Why is it so hard to find a therapist?

Many adoptive families have used therapy from the outset. Some come to it later when their child’s behaviors become worrisome or interfere with life at home and/or school. Either way, parents seem to run up against the same issues. What kind of therapy is best for my child? How involved should we be? How much does this therapist know about adoption? Or about attachment or trauma? And will it be covered by insurance? How will we pay for it?

These stressors are compounded by the fact that families may already be in crisis or at a loss for how to help their child when everything they’ve tried seems to be ineffective. While parents are dealing with a child’s destructiveness, aggression, depression and other intense emotions and behaviors, there is little brain space and energy left over to discern who to trust with your child’s well-being.

By the time I speak with other adoptive parents, they’ve typically done a Google search or maybe used an online therapist directory but understandably feel reluctant to make a cold call. Other times they’ve called everyone who seemed like a possible fit only to find their waitlists are very long or they’re not accepting new clients or their insurance provider may not even cover the cost of the services they offer.

What often underlies these calls is a parent’s desire to find that silver bullet, the therapy by whatever name (play, art, EMDR, neurofeedback) that will reach their child, empower them as parents, and bring the whole family closer together. Parents are looking for clinicians who are going to start with the belief that parents know their child best but need more knowledge, help with techniques, and the confidence to do the emotional work.

There have to be more resources available to our community and they should be easy to find and available to those who need them. Here are a few:

CASE is a mental health organization serving the foster care/adoption community through direct clinical services http://adoptionsupport.org/member-types/adoption-competent-professionals/

BPAR is a non-profit organization for anyone whose life has been touched by adoption; offering individual, family, and group therapy https://bpar.org/ . They accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Tufts, and out of pocket payments.

JRI is one of the largest human services providers in the state offering residential and outpatient/community based services https://jri.org/services/behavioral-health-and-trauma. They accept Mass Health.


Do you have a clinician or agency you’d recommend to other families? Please share here.

diane-circleAbout the Author

Diane Tomaz is an adoptive parent of two boys and the Director of Family Support Services at MARE. She loves supporting families through the adoption process and brings a wealth of professional and personal knowledge to the task. You can email her at dianet@mareinc.org.

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