Has Your Child Seen a Pediatric Psychologist?

Updated on December 22, 2011
K.B. asks from Southlake, TX
11 answers

We're having troubles with our 3 year old that have lead us to believe we need to see professional help.
If you've seen a pediatric psychologist or counselor- did you have a good experience? bad experience? what qualifications did you look for? what should be heavily considered when selecting a provider?

Thank you in advance.

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answers from Denver on

Yes, ours did, at age 2. It was an extremely helpful experience. Not only did he have insight into our dd's behaviors but he was also able to help us as parents. He explained that since she had medical problems, and some resulting behavior issues and psychological issues (fears related to food due to a gastro problem, for example), that we would have to have new strategies for helping her and dealing with her (different from how we dealt with her healthy older brother). His tips and advice and suggestions and insight were really good. We were able to implement his plans and we all made progress. Plus he helped us see that her difficulties and behaviors were logical and not the result of us being incompetent parents (which we were at the point of thinking).

We asked her medical specialist what kind of psychologist we needed. She was able to recommend the perfect person, because she understood dd's medical issues.

So if you already have a pediatrician for him, you might ask that doctor what kind of mental health professional would be best for your child. A behaviorist? A psychiatrist? An occupational therapist? There are so many choices, and a good medical doctor often has insight into what kind of mental health professional would be a good complement to his treatment.

Our dd did not see a psychiatrist who could prescribe medication, but a therapist who dealt with behavior issues.

Check your state's licensing board when you have some names and read up on their accreditations, licenses, any past complaints, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

My son has been going to a psychiatrist for the last year. He was having so many issues that resulting in him getting kicked out of preschool.
The first one we went to we LOVED she was amazing. She took time to get to know my son and our family before making any diagnoses. She also helped us with how to better parent him. We since moved and and have found another very good one. As far as what to look for trust your gut!! All the experience in the world won't matter if the person isn't wanting to help. Good luck in helping your child, it can be a long road and it's hard to admit you need help.


My son has been going to a psychiatrist for the last year. He was having so many issues that resulting in him getting kicked out of preschool.
The first one we went to we LOVED she was amazing. She took time to get to know my son and our family before making any diagnoses. She also helped us with how to better parent him. We since moved and and have found another very good one. As far as what to look for trust your gut!! All the experience in the world won't matter if the person isn't wanting to help. Good luck in helping your child, it can be a long road and it's hard to admit you need help.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

My daughter has seen a Pediatric Psychologist--here in Wisconsin, they're called Childhood Specialists (CS).

When my daughter first started seeing her CS, her CS was a post-doc student in psychotherapy. But then the CS decided she also wanted a doctorate in psychology--she felt she could help children more with both degrees--and went back for an additional year of training.

We have had nothing but good and positive results with our CS. My daughter saw her from age 5 to age 11 for various issues involving Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), anxiety, and OCD.

There are very few certified Pediatric Psychologists, or Childhood Specialists, in our city. We were just very, very lucky we ended up with our CS. Yes, we took a gamble in going with someone who hadn't completely completed her schooling, but it was obvious from the very beginning that she and our daughter--indeed, our whole family--"clicked".

The most important consideration is that your child and you feel comfortable with the person you're seeing. For us, it was like going to see a friend, our interactions were that comfortable. And the CS should also be on the same page as you. Our CS knew that we were against using pharma drugs and were advocating diet change (organic, got rid of soy, cow's milk, gluten) and very much stressed behavior modification. SPD isn't on the books yet as a diagnosis, so the CS helped our daughter with her SPD symptoms while at the same time also helping her cope with her OCD and anxiety (which are covered under medical insurance codes).

We now have the coping mechanisms we need to help our daughter help herself. It was totally worth it. I had no idea what SPD was or what to do to help my daughter. The CS gave us valuable insights into the disorder and also helped us with coping mechanisms. It literally saved our family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

A sibling of mine started seeing a pediatric psychologist when he was also 3. A lot of what they do is play therapy, but that was also over 20 years ago. He had some pretty severe mental disorders, so it really depends on your child's needs and finding a therapist that is very experienced and current in that field.

