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Finding A Mental Health Professional For Your Teen

doctor with teenager

There is currently a plethora of mental health professionals, many of which specialize in the most nuanced needs, available in America. Narrowing down the options to find a mental health professional for your teenager can seem overwhelming. Below are several tips that can help you through the process and ensure you choose a mental health professional that is the best fit for accommodating all of your teenager’s mental health needs. 

  • Get referrals: ask your child’s pediatrician and/ or school guidance counselor for recommendations for a mental health professional.
  • Insurance: all insurance companies are required to provide partial or full coverage for mental health services, but the details of what will be covered regarding frequency of visits, percentage covered, if the professional must be in network or not, will all vary depending on your specific insurance. Make sure you know what your insurance will cover!
  • Understand costs: there are a variety of different mental health professionals, each charging different rates. Some mental health professionals accept insurance, while others may not. It is important to understand your out-of-pocket financial responsibility prior to selecting a therapist. 
  • Call and interview potential therapist: prior to scheduling an appointment make a phone call to ask a potential therapist the following questions, to ensure their practices align with yours and your child’s needs:
    • Can you please explain your background and training working with adolescents?
    • How often do you meet with parents?
    • Are you usually in contact with your client’s schoolteachers or guidance counselor?
    • What are your thoughts about medication?
    • How many times a month would you recommend my child see you?
    • How long do children usually stay in therapy with you?
  • Interview at least three mental health professionals before you make your selection.
  • Although you are likely eager to find a mental health professional for your teen, take your time and be patient. Remember that this is a process, and trust that you will eventually find the right therapist for your child. 

It is important to remember that every therapist is different, and not all will be a perfect match. If your teenager gives you feedback that he or she does not necessarily jive with the therapist selected, try a different one. Bear in mind that simply because one option appears to be a good match on paper does necessarily lead to a foregone conclusion that the therapist will, in fact resonate with your teen. In order for a mental health professional to effectively help and support your teenager, your child must feel comfortable with the professional selected. Furthermore, although your teenager’s mental health professional may be able to provide you with guidance as to how best navigate certain situations with your teen (depending on the circumstances), the professional’s primary focus is your teen and his or her mental wellbeing. 

For Information and Support 

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at or through our contact form.

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