OCD Chicago

Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment
Information for Parents

Choosing A Therapist for Your Child or Teen

Because the quality of care your child receives is so important in their recovery, it’s important to find the right therapist to work with—and specifically one who is trained in conducting Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) with children or teens.

If your pediatrician refers you to a psychiatrist, be aware that psychiatrists may prescribe medication. But medication alone is not considered to be the most effective treatment for OCD.

CBT therapy includes special exercises called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy.  Not all therapists are trained and experienced in conducting ERP therapy with children.  It’s important to find a cognitive behavior therapist who is trained and has experience treating children using ERP.  A clinician who practices ERP is usually a psychologist with a Ph.D., Psy.D., M.A. or M.S. degree, or a specially trained social worker.  Be sure the therapist is willing to conduct treatment outside the office if necessary.

If you have difficulty finding a cognitive behavior therapist, you may need to contact your local mental health association to get a referral to a CBT-trained therapist who has experience working with children.  If your city or town doesn’t have a mental health association (or a mental health worker at the local hospital) it will be harder to find the right therapist, but it’s not impossible.  OCD Chicago can help you find a therapist in the Chicago area, and can also help guide you to information about therapists in other parts of the U.S.

While ERP does not work for every child, most gain significant—even dramatic—relief from their OCD symptoms.  Proper diagnosis and prompt, appropriate treatment significantly improve your child’s chances of learning to manage the disorder and return to a happy and productive childhood.

Interviewing a Prospective Therapist

Experience and rapport are both important elements in deciding on a therapist for your child or teen.  CBT will not be easy, so having a therapist with whom you and your child feel comfortable is very important.

You will need to “interview” prospective therapists to be sure they have the proper training to work with a child or adolescent who has OCD.

Learn more about what to ask a prospective therapist

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