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What Your Child's Therapist Wants You To Know

The most helpful emails in health
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Dear Parents,

I just met you today. We spent an hour together discussing your child, your parenting, your life and your struggles. We came up with a plan for how to help your child, and maybe we made another appointment. An hour isn’t long enough.

This is what I wish you knew:

I wish you knew that I’m a parent too. I wish you knew my kids aren’t perfect, and neither am I. I wish you knew I’m not judging you for any of your parenting choices, and I don’t think you’ve ruined your kid. I wish you knew the extent of poor parenting I’ve seen, and how I think you’re doing just fine.

I wish you knew that I trust you. I know I’m an expert in my field, but you’re the expert of your child. I will never know him as well as you. I may see her for 50 minutes a week, but you’re parenting her the other 10,030 minutes. I trust you when you tell me what she needs. I trust you when you say a strategy won’t work for her, and I want to hear more about why. 

I wish you knew if I think your child may have a diagnosis, I really think about how to talk to you about it. I know that information is powerful and can be helpful, but also harmful. I am intentional with my language in an effort to be sensitive. I try to think about how I would want to hear this.

I wish you knew I want your family to see success. My job is more than just a paycheck to me. I spend time outside of session reading, researching, planning and preparing for you and your child. My job is challenging and at times draining, but coming to work fills me with hopeful energy. I love the work I do and the people I work with. I genuinely hope things improve for you, and I want to work with you.

There’s a saying in the mental health world, “If you think you’ve ruined your child, you probably have. If you think you haven’t, you definitely have.” I wish you knew I think that’s true for all of us. The only parents I worry about are the ones who think they have it all together.

We’re in this together.


Your Child’s Therapist

Originally published: September 10, 2015
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