If a parent/caregiver has determined or believe their child may be experiencing sustained depression, how do the parent/caregiver find help? One of the best sources is to consult your child’s school counselor, school psychologist or school nurse. They are generally suited and professionally trained and willing to work with patents to work with parents/caregivers to locate socio-behavioral services for their students and their families.
Another means to seek services is by word of mouth. At times, other families may recognize childhood depression alerting parents/caregivers where they may seek services as well as a name of a professional.
A third method is a web search of professionals in your immediate area. Web searches may also direct parents/caregivers to child oriented, professional licensing boards as well as the names of qualified professionals, contact numbers, specialties and, in some instances, and pricing.
Once a professional is selected, it is appropriate to sit down with her/him to ask questions without the child’s presence to familiarize yourself with the services about to be rendered. Relevant questions are:
- Has the specialist worked with children having your child’s issues?
- What is their success ratio/rate?
- The type of counseling recommended (individual and/or group).
- What is the expected time frame?
- What if medications are involved?
It is recommended before a parent(s)/caregiver(s) talk to a behavior specialist, it is very
helpful to have a list of at least two (2) weeks of observed behavior/behaviors. This helps the specialist assess the situation to develop assessments, objectives and goals for working with your child.
Once your child begins their therapy/counseling, the therapist will work with your daughter/son in one-on-one counseling sessions. Parents/caregivers will be informed that it is necessary to be alone with your child to develop confidence and trust of the child with her/his therapist. Building trust is vital if your child is to work through their problem/problems.
In time, the therapist may ask family members to participate in therapy. The therapist may conclude from her/his work with your child that family issues may be exacerbating your child’s depression requiring family participation.
Another counseling strategy is group counseling. Group counseling can help your daughter/son recognize that he/she is not alone or so different than some of their peers. This counseling strategy may help your daughter/son develop friendships that could be long term.
The therapist’s/counselor’s goal to help their patient/client work through depression. Depression is not a normal way to live one’s life. Untreated depression many times can lead to serious behavioral even physical difficulties that often times preventable.