Steps to Take When Choosing a Psychologist for Your Child
It is very normal and common for parents to delay finding psychologists for their children even when they know that talking to a professional would be beneficial. While some parents may delay finding professionals for their children because it can be difficult to find someone you trust, who is close to your home, and who has available appointments, there are others who dragged their feet in finding psychologists because they are worried about whether or not these professionals will be able to help their children. No matter why you have delayed in hiring a child psychologist, it does not have to be complicated to find the perfect person who will be a good fit for your child and will offer him or her the help that he or she needs.
Ask for Recommendations
One great way to find a reliable and reputable child psychologist in Dubai is to ask close friends or professionals in your life who they recommend. While many parents shy away from asking a paediatrician or a school counsellor for a recommendation, these professionals will know about the reputations and abilities of child psychologists in the area and will generally be able to give solid recommendations. Most paediatricians and school counsellors will keep information on hand for parents who find themselves looking for psychologists for their children and are happy to share this information.
If you are worried about asking close friends for a recommendation because you do not want them to know that you want your child to speak to a psychologist, then there is nothing wrong with only asking professionals for advice. Doctors are a wonderful resource and will not talk to anybody about your query, which will give you peace of mind that your family’s personal information will stay private. Another way to get information about a psychologist without sharing information about your personal life with friends is to go online and research psychologists in the area. This can give parents a sense of control over the process, especially in the early stages of trying to find professional help.
Call to Ask Questions Before Making an Appointment
While it can be a significant relief to have the name of a great child psychologist and to want to call him or her right away, it is important that you call and speak to someone in the office about the credentials, background, and specialty of the psychologist you are considering for your child. You may want to ask how long he or she has worked with children, what kind of communication with parents he or she offers, and what his or her stance is on using medication. It is important to call and ask these questions before setting an appointment for your child as you may find that you do not agree with the policies of a particular child psychologist and would be much better off choosing somebody else for your child’s care.
It is important for parents to remember that if they do not like the answers given to them or are worried about whether not the psychologists they are considering will be able to help their children, they are under no obligation to use them. Choosing a psychologist is a very personal choice and one that can take time.
See If They Offer a Consultation
The next step to take after vetting the psychologist you want to hire it is to set up a time for a consultation where you, your child, and a psychologist can all meet each other and sit down to talk. Be prepared that there may be a fee for this initial consultation but this will give you an excellent opportunity to get to know the therapist you are considering hiring and to see how he or she interacts with your child. Of course, their relationship and interactions will change over the course of their therapy together but it is important as a parent to feel comfortable leaving your child with a stranger. By meeting with the child psychologist before your child has an appointment with him or her, you can quell any fears that you have and also answer any questions that your child may have about counselling.
Don’t Be Afraid to Meet Multiple Child Psychologists
It is completely normal after an initial meeting with a child psychologist to want to go ahead and schedule an appointment for him or her to talk to your child. However, if you are lucky enough to have more than one psychologist in the area to choose from, then it is advisable to meet more than one potential psychologist before making an official appointment for your child. After you have met one child psychologist, you’ll be better prepared when meeting with another to determine whether not you are comfortable with him or her and if you think that he or she will be able to offer your child the care that he or she needs.
Some locations only have one child psychologist in the area and this will limit your choices and abilities to meet with multiple professionals. However, if you are able to talk to more than one child psychologist, you’ll be able to learn more about different types of therapy that they offer and will feel more comfortable that you have chosen a psychologist whose personality will mesh with your child’s.
Be Willing to Ask Questions
It is very easy to become overwhelmed when speaking to any kind of doctor and a child psychologist is no different but parents need to make sure that they are comfortable and willing to ask questions related to their children’s care. Because there are many different types of therapy available for children, it is imperative that you find the child psychologist who offers the type of therapy that will best benefit your child. While most every child will benefit from any type of therapy as long as it is provided by a reputable child psychologist, understanding the type of therapy that he or she prefers to use on a regular basis will help you make your decision.
It is a good idea to do research on available types of therapy that are used with children so that you are prepared with an understanding of the pros and cons of various types and which one you think your child will best respond to. While younger children often benefit from play therapy, older kids tend to respond better to group therapy. Finally, it’s a good idea to speak to the child psychologist about whether not you and your family are a good candidate for family therapy or if that is something to consider in the future.
Be Open with Your Child
While parents do have the final say in the child psychologists that they hire for their children, it is always a good idea to involve children in the discussion and decision-making process as much as possible. Your child may feel more comfortable with either a female or male psychologist, depending on his or her situation but without asking your child about his or her preference, you may never know this. The final decision is, of course, up to the parents, but involving the child in the decision-making process will make him or her feel not only involved but also as though he or she has some control over his or her life.
It is especially important to involve your child in making a decision about which psychologist he or she wants to see if he or she has gone with you to multiple initial consultations. It can be difficult, especially for younger children, to understand why they are meeting with different doctors and what their role will be in their future. By preparing children for a meeting with a psychologist, parents can make this transition significantly easier while ensuring that the child gets the help that he or she needs.
Ask the Psychologist for Literature
The psychologist you choose for your child will likely be able to provide you with literature that you can read together as a family to prepare for the counselling sessions. Some psychologists, especially ones who work with significantly younger children, often have literature geared towards the child so that the child feels prepared for their first meeting. This will generally make it significantly easier on the parent as the child will be more comfortable with meeting with the psychologist and significantly more willing to talk to him or her.
If at any time the parent of a child feels worried about whether not the psychologist he or she is considering or has chosen is a good fit for the child, then there is nothing wrong with finding another professional to help. Red flags need to be paid attention to and may include a dismissive attitude on the part of the psychologist, insufficient experience or training, or multiple complaints from past patients. Because you are looking for professional who can help improve the mental health of your child, this is not a decision that you should rush into, especially if you have qualms about whether not the psychologist you are considering is a good fit for your family. Taking your time when looking for a psychologist, making sure to meet him or her and asking plenty of questions, and then following up with your child after his or her counselling sessions to make sure that he or she is happy will help to ensure that you made the right decision for your family and your child.