Choosing the Right Therapist

When entrusting the care of your child to a helping professional, you have a right to know the provider’s qualifications.

There are many modalities (styles) of play therapy, special ways of working with children and teens.  Most  therapists who specialize in working with kids have some skill in several modalities and great skill with at least one modality.  Children do not usually have the vocabulary to communicate their inner feelings. This is very important. Toys are the words, and play is the language, that a child uses. A trained and experienced counselor understands this language of play and can help. Here are some specific questions to ask about the counselor and about the kind of play therapy the counselor will be doing.

  • What special training do you have in the area of child or teen counseling?
  • Which style(s) of play therapy do you have supervised training and experience using?
  • How many clinical hours of supervised child, teen or play therapy counseling do you have?
  • As a parent, am I welcome in the room during the play therapy session?
  • What style of play therapy would you use to help my child?

Finding the right therapist is an important step in the healing and growth process.


  1. I currently am having issues with my preteen not applying herself in school. I want to say it is because of my divorce with her father 5years ago, but I don’t want that to continue being an excuse. She has also expressed in front of teachers that her father does not want her. Again I know this is a very painful thing to not feel loved by your mom or dad but I have also explained that she could lean on me and that we can’t let someone who wants to hurt us stop us from doing what is important and that is working on our future. That many people or things will be there to try and get in our way but we need to be strong and later these people will have some answering to do. And in the mean time it’s all about her. My advice does not seem to be enough Help! What else can I do or what am I doing wrong?

  2. Debra Totton

    It must be very difficult watching your child struggle with feelings of not being loved. Searching for love and not finding it can last a lifetime.
    Divorce can be hard on children, especially when they hit the preteen years. If domestic violence was involved it can be even more confusing.
    You are correct that it is all about her and what she needs now. I am wondering if she is depressed and asking her teachers and you for help?

    It is interesting that you feel you are doing something wrong. Single parenting is tough. Just being available to discuss the issues tells me she feels she can come to you. Rather than telling her she needs to just focus on her future doesn’t allow her to process the feelings she is experiencing now. Check with the school or seek out the help of a local therapist to see if you can get an evaluation, or if she can have some counseling.

    All the best,

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