Child Therapists and Counselors in Grand Rapids and how it Works

child therapists counselors mental health pensive girl

This is Where You Start When You Think You May Need a Child Therapist

Realizing that you need help for your child can often feel very overwhelming.

When I learned that my daughter needed to see a child therapist, I didn’t even know where to start. It’s not something people talk about much in social circles (though I hope that stigma changes) so it’s hard to get recommendations.

We eventually got her help, though, and she’s much healthier mentally now.


 What Age can Kids See a Child Therapist or Counselor?  

Mental Health Issues can Crop up at Any Age

I was shocked when my daughter became an emotional disaster in kindergarten. She had loved her young fives class the year before and had been a happy, enjoyable child. But as soon as “being in school all day, every day” hit, she lost it. 

The first four weeks of school she sobbed uncontrollably 24 hours a day, desperate to go home and never return to school again. Her teacher was fantastic, and everyone worked hard to help her, but we were clearly out of our league. What was going ON??

Her Alger Pediatrics doc recommended a local child therapist and at our first visit, the lightbulbs went off. My child has anxiety.

She has never had to hold it all in for a long school day before. She loves the safety of her home and felt overwhelmed when she had to leave for long periods. She is used to mom and dad’s presence being her safety net

It took a year of therapy before we started seeing significant progress, but it was worth every minute, and every penny. She’s still in therapy, and probably will be for the rest of her life. It’s simply what she needs to do to be healthy. 

I’m so grateful that there is help in West Michigan for kids and adults like her. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health! 


Grand Rapids Best Child Therapists and Mental Health Pros

These top mental health professionals in Grand Rapids were voted on by our readers. These are the pros that parents trust and kids love.

(If you’re new to Grand Rapids or find yourself needing any kind of new medical professional, check out our comprehensive guide to the Top Dentists, Pediatricians, ETC for Kids in Grand Rapids. See the number-one-voted doc for several categories, and lists of excellent runners-up.)

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Voted Top Mental Health Professional for Kids

Diana Osipsov at Roots Therapeutic Specialty Services

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Diana Osipsov at Roots Therapeutic Specialty Services

Roots Therapeutic

Voted a Top Mental Health Professional in West Michigan

Roots is a specialty clinic which provides “bottom-up” therapy and treatment. We believe that in order to find healing, to maximize growth and development, the root of any issue must be identified and resolved – rather than treating surface-level symptoms, we believe that getting to the core issue is what brings about lasting healing and change.

Anxiety, anger issues, difficulties with sleep, impulsivity – these are often symptoms of a deeper core issue (trauma, sensory system needs, emotional dysregulation, autism, attachment issues). We will work with you or your child to meet the underlying need. You will find that symptoms will naturally alleviate when the core issues are addressed and unmet needs are recognized and satisfied.

When a tree is provided a firm foundation with deeply planted roots, we see its leaves and flowers naturally blossom. Likewise, when a person is afforded a secure base from which to grow and develop, we see their potential flourish. A person can choose to try to mend and repair broken or damaged flowers and fruits on a tree, can even paint the leaves to make them appear healthy and whole, or he can nourish and water the roots and watch the fruits naturally blossom!

Brina Tiemeyer at Wedgwood Christian Services

Wedgwood Christian Services Counseling

Voted a Top Mental Health Professional in West Michigan

“We have a pretty happy household these days. We definitely take it one day at a time. I really do believe Wedgwood was instrumental in getting us to where we are today.”

A Note From Brina Tiemeyer's Office

When life gets difficult, Wedgwood can help. Wedgwood Christian Services offers counseling for children, teens, adults, and families. Our therapists have the skills, experience, and compassion to help you create meaningful and lasting change. Whether you’re dealing with life changes, mood or anxiety issues, or other difficulties with behaviors or relationships, our experienced therapists can offer the understanding, support, and practical guidance you need.

We believe that while life’s challenges may bring pain, they also provide opportunities for growth. We want to help you use your unique gifts and strengths to create a life of joy, purpose, and connection.

