Parents: How to Find the Right Therapist for Your Teen

No matter what psychological symptoms your teen might have or what diagnosis he or she has already been assigned, you’ll want to find a good therapist for your teen. Psychotherapy is often an essential component to effective treatment. In fact, research has shown that medication alone is not effective. However, the combination of psychotherapy and psychotropic medication has been seen to provide the most effective treatment results.


So, how do you find a therapist that will be able to treat your teen? What do you look for? How can you find out whether that therapist is good at what he or she does? The following are questions parents can during a consultation with a potential therapist or psychologist. It’s important to bring a list of questions with you so that you can gather all the necessary information.


For instance, some therapists may not treat adolescents. Some may not work with insurance companies, which means you may need to pay out of pocket. And if that’s the case, you’ll want to know the fee schedule for sessions.


  • What training do you have in treating teen anxiety disorders (or whatever illness your child might have)?
  • Do you specialize in treating teens?
  • What is your training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other therapies?
  • What is your basic approach to teen treatment?
    How long is the course of treatment for my teen’s specific diagnosis?
  • Will you work with my teen’s primary care physician?
  • Do you prescribe medication or will my child also need to see a psychiatrist, and if so, do you work in conjunction with the psychiatrist?
  • How will I know that my teen is getting better?
  • As my teen gets older, will the symptoms change? Will he or she respond to treatment differently?
  • What types of health insurance do you accept?
  • How frequent are sessions and how long do they last?
  • What is your fee schedule for sessions?
    Do you include other family members in sessions?
  • How do you work with substance use in teens, especially if he or she is taking medication?


If a therapist or psychologist has a hard time answering some of these questions, you may want to continue your search. If he or she has answered your questions to your liking, you may want to have your teen meet a potential therapist. One of the most essential components to therapy is the relationship. The therapeutic relationship has been proven to be the most vital ingredient to seeing a client improve. In fact, there is growing research that points to the therapeutic relationship as the most significant factor in the improved well being of teens and this has proven to be true regardless of the diagnosis. Additionally, many clinicians might also agree that although there are various treatment interventions to use, without the therapeutic alliance, those treatment methods may not be as effective.


If you are searching for a therapist for your teenager, it might be particularly important to think about someone who your child will work well with. This is especially important at this age because adolescents are searching for mentors, those whom they can look up to and see traits they may want to embody in themselves.


Of course, the therapeutic relationship is not necessarily meant to be a mentor/mentee relationship. However, the therapist will undoubtedly serve as a model for your teen, and this is particularly important for your adolescent at this time. Remember that your teen is finding his or her way into adulthood. Adults who model characteristics that you would like to see your child adopt are healthy and incredibly supportive.


When you search for a therapist for your child, you might consider gender, age, and personality, in addition to their clinical specialty. Having someone who possesses both the professional expertise to work with your child’s diagnosis as well as the right personal traits can be the perfect combination for the successful treatment of your teen’s psychological illness.




Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Questions to Ask: Choosing a Therapist for Your Child. Retrieved on July 8, 2014 from: