Why I Became a Play Therapist

17.1 million children each year struggle with mental illness before age fourteen. I was one of these children. My parents separated when I was four. By junior high school I was questioning why my family was different from those of my friends. Was it my fault? I had mood swings and emotions I couldn’t control or even understand. I would cry uncontrollably for no apparent reason. At times, I would yell and scream at those I cared about. Finally, my mom enrolled me in therapy. This was the start of my story. Today I will tell you about my journey and my business. 

I always knew I wanted to be a helper. My mom was a special education teacher and my dad worked with individuals with mental disabilities. This type of work was in my blood. As a child, I went through a variety of professions for what I wanted to be when I grew up, but all included working with children, a teacher, a pediatrician, and finally a play therapist. As I said before, I struggled with mental health issues and therapists have been my lifeline. 

They taught me and now I am honored now, to teach others that all feelings are ok. Therapists allow for free expression of emotions in a safe space without judgement. This was something I desperately needed when I first began therapy. Lacking self-compassion, I was embarrassed and ashamed of my strong feelings. My therapist helped me to feel seen, heard, and validated. I was no longer alone. 

Realizing this was a feeling I wanted to achieve for other children, I majored in psychology and social work during my studies at the University of Iowa. After working in the field a few years, doing direct case work with children and families, I returned to Iowa to achieve my Master’s in Social Work. Post-graduation, I have taken specialized trainings and received credentials and certifications in play therapy. 

Play therapy is the developmentally appropriate form of therapy for children and can be used as a treatment modality with clients of any age. Play therapy utilizes toys, art, games, sand and other expressive materials to facilitate emotional expression without the need for words. 

Over the past ten plus years, since graduating, I have worked with hundreds of children and families with emotional and behavioral challenges. I help my clients achieve healthier emotional lives. Currently, I do this thorough my private practice, Butterfly Beginnings Counseling, along with my team of qualified therapists.

If you feel your child or family could use some extra support to manage a difficult transition such as a new school, divorce, birth of a sibling, or an emotional issue such as anxiety or anger management, please contact me through our website at butterflybeginningscounseling.com. We take most insurances and serve individuals of all ages. Virtual and in-person sessions are available. 

If you are interested in services, reach out at butterflybeginningscounseling.com. We all go through tough times in our lives where help and support are needed. Don’t be afraid to ask.  

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