Working with children & teens in therapy

I finally figured it out. I’ve been doing it for years. Like over 15 years. I had never honed in on it before. After taking courses, reading articles, going to CEUs and workshops, I finally figured it out. I have always liked working with children and teens. Over 10 years in private practice and working with military kids in the child development centers, volunteering, seeing kids in private practice. I have finally claimed my population – working with children and teens who have difficulty concentrating, are angry and/or anxious. I have finally decided to develop this niche thing.

It took a while to say the least. See, in the world of counseling – many of us therapists are overachievers. We want to do everything and save everybody. So what was this thing of finding a niche and work with only 1 population of people? It seemed too counterintuitive, like I would definitely be missing out.  But upon further soul and niche searching, it finally came to me when someone asked the question –  with whom is your ideal person to work?  Then I thought of all the times I’d work with challenging kids who had difficulty making behavioral changes. I thought of all the times I’d seen a kid come in to therapy and leave as a more improved version of themselves. I remembered the anxious teen who come in the office only after a year of therapy, leaving a “happy” blooming teen entering adulthood.  This is it. This is the work I get energized about!

So after my big aha moment. I jumped right into refining my skills. For years I’ve heard of play therapy, but never thought much of it. After all, how much therapy could happen playing with kids? WRONG? I’ve learned that play therapy is a legitimate modality used to help kids AND adults express themselves and grow. In play therapy, toys are the child’s language. And for many adults who have not been able to adequately express what they really feel, play therapy helps with coming up with those words. (More on play therapy later).

Now I’m off to keep developing those skills and learn new ones. I’m working toward certification as a Registered Play Therapist, as well as gathering other tools for my toolbox. After doing a bit of “rebranding”, I’m now building relationships with parents, teachers, schools, and daycares to share the goal: Helping angry/anxious/antsy kids get back to happy homes (and schools).  All in the name of Happy Minds 🙂

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