How do you shop for a therapist for your teenager? Well, that's what we're talking about today
on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and
I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families to live happier lives. I lead two organizations,
Teen Therapy Center, and the nonprofit 501 organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both
here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer
your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. Hi, Kent. Hello. I'm looking for a therapist
in Woodland Hills for my 14 -year -old son. He's been suffering from anxiety and some depression.
At first, I thought it was a phase that would resolve itself quickly, but it hasn't. I've never
therapist shopped before. How do I search and interview potential candidates? And what questions
should I be asking? Thanks for your help. Thank you. This is a great question and I wish more people
would ask this kind of question because it's
really important. There's a lot of factors to consider. Here are some of the highlights that
I would want to focus on. Number one, when you're interviewing therapists as possible candidates
to work with your son, do they like working with teenagers and kids? Do they really enjoy it?
It's kind of a niche in our field. I mean, there's plenty of therapists, luckily there's plenty
of therapists in Woodland Hills who work with kids and teens. I know many of them, but not every
therapist wants to work with kids and teens. So you want to make sure that this person has experience
and knowledge and enjoys working with teens Understands teenage resistance a lot of times
we get new clients in and they don't want to be here at first and how do you Work through that so
they go, okay. I'll come back, you know, and they you know to build build that rapport and that
trust It's different than working with an adult an adult, you know, they made the appointment.
They're writing a check They want to be here
They got stuff to talk about a 14 year old may not and so how do you work with that teenager? and
hopefully when you interview that therapist on the phone and they should hopefully take some
time to talk to you to get a feel for if you want to work with this person they can explain their
process and how they work with that secondly is your teenager do they care if it's a male or female
therapist some kids don't matter some kids it matters a lot sometimes it doesn't matter to the
kid but it matters to the parents so you want to find a therapist that fits what you want also you
know do they need any cultural understanding of your particular cultural background whether
it's religious or nationality or any kind of cultural sensitivity we're all trained in cultural
sensitivity and to know our limits and know where what we know what we don't know and be respectful
of other cultures but it may be something you want to talk about make sure that that therapist
you're talking on the phone before
you book that first appointment they can satisfy your concerns there also will they respond
to someone who's as old as me, right? Maybe like, hey, I need someone younger in their 20s, maybe
early 30s. And that's great. There are plenty of therapists who can do that. They might not be
licensed yet. They may be an associate, which means they've got their master's degree. They
did their initial training. Now they're earning all their 3 ,000 hours before they can take
their licensing exam, get licensed. That's a great option too as an associate because the fee
is going to be a little lower. They're probably very excited, very eager, and they're younger.
and don't be thrown if they don't have the license yet I don't think that's a that should be something
that should stop you because the license doesn't necessarily make a good therapist therapist
means that you've done your time you passed a test that's all it means there are plenty of people
who are pretty licensed working toward their licensure
who have wonderful supervision who are really good therapists so make sure you do your product
the interview process to find out is this person going to relate to your key well also does Is
your kid going to relate better to someone in person, better than online? There's plenty of
therapists online, especially since COVID. There's a lot of therapists who are on insurance
who are doing all online, which is great because it offers affordability and mobility for people
to see a therapist. But the problem is online may create a distance between your son and your
therapist. I find in my personal point of view, in my work, I much prefer to meet in person. I feel
we do much better work. not that we can't do good work online but I think it's much richer and it's
more effective in person as you have so many things at your fingertips you have art supplies
yeah all your games you got the basketball hoop you have that that that close interaction and
it's not on a screen also when the kids are on screens
they start you know putting up other windows and watching YouTube all stuff and that can be distraction
what other else should you know obviously fees and insurance you want to make sure it's something
you can afford on a weekly basis. That's one of the reasons why I created our nonprofit, Child
and Teen Counseling. So we have therapists for every budget now. It's really exciting how many
people we can help here every week. There's a lot of questions. I'm just scratching the surface
here, but that should start you on your way. Again, when you have that initial phone conversation
with your therapist, you should feel good. You should feel like, okay, I'm in a good space. I
like the direction we're going in if you're not getting that vibe keep shopping and again there's
a lot of therapists in Woodland Hills who focus on kids and teens there's not just one there's
not only one in the valley there's several therapists who may be a good fit for your son so interview
several and make an informed
choice the best you can and you know they can't a therapist can't give you referrals for other
clients because they can't reach that confidentiality but maybe if you have a friend who's
seen a therapist maybe that friends say hey we worked to this therapist and that therapist really
helped our family. That could help too. Anyways, that's our big question for today. Thank you
so much. We love your questions. Keep them coming. I will not be here next Wednesday, so we're
no tips on teen next week, but we should be back afterwards. Hope you guys are all having a wonderful
Hanukkah and getting ready for a great Christmas and New Year's and Kwanzaa and every other
holiday that we have in December. Thank you so much. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint with Teen
Therapy Center and Child and teen counseling, and if you want to email us your questions, you
can email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. Thanks, guys. Have a great day. Bye
SHOPPING FOR A THERAPIST IN WOODLAND HILLS (OR ANYWHERE ELSE)?
If you’re looking for a teen therapist in Woodland Hills, or anywhere else, there are many factors to consider. Any therapist who is worth considering should take the time to speak with you, explain their process and answer your questions. Here are some of the most important things to think about when you talk to a potential candidate:
- Does this person actually like working with kids and teens? Not every therapist wants to. Working with resistant teens is very different from working with an adult who actually chose to be there. You definitely want someone who has some expertise and passion for working with adolescents.
- Will your teen be more comfortable with a male or female therapist? Make sure you know so you can target the right people when you’re searching.
- Do they have an understanding of your cultural background, and is that important to you? All therapists are trained to be culturally sensitive, but it may be important to you to have someone from a specific background.
- Is this therapist someone you can afford on a weekly basis? You want this to be sustainable for you because therapy can take some time.
There’s more to talk about, such as why you may want to consider an Associate Therapist over a Licensed Therapist, and more. We get into it in this Tips on Teens:
“Hi Kent. I’m looking for a therapist in Woodland Hills for my 14 year old son. He’s been suffering from anxiety and some depression. At first I thought it was a phase that would resolve itself quickly, but it hasn’t. I’ve never ‘therapist shopped’ before. How do I search and ‘interview’ potential candidates? And what questions should I be asking? Thanks for the help.”
Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.