Thursday, September 7, 2023

How to put feelers out for a referral without sharing client information


Looking for a therapist for an English-speaking 12-year-old Latino trans boy with a diagnosis of ADHD, taking a stimulant medication, currently attending Lepidoptera therapeutic school in West Batman via public school IEP process, school is appropriate and uses wraparound model where they will want to consult frequently. Has mentor and support group through Esperanza Community. Child witnessed the severe assault of his cousin who he is close to. Child lives in Old Poptart Village with parents and maternal grandparents, family doesn't have a car, able to travel by subway, can get rides if it's on Wednesday evenings when the aunt watches him. Plays Dungeons & Dragons, interested in anime, Minecraft, Roblox, likes to draw, likes 3D printing, likes reading. Has Purple Shield HMO plan and able to private pay on a sliding scale.


  • Looking for a therapist for a middle-schooler (sharing with family's permission)
  • Telehealth or transit accessible in Metro area, some potential for further out areas
  • English-speaking
  • Trauma-informed
  • Willing to collaborate with wraparound providers
  • Competent with multi-generational Latino families
  • Competent with trans/queer/gender-diverse folks
  • Neurodiversity-affirming
  • Arts-based approach and/or approach incorporating gaming/geek culture a plus
  • Purple Shield HMO or sliding scale

See what I did there? When sending referrals to one person, a forum, a listserv, or absolutely anywhere, just state what qualifications the clinician needs. Don't share any information about the client or family. Even when you have permission, don't share personal information. Note that when we focus on the therapist's qualifications, it is easier to focus on broader demographic or clinical needs, rather than specifying exactly what the issues are or to which family member(s) they apply.

Also, don't do this:

Looking for therapist for an 8-year-old.

Even if the person is of the dominant culture in most every regard, there are still cultural considerations, as well as considerations for an appropriate fit for a particular individual and family. Get out of the habit of dominant-as-default. These postings also suggest that the person making the referral isn't trusting that the client/family are the experts on themselves and get to decide what approaches and knowledge are needed, as well as imply a dismissive and saviorlike view of the person in which any therapist is surely an improvement over what is currently happening. Asking someone to engage in therapy is asking them to take extensive risks and do hard work; surely we owe them a little more care than this sort of "any therapist will do" approach. 

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