Finding an Adoption​ and Foster​ Competent Therapist

Do you think your child or your family would benefit from counseling? How do you find an adoption competent therapist and how can you tell in advance if they will be a good fit for your family? We talk with Debbie Riley, a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and CEO of the Center for Adoption Support and Education.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What type of professional can provide therapy to an adopted or foster child or family?
  • What’s the difference between being adoption competent and adoption informed?
  • Why is competency in adoption or foster issues important?
  • What do we mean be an “adoption competent therapist”? What makes a therapist adoption competent?
  • Is adoption/foster competence the same as trauma competence?
  • How can you tell if a therapist is competent to handle adoption or foster issues? Are there specific trainings that provide adoption competency?
  • Creating a Family provides a list of ways to find an adoption competent therapist on our Adoption Therapy section.
  • Is one type of therapeutic model of treatment more effective for adoptive children and families? Theraplay, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), Narrative therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), etc.
  • Should therapy with adopted kids on adoption issues involve just the child, or the child and the parent?
  • What is home-based therapy and are there advantages to this type of therapy for adoptive and foster families.
  • How can you find a therapist that will provide therapy within the home? (One source is
  • Is therapy via tele-health or via teleconferencing as effective for adopted children? For families? How to know if it will work for your family? Ways to make it more effective.
  • How can a parent determine if the therapist is a good fit for the child and family? What questions should they ask?
  • How many sessions to try?
  • When to seek a therapist?
  • How to find a therapist with lived experience of being adopted?


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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Gustavo Fring