How to Choose a Child Psychologist
By: Valerie Ling
It can be overwhelming to find and decide on a child psychologist. Even more so now in an era when many children have heightened anxiety.
If your child is in need of support, here is something to keep in mind when choosing your child psychologist: a good psychologist will view their role with you as the child’s parent, as teamwork.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Teamwork is important. As a parent, you are an expert on your child and have a unique understanding of their personality and needs. Parents often report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive from school and therapy providers. It’s important to remember that you feel they are not trying to undermine your expertise—they just want to make sure there are no cracks in the system that could hurt your child’s progress. In this case, having multiple professionals involved can help identify areas where improvements could be made.
Psychologists understand how intimidating it can feel when someone comes into your home and starts asking questions about your parenting skills or interactions with your child—however, psychologists also know that parents know their own children better than anyone else does (even themselves!).
That being said, it’s helpful for parents who are seeking services through a psychologist’s office or clinic to have open communication with them so everyone feels comfortable working together as a team toward one common goal: helping kids get healthier!
Most Parents are Experts on Their Own Child
Most parents are experts on their own child by the time they seek help. They have spent years observing their child’s behavior, learning to read his or her moods, and getting to know what makes him or her happy. There are many reasons why a parent may not be able to identify a problem with their child:
- The behavior being exhibited may not seem extreme enough to warrant concern.
- It could be that the problem has arisen recently and no one else has noticed yet.
- It might be that other things are going on in your life at this time (moving house, job loss) which distract from any concern about your child’s behavior
Most Psychologists Will Respect Your Expertise
When working with a psychologist, you should feel confident that they will respect your expertise. While they have been trained in psychology and may be experts in their field, they are also aware that parents often know more about their children than anyone else. Additionally, psychologists are trained to be respectful of children’s experiences and opinions.
Psychologists are also aware of the expertise of other professionals who often work with them (elders, teachers) as well as the expertise within themselves. While psychologists may disagree on how best to treat a child or family situation – this is because there are many different ways of approaching problems – there should never be an attitude of disrespect towards another professional’s opinion or methodologies.
Don’t Wait Until They Are Adults to Get Help
You are the expert on your child. You know him or her better than anyone else and have a unique understanding of what makes your child tick. As such, it is never too early or late to seek help for any concerns you have about their development.
Early intervention can be more effective than waiting until they are an adult to seek assistance, as children learn best when they are younger and their brains haven’t fully matured yet. Seeking out a psychologist is a team effort between parents and professionals who will respect your expertise regarding your own child’s needs.
A psychologist who works in collaboration with families and acknowledges the expertise that parents bring to the table can be a powerful ally in helping a child cope with emotional difficulties.
A psychologist who works in collaboration with families and acknowledges the expertise that parents bring to the table can be a powerful ally in helping a child cope with emotional difficulties. It’s important to understand that, as parents, you know your child better than anyone else. Psychologists are trained professionals who have experience working with children; however, they aren’t necessarily experts on your child—and for good reason.
With the tools available today, we can use psychological strategies in combination with other approaches to help children and teens overcome their difficulties. As a parent, you are an expert on your child. That is why it is so important that you work together with a psychologist who understands this fact and respects your expertise.
Article supplied with thanks to The Centre for Effective Living.
About the Author: Valerie Ling is a clinical psychologist and consultant with The Centre for Effective Living (a psychology and mental health practice) and The Centre for Effective Serving (a workplace wellbeing consultancy).
Feature image: Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash