“So what’s stressing you out lately?” I asked a sweet pre-teen client not long ago.
She had come with her parents and brother for family coaching and it was her turn to talk for awhile in private. We had already taken five or so minutes to chat about her school day and simple things the adult clients I have don’t usually tell me about; the pens that are in style, the “popular” girl who always brags at school, and the list of the all-important school lunch offerings.
She actually moved from an office swivel chair to a laying down position on our loveseat and said in a joking voice, “Tell me about your feelings…” as if she was in a therapist’s office.
It dawned on me. She didn’t feel like she was in a therapist’s office, even though technically she was, though I don’t personally do diagnostic work.
As I was thinking that, she realized just then that she actually was in that situation she was mimicking. And she burst out, “You’re good!”
We laughed heartily together and then we got to really talking about the things she was dealing with. We came up with a straightforward game plan and she genuinely showed up for it emotionally. She did sit up too, if you’re wondering. 🙂
I know that kids of all ages thrive when they have a safe place like this. A place separate from their parents as they begin to individuate. Another healthy adult in their life to help them navigate the difficult situations they are facing…
This wasn’t always the case.
Though I always worked around children as a sitter since I was a teen,
I was especially skeptical of play therapy as a grad student.
The basic premise, whether you looked at Virginia Satir’s play therapy or another model was that with a loving and safe adult therapist, children would “play out” their truest feelings. To me, it sounded a little…
Actually a LOT hokey.
I thought it may take years literally, to get that kind of relationship. I just couldn’t imagine a child being that vulnerable and open as to unload their feelings and then make changes. They weren’t little Freudian adults after all. Even adults weren’t always receptive.
I remember being absolutely shocked to find out it actually works. And it actually works quickly in most cases with kids.
Since little children use play to release stress, and older children really enjoy releasing stress by doing game activities together, as long as we respect those styles, they are more than ready and willing to share their hurdles and challenges.
And actually, a few of the kids are ready to just straight up talk.
In any case, I’ve still never really gotten over the magic of how kids actually find healing and hope from this simple play pattern.
Can you bring your child into Reflections?
My staff and I have worked with children with just about every kind of issue you can imagine, from trauma and divorce recovery to ADD, to grief, and to social anxiety. And though I don’t diagnose, we do have several actual mental health clinicians on staff who can if you want your child seen for for anxiety, depression, ADD management, or another major diagnostic issue.
However, as coaches and counselors whose first goal isn’t to meet managed care requirements of insurance companies, often the children we work with don’t need a diagnosis, they need direction.
Although some kids (and adults for that matter) thrive with the tried and true road maps of a diagnosis, many of the time they don’t need that label and we won’t give them one.
Who should your child see at RCC?
Since I’ve already told you a lot about myself, let me give you our staff specialties:
Lori works with teen and pre-teen girls all day long as well as in her private practice. She totally knows teenagers like the back of her hand. She also has special success in treating social anxiety in younger girls also!
Melissa’s raised two kids to healthy adulthood and is excellent at helping a teen to find their path toward school and career success.
Jamie has been lauded for her excellent and tactful, bridge-building abilities in working with teen and parent conflict management and is very gifted at helping families navigate their success together!
Glenda’s amazingly sweet and safe for kids of all ages who are processing trauma.
Eileen spends countless hours helping birth moms and adoption mothers in their transition and works well with foster and adoptive kids and their families. Just this week she was at the hospital helping a family in the middle of the night for an adoption contract she has! 🙂 Exciting work!
And Craig, as some of you know, is awesome with behavioral issues of little ones. He has so much experience in this arena as he prepares to welcome his fourth child this Thanksgiving. He’s helped so many downright weary parents and grandparent to help their sweet “wild” ones to learn to behave.
In short, you can trust us to take the very best care of your kids when they spend time with us.
So if you know kids who need the love and support of a healthy adult in their lives, we would be so honored to help! Just write to us or call us now at 941-301-8420!
And if you’re a parent, know that we get the exhausting, roll-coaster ride that is otherwise known as your life. And in my opinion, there’s no other scene from a movie that describes it better than this one I clipped here just for fun!
Also, don’t forget to enter our $50 dinner gift card contest that ends in just 6 hours!! Stay tuned for our 2nd of 3 anniversary contests later today!
Love Living Intentionally With You,