1 – Osipsov, Diana (Roots Therapeutic Specialty Services)
2 – Tiemeyer, Brina (Wedgwood Christian Services)
3 – Orr, Renee (HRA Psychological Services)
4 – (TIE) Wiersema, Chelsea (Counseling Solutions of West Michigan)
4 –  (TIE) Zinser, Carrie (BRAINS)
6 – Blury, Tara (Thornapple Counseling)
7 – Brouwer, Brooke LMSW (Anchored Family: Psychology & Counseling              Associates)
8 – Bowden, Jennifer (Helen DeVos Behavioral Health)
9 – Stevens, Geoff (BRAINS)
10 – Wolff, Michael (BRAINS)

 Mental Health and Insurance  

Need a Child Therapist? Here’s Where to Start

Now that you’ve done your own informal evaluation of your child and want professional help, where do you even start to find child counseling? 

You start with insurance. Health insurance can cover a broken bone or a flu shot, but when it comes to mental health care, things are less clear.

Before you take your kid to a bunch of appointments, find out how much your insurance will help. Or if you don’t have insurance, see what other resources are available.

Child Counseling Options if You Have Health Insurance

If you have health insurance, call your provider. They can give you specific information about how much coverage you have and which providers participate with your plan. From there, you can approach some of the specific resources in this article.

Child Counseling Resources If You do Not Have Health Insurance

Even if you do not have insurance, you still have options. 

  • In Kent County, Network 180 is the best place to start (800-649-3777).
  • In Ottawa County contact Community Mental Health (866-512-4357).
  • Another valuable community resource is 2-1-1. You can call 2-1-1 from any landline phone and a trained staff member will help get you in touch with the appropriate health or human service organization you need. (If you are calling from a cell phone, the Kent County number is 1-800-887-1107 and the Ottawa County number is 877-211-LAKE.) Anytime I have called, the staff have been very helpful and well informed. There is no cost for this service and it is available 24-7. You can also check out Kent County 211 online here or Ottawa County 211 online here.
  • You can find more options at Free Clinics of Michigan, where you can search by location.

Does it Matter Which Child Therapist or Counselor I Choose?

You obviously want to find a counselor who specializes in working with kids. If your child has a specific diagnosis such as autism, ADHD, ODD or anxiety you will want to make sure the counselor is experienced in that area. 

Most parents prefer to meet with the child counselor first, just to make sure it will be a good fit for their kid. Please remember: just because the first child therapist isn’t a good fit doesn’t mean you won’t find one. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error – and, while potentially frustrating, that’s ok!

Some West Michigan child counseling centers include:

Some more specific options include:

 Talking to Your Kid About Their Mental Health

What to Say to Your Kid Who Needs a Child Therapist

If you view this as a positive experience, your child will, too. 

I framed my daughter’s therapist appointments as a fun opportunity to figure out how her brain works and how to feel more calm at school and in certain situations. I told her that her doctor had tricks for helping her brain to not worry as often. 

We were excited to meet someone who was going to help us! And to this day, she looks forward to her counseling sessions. (Partly because her doctor gives her tootsie pops after each meeting, but also partly because she enjoys the peace these visits bring.)

It’s normal to have some reservations about seeking counseling for your child, but if you can see the bright side, they will, too. 

If you have a child with a lot of anxiety, give them some choices about seeing the counselor. (Do you want to write down some questions for the counselor ahead of time? Do you want me or Dad to go with you? Is there something you would like to take with you to help you feel more comfortable?)

Whatever angle you think is going to work best with your child, use it. When more people use these services to help their children, the stigma occasionally associated with them will melt away. 

Remember — happy children (help) make for happy adults. Why not give them the tools to help them for the rest of their lives? Care for your family’s mental health. Your future will thank you for it.

1 thought on “Child Therapists and Counselors in Grand Rapids and how it Works”

  1. HI, Thanks your article is great help for guiding kids counseling and therapy . We also have therapies and counselors for providing
    bright future for childrens… we also offers many services and therapies for more information please give a visit to us at Anxiety in kids grand rapids. Have a nice day ! thanks

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