Therapy FAQ

Finding The Right Children’s Behavioral Therapist for Your Family

While all children develop differently, some develop behaviors that may be challenging as they get older. Examples of common behavioral disorders may include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and other mood disorders. Although children with behavioral conditions can seem challenging to manage, many of the behaviors can be corrected or assisted with […]

jocelyn moyet grow therapy By Jocelyn Moyet, LMHC

Updated on May 29, 2024

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While all children develop differently, some develop behaviors that may be challenging as they get older.

Examples of common behavioral disorders may include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and other mood disorders.

Although children with behavioral conditions can seem challenging to manage, many of the behaviors can be corrected or assisted with the help of a child behavioral therapist specializing in common childhood behavior disorders.

With so many behavioral and mental health providers, clinics, and organizations present, it can be challenging to determine the right fit for you and your child.

What is a Child Behavioral Therapist?

Behavior therapists focus on helping their clients by shifting unwanted behaviors through positive reinforcement and by teaching coping skills.

Child Therapists vs. General Therapists

The human body and mind are highly complex; various developmental processes occur during different stages in life.

Child therapists have extensive education in their chosen specialty of children and adolescents. Throughout their education, they have learned how to assess and treat multiple conditions and how they affect children.

Types of Behavior Therapy

In conditions such as ADHD, parents can undergo behavior therapy to help their child with the disorder. Experts believe that parental training in behavior management can help improve children’s self-esteem and control as they exhibit commonly seen traits of behavioral disorders.

Behavior therapy in children is similar to what most think of mental health therapy but specific to children and adolescents. Psychological therapy is just one of the tools used to help children understand their condition and help with emotional and behavioral regulation. Treatment may or may not be combined with medication.

Often termed the gold standard of psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a widely used, evidence-based approach utilized by many experts in this field. Many therapists specializing in CBT feel that behavioral and psychological conditions result from distorted thinking, which can influence our behavior and emotions.

Who Might Benefit from a Child Behavioral Therapist?

All children grow and develop differently. During the typical developmental stages in childhood, it can be challenging to identify what may signal a more significant concern versus normal development.

Everyone experiences sadness, anxiety, and even irritability, but those behaviors can arrive more frequently or in an escalating fashion that may signal a parent to seek help.

Some behaviors that may warrant a visit to a child behavior therapist may include:

This is not an exhaustive list, but one that may help guide parents’ decisions when noticing them.

Childhood Mental Health

It’s common for mental health disorders to present during childhood, so as parents notice behaviors, seeking a therapist may be something to consider. Some of the most commonly seen mental health conditions seen in children are:

Children with these disorders may struggle significantly in their homes, school, and daily lives without any diagnosis or treatment.

Common Childhood Behavior Disorders

ADHD is among the most common childhood behavioral disorders. Children with ADHD often struggle with impulsivity, aggressive outbursts, difficulty concentrating or focusing, and difficulty sitting still.

ODD is less common and often challenging to diagnose, as its symptoms may mimic other common behavioral conditions, such as ADHD.

Children with ODD may experience anger, frequent tantrums, and violent behaviors toward others, and they often don’t respect authority or follow directions. Some children can grow out of ODD, but if left untreated, they can transition into conduct disorder, which is much harder to treat.

Separation anxiety is part of normal behavior and is often seen in toddlers and infants. In short, children fear being away from their parents. Children usually grow out of it, but if it lingers past toddler ages, it may be considered Separation Anxiety Disorder and necessitate a child behavior therapist.

Like Separation Anxiety Disorder, children can have depression and anxiety at various times. The concern arises when the feelings persist, and the behaviors begin to impact sleeping and eating patterns or if they become harmful to themselves.

Eating disorders in children and adolescents have grown over the years, raising more concerns about how to identify and treat them. Avoidant and restrictive eating disorders are the most commonly observed.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) falls under the behavior and mental health category as it is also considered a developmental disorder impacting brain development.

There is a wide range of symptoms and severity, with many children demonstrating difficulties with socializing, repetitive behaviors, and variances in cognition.

How to Know When Help is Needed

As a parent or caregiver, it can be challenging to determine what behaviors are part of normal development and which behaviors they need help with. As a general rule, if your child is exhibiting behaviors that are unsafe for them or others, seek help immediately.

It may also be time to seek professional help if certain behaviors cause your child significant emotional distress, increased stress, or tension in your family unit.

How to Find a Child Behavioral Therapist Near Me

When you search for a behavioral therapist, an excellent place to start may be your child’s pediatrician. Your pediatrician may use certain screening tools, and they may have specific referrals in mind.

Grow Therapy offers an easy-to-use search tool that allows people to search for providers in their area. This tool is also user-friendly and allows you to search by insurance and specialty.

A basic Google search may be helpful, but it can sometimes be overwhelming if you aren’t sure what to search for.

Another common way to search for providers is visiting your insurance company’s website. Your insurance company can help narrow down the provider selection within your network.

Lastly, don’t disregard the option of word of mouth. Consider asking for help or see if other people you know may have recommendations for a child behavioral therapist.

Find a Therapist with Grow Therapy

Raising children is hard enough; asking for help is always encouraged. While raising children with behavioral or mental health concerns can sometimes be stressful, finding the right therapist shouldn’t be.

Allow Grow Therapy to help strengthen the mental well-being of your child, yourself, and your family. Check out our search tool that allows you to find child behavior therapists near you who accept your insurance, or speak to one of our professionals today!

FAQs

  • Psychotherapy for children may be a good starting point for parents and children needing help. After the initial intake appointment, professionals may determine a better therapy plan for each client based on their findings or concerns.

  • As many adults consider therapy as talking with a professional about our mental health concerns, child behavioral therapy isn’t much different. Providers who wished to work with children and adolescents sought specific training that provided them with the tools to evaluate, help, and treat the child and adolescent population.

  • It’s acceptable to request a consultation before selecting a therapist. A good place to start could be asking how long a therapist has been in practice, what conditions they treat the most, and what population they serve. The rationale behind these questions surrounds a parent wanting to select someone with adequate training and experience, and someone with firsthand knowledge of treating their child’s condition.

About the author
jocelyn moyet grow therapy Jocelyn Moyet, LMHC

Jocelyn Moyet is a licensed mental health counselor with over 13 years of clinical experience. She specializes in mood disorders, coping skills, relationships, and self-esteem.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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