Some say don’t work with children and animals, I am not one of those people!
Working with kids and teens is hugely rewarding. It can also be very challenging and lots of fun. Working with young people is quite different to working with adults. Therapy with adults usually involves sitting and talking, therapy with kids and teens can involve sitting and talking but more often than not sees us (therapist and young person together) drawing, story-telling, role playing, creating, playing even being silly (that is if silliness is clinically indicated and I assure you it can be).
It takes a great deal of courage to meet with a new person for the purpose of therapy. What will they ask? What should I say? What will they (the therapist be like)? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them?
Creating a safe, respectful and comfortable therapeutic space is essential if we are to then invite young people to share their thoughts and feelings. In the absence of child and adolescent focused engagement techniques we fail to genuinely connect with young people and so the therapeutic process is hindered. Dr Dan Hughes (Clinical Psychologist) talks about creating a special PLACE for the children in our lives – Playfulness, Love, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. In creating this special place for young people in therapy we are giving then the best shot of resolving their worries and challenges and we give them a positive experience of help seeking.
This Blog draws from some of the wisdom and experience of Kathryn Geldard and David Geldard, Violet Oaklander and Dr Dan Hughes.