How Do I Choose a Good-Fit Counselor for my Child?

After many trial and errors in the world of therapy via counseling, I have come up with some suggestions that may just help other parents.  I am discussing a counselor by the definition of – a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.

How to Choose a Counselor for your Child

The time has come, you have done all what you feel you are capable of doing for your child; your child needs the guidance of a professional trained to help children overcome various situations or disorders. There are a multitude of reasons why a parent may wish to seek counseling services for their child, this could range from mood disorders to anxiety or even assistance in helping the child cope with a parents divorce. Whatever the reason you feel your child could benefit from counseling; there are some important things to think about and note before choosing a counselor for your child.

  • Be Aware of Personality Traits that Work Best for your Child – Every person, whether young or old, opens up better to a person who has a specific tone or energy about them. Everyone feels comfortable opening up when they are speaking with a person who is able to display the personality traits that match with who they are as an individual. For example, a child who doesn’t respond well to strict demands, may not be well suited with a strict, demanding counselor personality.
  • What Type of Experience Does the Counselor Have – Nothing is worse than getting into a session with a counselor just to find out that they have no clue what is going on. Be sure that the counselor you choose for your child has experiences with the situation or issue that your child is facing. A counselor working with a child should also have some experience in adolescence, not just adults. Do not be afraid to ask the counselor about their experiences and expertise in the area you are seeking therapy for.
  • Meet With Multiple Counselors in Multiple Locations If Need Be – Be aware that counseling is therapy to help your child, if at any point you feel that this counselor is not a good fit for your child, do not be afraid to ask the counselor for references to other locations or other counselors. A counselor is someone who is trained to help people, which means they know that they may not be the best fit for every family. It’s important that you and your child feel confident in the therapy sessions, otherwise it’s a waste of everyone’s time to attend, including the counselor’s time.
  • Listen to and Trust your Child – You are the parent, you are the one person in this world who has spent a majority of your child’s life with them. Listen to your child, if he/she is not comfortable with their counselor then it’s not a good-fit for your child. Therapy is there to help your child overcome whatever may be going on, if the child isn’t confident and comfortable during sessions then it won’t be beneficial to their emotional growth. With that being said, some anxious children may take time to adjust to a new person. Just be open minded and listen.

There are so many things to think about before picking the best counselor for your child, but ultimately you are the one who calls the shots. Therapy is there to help you as a parent and help your child be a kid and move on from whatever is happening. Sometimes, a child may be diagnosed with a mental health issue and will require ongoing therapy to ensure their emotional growth. There are other scenarios where a child simple experienced some trauma, whether minor or major, and simply needs some therapy to clear their mind and move forward.

Whatever scenario you find yourself in, remember that your child’s feelings are valid and if you feel they need some therapy to cope with their feelings so that they can engage in a healthy, fun loving childhood then do not be afraid to seek a good-fit counselor. Therapy is there to help everyone and it does not mean that something is wrong with you or your child; seeking therapy simply means you are being a strong parent who realizes they need some help for their loved one.

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Do You Know how Hard it is ….

To sit and listen to people say awful things about you? To sit and hear that you are some huge negative person when in reality you know that you are a positive thinker and do nothing but try to spend your extra time sending positive thoughts to everyone you can,  is such a hard thing to go through.

How I handle it is to take a moment to remind myself who it is that is speaking. Is this person a positive person? Does this person’s opinion matter? I don’t believe they are a positive person and quite honestly nope their opinion doesn’t matter, are usually my answers to those questions when times like this come to play.

Life is challenging, I am forever telling you all this, so when a challenge arises that has someone degrading you and making you out to be someone you are not – just get into that happy place inside of your mind. Tune out all of the negative things they are trying to say and remember this:

The truth shall prevail and everyone’s true character comes out eventually.

If you truly are an amazing person with a loving heart then guess what? It will show in your actions, the way you present yourself and it will show in how you deal with other people. Eventually all lies get shown the light and make sure that you are the one standing in the light of truth at the end of a hard situation, because only then can you move forward in a positive direction from any challenge that you face.

Communication is Extremely Difficult Sometimes

I always had a way with words, written down on paper, yet to speak to another human being as if they are a human being with feelings has not always been my strong point when I am upset or annoyed.  It is all too easy at times to throw the blame at someone else, specifically your partner in life, when something has not been done or maybe wasn’t done to your liking.  One of the promises I made to myself for this New Year is to start being more open about my feelings, both negative and positive alike.

Working on communicating, truly speaking with someone back and forth in a real conversation about a topic that is important, is extremely difficult for me with a specific person. I find it’s easier for me to keep reminding myself of how it used to be, of things that have happened before, essentially I resort to the non-trust mode and therefore shut down completely. Shutting down isn’t going to solve any problems nor is it going to resolve the problem at hand. I realize my fault with the difficulty in communication and have resolved to work harder at letting go of the negative things I do during a conversation.

