Seeking Counseling Services

How to Setup Counseling for Your Child

Here are some general guidelines to follow to set-up counseling services dependent upon the type of insurance you have or if you are currently without insurance.

Private Health Insurance

If you have insurance, you can call your company to get a list of preferred providers to find out if they have the expertise you need.

If none of the preferred providers has experience in these areas, you can call your insurance company again to let them know that none of the providers can meet your child’s needs. They may provide you with another counselor’s name or allow you to choose your own counselor off-panel.

Oregon Health Plan

If your child is covered by the Oregon Health Plan (OHP medical card), s/he is eligible for counseling at no charge to you. Call (503) 742-5335 if your child has Care Oregon. Call (503) 345-5704 if your child has Family Care. Request a counselor that has experience working with the age of your child and with the issues of concern.

Oregon Crime Victim's Compensation Program

This program helps pay for counseling that a victim may need as a result of a crime. If a report has been made regarding your child to police or child welfare, your child may be eligible for Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC). It is a grant program, not an entitlement program, so whether or not CVC awards the grant is based upon the evidence provided by investigators. CVC requires that you use available insurance first. However, CVC can reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments after they open a claim. If your child has no insurance, CVC works like an insurance program to assist with medical and counseling needs as a result of a crime. The program will cover a child abuse assessment at Children’s Center, regardless of whether or not there are findings of abuse. Law Enforcement, Victim Advocates with the District Attorney’s office, or Children’s Center Family Support Program can provide you with a CVC form and assistance in filling it out. Applications can also be downloaded from Crime Victim’s Services Division. If you or your child was a victim of a crime outside of Oregon, the above website has a link for obtaining applications from other states.

No Insurance Coverage

If you have no insurance, your child may be eligible under the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) program described above. If not, you may need to find a counselor who can work with you on a sliding fee scale. This means that your income is considered and the counselor works to come to an agreement with you on a payment for counseling that is less than the regular fee.


Please keep in mind that counselors are busy. Parents have reported that they have left multiple messages for several counselors and some have never called them back. Persistence is required!

How to Choose Your Child's Counselor

Most child victims of abuse benefit from a thorough mental health assessment to determine counseling needs. Abused children may or may not exhibit problem behaviors or signs of distress. A lack of problem behaviors should not be the basis for deciding for or against counseling. A belief (actually a hope) of many caregivers is that their child will forget about the abuse and, therefore, counseling is unnecessary.

Some caregivers believe that counseling may even remind their child of memories that would normally fade away without intervention. The hope that memory of abuse will fade is common. However, some memories are stored through the senses and may not be cognitive (within the child’s awareness), with the possibility of causing problems in the future.

Counselors treating young children use a variety of methods to assist children in bringing worries, false beliefs, and traumatic events to the surface in a safe environment. Counselors that work with children and youth usually include caregivers when setting goals and determining when milestones are met. Caregivers can also expect to receive education and support from the counselor in learning how to assist their child toward healing.

Children are amazingly resilient. If caregivers are able to meet their needs and give them support, children can heal and prosper. With your love and encouragement, and support from professionals when needed, you and your child can recover from child abuse.

You know your child better than anyone else and you are the consumer. It is your funds or your insurance that will pay for the counselor’s services. A good fit for you and your child really matters. It is helpful to meet alone with the counselor prior to him/her seeing your child. Plan ahead with questions or concerns that you can ask the first time you meet. Continue with the counselor only if you think s/he is the right person to help your child.

Billing and Payments

• Am I covered to see you with my insurance policy?
• Do you take private insurance?
• Do you accept Oregon Health Plan?
• Do you take a sliding fee if I must self-pay?
• Do you accept Crime Victims’ Compensation?

Questions to Ask Your Child's Counselor

• Are you licensed in the state of Oregon? What is your license? What is the phone number so I can check to assure you are in good standing with your licensing board?
• What kind of experience do you have treating children who have been sexually/physically abused/exposed to domestic violence, etc? Also ask about any additional special needs your child might have. For example: What experience do you have working with children who are hearing impaired? Developmentally delayed?
• What ages of children do you have experience working with?
• How many years have you provided counseling to children when there are abuse concerns?
• What are your methods and your approach to counseling?
• Do you have a special area of interest? Training? Expertise?
• How long will it take? How can you tell if my child is getting better?
• How will you involve me or us (the parents)? How about the rest of the family (siblings)?
• Will you allow me an opportunity to express my concerns about my child without talking in front of my child?
• What if you and my child don’t get along? What if we don’t get along? What are the complaint procedures for you/your agency? How can I request another counselor if I am not satisfied with your services? Can you see my child after school or in the early evening? (give times and days that are convenient for you)
• Do you offer treatments for children who have been abused that have been studied and have been demonstrated to be effective?
• Do you have experience in treating children who have been abused and their families?
• Are you familiar with and have you used trauma-focused therapy with children who have been abused?

Benefits of Therapy for Children

• Reinforce that the abuse is not the child’s fault
• Reassure children that nothing is wrong with them ~ they were not chosen or picked over other children
• Learn strategies to manage the consequences of being exposed to trauma
• Receive help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), dissociation, avoidance, if needed
• Integrate the exposure to precocious knowledge (i.e., acting-out behavior)
• Secure the sexual identity process
• Regain control of sexual, behavioral and cognitive developmental processes
• Provide clarity and reinforcement of appropriate boundaries
• Manage their protective feelings of offender
• Reinstate trust in the world and belief systems
• Manage the effects of being abused ~ research suggests that effects of sexual abuse can be minimized if dealt with up front or immediately after a disclosure instead of in adult life

Benefits of Therapy for Parents/Caregivers

• Reinforce that the abuse is not the parent’s fault
• Manage your protective feelings of offender
• Reinstate trust in the world and belief systems
• Manage secondary trauma symptoms
• Gain knowledge of treatment process
• Appropriately talk to the child about what happened
• Appropriately talk to the child about boundaries and safety
• Access support when normal support system may have failed (for example, other support systems may be supporting the offender)

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