Here are some good questions and such to ask:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

My child had seen one early. About that time. he has poor attention spand. They thought he was ODD and ADD. They don't give drugs that young. in my case never worked anyways. But they did put on behavior plan. I purchased magic 1-2-3. It good to talk to someone else. they can help with behaviors. But they really are pushing medicaiton. in my cas edidnt work. I don't like what it did to my son. Or what is going to do long term. If I were you. I would try different things out before someone tells you to medcate. if your going to psychologist there pretty much will be wanting to drug him at 6. i would try different diets,behavior rewards and plans. take stuff away.



answers from Boston on

Besides gut feel a good question to ask is why do they practice what they do? The answer should give you some insight into the kind of person they are.
This is from our psychologist (that we used more related to diagnosing behavior which ended up being dyslexia), but his advice for parents might be a good start for you. See the "Parents Guide" under "Quick Jump To" on the right hand side:
Good luck.



answers from Seattle on

My children have not seen a Peds Psychologist professionally...but I know several of them...and from what I gather through their conversations, they feel that they have a had a tremendously positive impact on the lives of many of their patients. There are a few socio-economic levels that they do not feel they have had any lasting impact, due to the lack of parental interest and follow through.

I would recommend you google what to look for in choosing a psychologist. The basics will be looking at education level, experience, ask them directly if they have had good successes in their individual practice, they are likely to answer truthfully, and you can always start by asking for referrals from your local family doc, or school counselor, or call an adult Psychologist and ask them for a pediatric referral.




answers from Sacramento on

We saw a child psychologist when our son was three, when the signs of ADHD became clear. His pediatrician referred us to the psychologist. The psychologist talked to us about what we were experiencing and gave recommendations on how to correct the behavior. When none of the suggestions worked, we moved on to a behavioral therapist and finally to the child psychiatrist. Psychologists will handle more of the strategy end of things while psychiatrists focus on medication.

We had a good experience and it was helpful to realize that when the tips from the psychologist don't work, we truly were dealing with a more serious issue and that we weren't just lousy parents.

You obviously want to find one who's board certified (if you're with Kaiser, no worries because they only hire board certified medical professionals), but the main thing is being comfortable with the person once you meet.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

My daughter saw a psychologist due to her juvenile arthritis and fear of a particular shot (she doesn't have a problem with shots and blood work, but one was particularly painful - with a burning sensation as it entered her body). He was unable to provide any guidance to help her because her fear was not due to needles... but to the burning pain that we couldn't do anything about even though we tried everything that was suggested. He was suggested by the doctor my daughter sees. We didn't try to go anywhere else because it seemed like it was a wasted effort. But one thing I would suggest is finding someone who is really good with kids and talks with kids not over/around them while the parents are there. The psychologist we saw kept talking to me instead of to my daughter and just watched her and said a few things now and then directly to her. I thought he should have spent more time talking with her than with me.

I don't know if this would help, but I'm sharing in case it is relevant - http://www.gaps.me. GAPS is a program for children and adults that focuses on dietary changes to help with certain psychological and physical conditions. I saw the doctor who coined the term "GAPS - Gut & Psychology Syndrome" speak in Dallas a few weeks ago and so many people shared stories of how GAPS helped their children or other family members.

Hope you can find the right person for your child!



answers from Louisville on

yup my childs seen someone since ave 4 it helps a ton!! it gives the children another person to talk to and they can help them in way mom and dad might not think of my child is 8 now



answers from Eugene on

When our daughter turned two, we decided we really needed help understanding and managing her behavior. We called our local parenting organization who recommended a group at our local university which has students getting their doctorate degrees in psychology. We have been seeing them for two years now on a monthly basis to provide us parenting tips and an opportunity to vent our frustrations. In addition, we see a developmental pediatrician every few months for "check ups". She also recommended a psychologist who did some testing on our daughter. It was also recommended that we take her to occupational therapy, which we did for about 8 months.

All in all, it was determined that our daughter does not have any diagnosis of a delay or disability, and is not on the autism spectrum. She actually has very high cognitive skills and as a result is highly sensitive and emotional with some sensory issues. Going to see all of these people has helped us tremendously understand her behavior and her triggers and how to manage them. We still have a challenging kiddo, but we are now much more equipped and are more confident to handle her her unique temperament.

Yes, you should seek someone out to help you and your child. It was the best thing we could have done for our family. best wishes and good luck!

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