Yesterday my husband and I met with a new counselor. We're cautiously optimistic that she will be a good fit for our daughter. Our appointment with Miss A was actually just part of the interview process. We'd been in contact, via email, several times this past week. Knowing what I know now I can confidently say there are a few signs that all parents should look for when searching for a child therapist (aka counselor).
1.) A qualified therapist will call any previous therapists and professionals to confer with them. Miss A asked me to sign releases of information for my daughter's private therapist, psychiatrist and school staff. Then she took the time to contact them. I've had several instances where professionals have asked for releases, but never took the time to contact those who know our story.
2.) They have names and numbers of other professionals you can add to your child's team. My husband and I have been talking about getting our daughter a more formal autism diagnosis. This will hopefully make more services available to her. After telling Miss A about this and that we weren't sure who to go to or who even took our insurance, she produced a list of people who took our insurance that she had first hand knowledge of. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow morning?
3.) A highly qualified therapist will provide practical solutions based on your child's unique needs. When we told Miss A that my daughter was having challenges with not taking things that do not belong to her, she suggested some useful tips. One of which I was already doing. (Telling my daughter to say, "I'm struggling." When she feels tempted to take something.) She said, "Consequences for impulsive behavior will not work with your child. Instead you need to have a plan to prevent this behavior."
4.) You hear the phrase, " I will let your child lead how our session goes. She will choose what we play with" Miss A told my husband and I all of the different play options that were available to her. She definitely knows the direction she is going to go, but she wants to make it a fun experience for my daughter.
5). As you leave your child's potential therapist tell you that they can't wait to meet your child next week. This gave my husband and I great comfort hearing this.
Stay tuned. I will update after our next appointment that is scheduled for this coming Saturday.
Here's hoping that this is my daughter's new philosophy very soon.