Looking for a therapist... Interview questions?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by totoro, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I know some of you have had great luck with your TDOCS and others... um, not so much!
    So now that I actually have a list to choose from husband and I are going to go to a "Meeting" and interview them. See if they are right for us!
    I have one apt set up for Monday and I have a call into another therapist. We have recommendations for Psychologists and MSW's... I don't really care one way or another I just want a good fit and a caring knowledge of Mental Illness.

    So I am compiling a list of questions... things I need/want from therapist.

    K's social skills is a huge one for us. I would also be interested in CBT. Our only other therapist we kind of just stumbled onto.
    Help and TIA!!!
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, Totoro- I'm sure you know that my search has been a struggle (and that's an understatement). LOL! But, a few of the more basic things are hours of appts. (if scheduling is an issue), will they be accessible by phone between appts., do they do CBT on a child this age (important question- don't be surprised if instead of saying that they don't, they say well, we normally don't try that or find it not effective on young children -we find behavior modification works better), what age group of kids do they normally work with, what diagnosis do most of those kids have (some have most of their experience with adhd), what kinds of things can they do to help with XXX (in your case, social skills), do they have experience with mood disorders (big one), but the most important thing- meet them in person if you can and see if you are comfortable with them and if you think they'd interact with your child well.

    With me, one of difficult child's big issues was having a male, so that eliminated a lot of prospects. then, all the profs. who ever evaluation'd him felt that he needed help with problem-solving and coping skills and that this was a big problem for him and what was leading him to be self-destructive, and I had found that The Explosive Child techniques worked well, so I did want someone who thought along the lines of helping difficult child learn by teaching him to think through things by actually helping him step-by-step, rather than by concentrating on rewards and punishments all the time. But, this could be different for different people- depending on the issue. Since I found a method that worked well for difficult child, it would bother me if a counselor had not even heard of it. So, if there is something you know works well or doesn't work at all, you might want to ask about that, too.

    One of the biggest things I see- and this is just my opinion- is that there appears to be one concept (the predominant one) that medications take care of the "mood" issues and behavior contracts (rewards and punishments)- which is "behavior modifcation therapy" will teach the child they they have to conform to the world's rules anyway. Then, there is another concept (more modern and less predominant) that medications don't take care of all mood issues and that there is a different way to teach the child to live by the world's rules. Usually, a counselor will not bring either of these concepts up and will just automatically start providing whatever they are used to doing. If the parent is aware of this, the parent can decide which approach they want to seek out. Tdocs aren't always used to parents asking questions like that. But, if you choose one approach, it is good to ask about which approach the counselor is going to use- and make sure you're in agreement about their attitude toward mood cycling to begin with. That's just my opinion- others will not share it.

    These are just my 2 cents- again- I can't say it has helped us land the perfect therapist... Good luck!!
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    You know, I never had a list. I'm not a question asker. I talk and listen and you can usually discern from that if it's what you're looking for. I've found that when you go in with a list of specific questions, you get stock answers, but dialogue really lets you get into the nitty gritty.

    I went in and explained the situation and listened to the feedback, asked what types of therapies they used and if they thought that this was something they could do. From that I could generally tell if they had experience in working with a child similar to my daughter, if their approach was going to be something that would be helpful or would set difficult child off or if I thought they were just out there or had their own agenda. And then I went with my gut.

    Sorry. Not scientific, but how I do things.
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks Ladies
    I don't know if I was going to bring an actual list but more of a mental checkoff! LOL I get wrapped up in the talking at times and forget important things like, when are they available! I would have completely forgot that one... because I have Anxiety I tend to forget a lot of things I was going to ask... so if I have an idea before hand it usually helps, me.
    I actually just made another apt. She was a school counselor and has her MSW. She worked in the Elementary level for like 25 years and now is private.
    She sounded really interested and helpful. Had suggestions on the phone. Really wants to see if she can help a challenging case like us! She asked what we were looking for.
    I am seeing her with husband alone on Tuesday. She does not take insurance...:( but I can submit claims out of network with approval.
    So we have an apt on Monday and Tuesday!
    The one on Tuesday suggested looking into the school for Social Skills group, she did this at her school here in town. She might be good because she will work with us as a family and with K or N independently. And she has a great knowledge of the School system.
    I am kind of excited to get K back in Therapy.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That sounds great Totoro! I had another thought- I don't know much about this, but I wonder if play therapy would help them, since you have young ones? I just wondered because it seems like it could help with social skills and they can "talk" while they play. I'm of the frame of mind though, that when it's the right fit, you know it. Of course, that applies for getting therapy for ourselves more than getting a therapist for our kid, I guess!