When should I seek therapy or psychological testing for my child or adolescent?
There are a myriad of life events and stressors that might require intervention by a psychologist whether or not the child or adolescent presents with obvious or visible symptoms. Death, loss, trauma, illness within the family and bullying may be situational variables that leave a child or teenager overwhelmed and find themselves without adequate resources to cope. There may be factors within the child that are not necessarily linked to environmental factors such as anxiety, depression, learning issues or ADHD which require a deeper and more objective analysis via a battery of psychological tests in order to develop a plan for intervention. Usually, when either extraneous or internal stressors and symptoms persist and appear beyond the scope of what is “typical” for your child, it might be a good idea to seek professional consultation
How do I introduce the idea of therapy to my child?
It is important to be open and honest with your child about the reason for seeking professional consultation. Preparing your child for the first session can be quite helpful and reduce anxiety and even create a positive expectation. Explaining that a psychologist is a “feelings doctor” and a caring adult who can help solve problems and feel better is a good start. The psychologist can be differentiated from another type of doctor who wears a white coat and gives shots and physical exams. Helping children anticipate questions that may come up in the initial session can also be quite useful.