I’m a mental health provider. I went to school to be a social worker and always had a dream or a hope to be in a school (just as long as I didn’t have an overwhelming caseload of hundreds of kids). I knew that if I had that many kids to work with that I wouldn’t be much help. I worked in foster care, in adoption, in special education, with homeless youth, and in daycares. Now I have found a great fit, being in a school, just not as the social worker, instead I am contracted from a mental health agency as a school therapist. I serve only a few handfuls of students and their families and this not only gives them more attention but also is great for MY mental health, work life balance and overall pace and peace.
People roll their eyes when the word therapy comes up. Heck, there’s even songs about jokingly not needing a shrink, and maybe once upon a time I even thought that way too, but now I know better. Teaching kids coping skills, self regulation, helping them to be comfortable with their feelings and past, and in general being a special adult who enjoys them and is listening has really changed my life and I hope theirs too.
Being allowed to know a child and family’s trauma or addictions or hardships or struggles or successes is a privilege. I work with kids and before I became a social worker I don’t think I truly understood how much hurt and complexities a little body could carry. That’s just it, sometimes they don’t have the words, they just carry it. I’m so glad that I work with teachers, parents, and support staff who are noticing and are acting proactively in reaching out to get the kids set up with me.
I love reading with the kids. Children’s books have so many wonderful social emotional messages and it’s amazing how much some of them enjoy being read to. I let them do art. Painting, drawing, doodling and making is magical. I listen when they talk and I listen when they don’t. We play together, practice things we are learning, and then I listen some more.
One of my favorite things to do with the kids, every time we meet is to have them repeat this positive affirmation. It goes like this: I am enough. I can do hard things. I am smart. I am worth it. I matter. I am going to have a great day.
I hope you know these things to be true and believe them, because every single one of those statements is for you too. ❤️
A mental health provider