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Play therapy saved me!

Six years into my adventure as a School Social Worker, I swore that if I had to look at another behavior chart with a happy face and a sad face, I was going to walk out of the job. Well…I wouldn’t have actually walked out. But I was so sick and tired of those charts! Every time I saw a new one (or was asked for the hundredth time to create one), it would unleash all kinds of frustration. Kids aren’t problems to be fixed. Each time our team discussed and explored the function of the behavior and the desired replacement behavior, it felt like we were just trying to “fix” (and as fast as possible!). Kids are complicated. I was starting to really resent these charts that were breaking them down into a one page document with a bunch of happy and sad faces.

I loved working in schools and didn’t want to leave my job. But something had to change. So I signed up for my first play therapy class at UCSD. And holy bananas – it made me feel all kinds of feelings – energized, excited, warm and fuzzy, inspired, curious (so curious). I needed to know more about this extraordinary way of thinking about and being with children.

Since that first class I’ve formalized my play therapy work with the requisite education, license, and credential. I’m very proud to be a Registered Play Therapy- Supervisor. I cannot believe how lucky I am that play therapy is what I get to do for a living.

In the mental health field, we constantly expand our understanding of theory, research, and treatment. We take continuing education classes on the weekends, and we complete online courses in the evening. We dedicate ourselves to learning and in the process we evolve into more seasoned clinicians. Pay close attention to when you feel that “energy burst.” Notice the moments when you are learning about something that makes you feel energized, excited, warm, fuzzy, inspired and curious (maybe start with diving into more play therapy…).

Thank you for everything, Play Therapy!