Your child has just begun therapy and you’re mind is firing with a million questions and concerns.
Did I start too late?
How severe is my child’s problem really?
How long will he/she need therapy?
And one of the most important questions you can ask, ‘Did I choose the right therapist? Is she going to do a good job with my child?’
The truth is, there are dozens of therapists out there, but is the one you selected a ‘good therapist’?
Now, of course the first thing someone may think is that ‘good’ is fairly subjective, but in the world of therapy and any service delivery there are definitely indications of rather you are receiving great service.
Like any profession, there are those who are truly passionate and love what they do, and then there are those who are collecting a check, waiting on something better to come along. It is important to make sure your therapist is someone who is passionate about the services they are delivering.
Good therapists set themselves apart by making it a priority to make sure their patients and families understand and are educated about what is happening in therapy. Your therapist should communicate with you every session about what is being worked on in therapy, progress and provide suggestions for activities to work on between therapy sessions.
Yes, unfortunately good therapists leave homework and try to make families accountable for helping patients achieve goals. Great therapists realize that therapy is best implemented as a team approach and strive to include families as a part of the process as much as possible and inform them on their role in a successful therapy process.
While constant communication is one of the top indications of a great therapist, it is also important that your therapist be able to actually work with your child successfully and keep your
child motivated to want to continue to work. Children won’t work for someone they don’t like. Period. So while it is important that your therapist be able to connect with you as the parent, it is extra important that the therapist be able to connect with the child.
I may spend up to three initial sessions or more with a child to build rapport, get to know what he/she likes and doesn’t like, make him/her comfortable with me and understand that we are in a safe and fun place, and then explain the work we are going to be doing. If your child does not connect with their therapist or feel comfortable, they are not going to reach their maximum potential as quickly and many sessions will be a time consuming power struggle.
Adaptability. Flexibility. Reliability. Punctuality. Professionalism. I can continue naming more and more characteristics of a good therapist, but my goal was to really emphasize what I believe are the most important traits of a good therapist: communication and education with patient and family; and competence-the ability of the therapist to successfully motivate children to meet goals.
While the other traits just mentioned are very important as well, they are secondary to a great therapist being able to get your child to do what they need to do and explain to you how to do the same. It doesn’t matter if they come on time every session if your child won’t do anything for them and they are not making progress. Obviously a good therapist won’t arrive late every session, but it worked as a dramatic example.
Finding a good therapist that is a good fit for you and your family may be difficult or may you find one immediately, which is my hope. As a therapist myself, I would want all my fellow therapists to represent our profession with ethical passion, but, unfortunately, I do hear stories…
Hopefully you will be better able to determine if the therapist you have selected is going to be successful. It is my belief that if you feel something isn’t working for you or your child, follow your intuition and communicate that to your therapist or depending or the severity of your discomfort, find another therapist. You are your child’s best advocate! If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s therapy or are looking for a speech therapist, please call us at 404-606-3755!