For instance, I have decided to truly let go of things people have done to hurt me in the past. I found out I was putting someone on a higher level than my own self and expecting them to live up to it. Why I was doing this, I have no clue, because I often feel I have been held to higher standards within some of my family members minds and it’s hurtful to me. I can’t believe I was doing the same thing to another person.

From now on when a problem arises or something doesn’t get done, I no longer lay blame and I no longer lash out in words or write some long email or letter to the person.  I am certain to take time to cool off and once my thoughts have been collected, sit down and discuss my feelings in the best way I know how. I also take time to apologize for maybe not using the right words or the right tone in how I am speaking. I calmly address my concern, issue, problem with the other person and we attempt to have a discussion about it.

This communication gig is a work in progress but it has certainly started to make me feel more relaxed and positive about life in general and relationships. I believe everyone should take the time to communicate effectively, efficiently and politely whenever an issue comes to light.  Remember, practice makes perfect or close to it ;-)

Is Verbal and Emotional Abuse Harder to Prove?

Scenario 1: A kid arrives at school with bruises all over his body and yet has no real logical explanation for these bruises and this kid has been arriving to school with more bruises lately.

Scenario 2: A kid arrives at school and seems to be getting grumpier on some days and even lashing out this school year, yet this is a kid who always had been a well behaved, caring kid in school.

Which scenario do you think brings more red flags to the faculty at school?

I bet scenario 1 gains more attention than scenario 2, the reason? Scenario 1 is a no brainer, this kid may possibly be getting physical abused somewhere and it’s the schools obligation to have the state or child protective services come in and investigate this child’s home environment.  Scenario 2 is a bit more difficult to determine as to whether the school would or should get involved, why? Because there could be many excuses as to why this child is lashing out; age, hormones, puberty, overtired and the list goes on. It’s a lot easier to toss an emotionally or verbally abused child an excuse for their behavior than to call child protective services to investigate further.

All forms of abuse deeply hurt a person, it’s just the hurt that comes from the “silent abuse” that only happens behind closed doors isn’t always noticed until it’s too late. Most emotionally and verbally abused children don’t admit they were in those situations until their early adult years when they end up opening up to a trusted person in their life, which all too often is a counselor or psychiatrist.  Some emotionally and verbally abused children lead extremely reckless lives and have a lower self esteem than that of your average child. You see, emotional and verbal abuse are more along the lines of word of mouth because there’s no “physical evidence” such as bruises to prove for a fact that it happened; it’s one persons word against anothers and what if that person has called that abused person a liar for so long that they are weak and don’t feel they can stand up to the person abusing them? It happens.

Many children who are abused need to have a steady adult in their life, maybe a counselor or an adult relative that can stand by their side and be open to hearing how they feel and open to listening, truly listening to this child. All it takes is one adult to open the doors to the idea of trust with this abused child and in time the child will learn to fight appropriately against their abuser. A child can not fight alone, if you are hearing a child complain of abuse in any form please step up and do all in your legal power to fight for their right to live and lead a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Abused children may not speak out on their own to everyone, but  maybe if we can all help spread the word to other parents and caregivers that emotional and verbal abuse is a true form of abuse and that we need to band together to make it STOP, then another child will have hope for a brighter tomorrow!

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Is Your Fairytale Realistic?

I never really had a fairytale idea of life, if you knew the way I grew up you would know that I didn’t have a fairytale book life nor did a lot of people, however, when I do meet a person who has parents that are still married and raised them together in one household I do wish I had that for my children. I wish that I had that for myself sometimes. The problem with hoping for that is that I grew up just fine raised by who I was raised by. I am happy with who I am. I am happy that both of my parents love me and I am just fine with the fact that the reasons my parents were divorced were reasons I would have been divorced as well back in the day.

My concern is that there are some people who have extremely high standards with what they expect in a partner, with what they want in their life long term that they hold themselves up to way too high standards and end up failing in love, life and happiness.

I think that sometimes we watch one too many romantic movies and sometimes we read one too many fairytale stories growing up or to our children that we start getting this warped sense of what a relationship and what family should be.  I think that each person wants something different for their life depending upon where they are at in life.

For some they have grown children so the love life isn’t really a priority in a long term sense but rather a partner who they can have some fun with, watch movies, go for walks, read a book with and enjoy conversation over a meal. For others who have young children and are single parents they may be seeking out a potential step parent for their children, someone who can handle having children around, maybe someone who already has children themselves and is single, perhaps the single parent looks for a supportive personality so that they have someone they can lean on from time to time.

Whatever it is a person looks for our needs must be met, however, the needs must be set in as much of a realistic way as you would set business goals for your own company. Ensure your wishes of a relationship are attainable and eventually those wishes will be met by the perfect for you person.

Remember, no one person, including YOU is perfect, however, I am a firm believer that there is a perfect for you person out there for everyone!

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