There are those in the field of mental health counseling who profess to be child development specialists. Because of one’s length of experience in working with children, how can we really know if the experience was good? Do we really know if the counselor, who is now entrusted to spend valuable time with your child, knows what they are doing?
I have seen the ads of these counselors who state, “I have 18 years of experience specializing with children…” The ads go on to indicate they work with every variety of childhood issues.
With the ever growing number of children being diagnosed with autism, conduct disorders, autism spectrum disorders (pervasive development disorders), ADHD, etc.., an iconoclastic review is necessary to dispel this pervasive intrusion of “quackery” and incompetent counselors calling themselves “child development specialist, child behavioral analysis, or any other title designating them as a child behavior specialist.
The following is a list of inquiries that all parents of children seeking psychological/psychiatric intervention for their loved ones should make before they agree to allow their child to be treated. This list should only be viewed as a prerequisite, and used only as part of an extensive background on their perspective professional working with their child:
1. Request resume/Curriculum Vitae
2. Determine from the resume the following:
a. Length of time working with children
b. Type and diagnoses of children
c. Who supervised the therapist
d. Supervisors credentials as a child development specialist
e. child development related educational courses of study
f. Articles authored or co-authored related to children and what type of childhood disorders
g. What specialized training that focused on child development (normal and abnormal behavior)
3. Determine the length of time that the therapist has been licensed to conduct independent counseling in their state.
4. Request a detail of the process involved in working with your child.
Many therapists may be able to discuss the initial process that involves collecting data, but are totally incompetent when the actual treatment process ensues. They will resort to games or meaningless play that is goalless and only acts as a filler and not for any specific means to deal with the focus of treatment.
5. Discuss how you as the parent will be involved in the treatment process. Although there is an obvious confidential relationship between therapist and child, there are limits that should be clearly defined. Will you be part of the treatment process or excluded from it?
The issue of choosing a competent child development specialist is not an easy one; however, if this is an area of interest, please do not hesitate to contact me and join my network for further inquiries.