Choosing a Good Therapist for Your Child or Yourself

How to find a therapist:

First, talk with your doctor about your situation, how you feel, your child’s symptoms. He or she will no doubt know therapists who can help with your specific issues. There are other places to start besides your primary care doctor, too. For example, many employee health care plans offer confidential help lines where you can ask questions and find therapists in your network. Another source is the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline (1-800-950-6264).There are many kinds of professionals who offer many different types of therapy. Their individual approaches are based on their particular training and experience. The main ones include:

Psychiatrist. A doctor with a medical degree who can prescribe medication. He or she often helps with more severe issues, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Psychologist. A professional who has a PhD or a PsyD in clinical psychology. He or she can treat a full range of emotional and psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, but in most states cannot prescribe medication.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). He or she has a master’s degree plus 2,000 hours of supervised psychotherapy experience. This type of mental health professional focuses on the problems of everyday living, like stress and anxiety, relationship conflicts, and mild depression.

Clinician Nurse Specialist. Like psychiatrists, he or she can prescribe medication. This type of professional works either independently or in collaboration with a supervising physician.

Licensed Social Worker/Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Similar to a counselor in terms of education and training, a social worker focuses on solving social problems, connecting clients with appropriate resources, and helping with referrals to other professionals, if needed. - Harvard Medical School Newsletter

TYEF belongs to a gender therapy collaborative and can help locate a trained gender therapist in your area or give you hints how to find one. Some of these questions might help you gain insight about the training or level of interest of a therapist. You might find some more important then others. Ask the therapist, do you have any experience with trans youth? What ages? How many? Do you go to gender conferences? Do you read journals or books about transgender youth?Do you follow WPATH Standards of care? Do you see them as guidelines? Do you object to transition medical care for youth? Do you feel comfortable discussing the gender spectrum?If you are not happy with your choice you can always change. Contact TYEF for support!

We have a famous saying at TYEF! We teach the kids that “reaching out is a sign of strength.” Encourage them to share and keep communication open.