists include:
Marriage and Family Therapists
Clinical Social Workers
Clinical or Counseling Psychologists
Why are child therapists so helpful?
According to the CDC, treating a child’s mental health as soon as possible can help children reduce challenges at home, in school, and with friends. With their therapist, your child gains tools to cope with everyday stressors or more significant events, such as bullying, divorce, or a loss. Therapy can be short term (e.g., transitioning to a new school), long term (e.g., generalized anxiety), or even preventative (e.g., if there is a family history of mental health concerns).
Child therapists are helpful for understanding…
WHY your child may feel or behave in certain ways
HOW your child’s emotions or behavior are influenced by different causes
WHAT can improve your child’s coping skills and behaviors
Therapists understand that YOU (parent/caregiver) are the expert of your child.
Therapists collaborate with YOU to add more tools to your parenting toolbox.
Therapists offer YOU insight and clarity into your child’s social, emotional, and behavioral functioning.
The Details: Child Therapist
What do parents receive?
1:1 Time for you and your child to explore and support behavior and emotions
Strategies to feel more equipped as a parent
Knowledge of what behaviors are developmentally appropriate for your child
Tools around family strengths while supporting the areas that are difficult
Tools around child’s strengths to increase self-confidence and coping skills
Referrals for additional providers, such as a psychiatrist or a developmental pediatrician if indicated
Improved mental health and coping skills for the whole family
Some therapists are trained in early childhood. For example, play therapists can work with children as young as toddler years.
Initial consultation to ensure a good fit for your needs.
Intake sessions often include a diagnostic evaluation consisting of parent interviews and paperwork to learn your child’s family history, strengths, and areas for growth.
Some therapists will ask for parent-only sessions, child-only sessions, and full-family sessions during this intake.
Weekly sessions (30-50 minutes) according to the child’s age and goals.
While sessions are primarily with the child, parents are a key component in therapy and will be involved in some capacity.
Therapists will collaborate with other providers or educators when needed.
Cost/Insurance Please note: all costs vary by state and insurance provider
Most insurance companies will cover therapy sessions for in-network providers. Check with your insurance company for any limitations, such as the number of sessions they will cover.
If a preferred therapist is out of network or does not accept insurance, you can try calling your insurance company to request out-of-network reimbursement.
Child therapists can average $150-$350 per 50-minute session without insurance. The intake and diagnostic evaluation usually cost more. Some therapists offer sliding scale fees.