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Clients and others in my life often ask why I became a play therapist and what I like so much about what I do. Like most people, I have a story behind how and why I got here.
I started working in early childhood programs in my early 20’s. I loved working with small children, but after several years, became bored and disillusioned with the way many early childhood programs were run. I slowly began taking college classes, beginning with classes in early childhood education, and eventually ended up with a bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology. While that is a lovely pursuit of studies, it didn’t lead to any type of paying career, so I decided to apply to graduate school and focus on counseling.
During one of my semesters, an elective course was offered in play therapy. I had no idea what it was, but if it involved children, I was in! One component of the class was doing a weekend training on-site at Mid-America Nazarene University’s play therapy counseling center. We were learning how to do sand tray therapy, and were asked to pick a miniature that represented ourselves. I chose this peg family.
When asked to explain why, I became a bit choked up, and it was hard to find words. Like many people who enter the counseling profession, not only is there a strong desire to facilitate healing in others, but also in ourselves. I had spent over 10 years working in early childhood settings, and then another 5 working in public schools. But this play, and using play therapy to bring healing and joy, spoke to my heart in a way nothing else has. I remember stating to the entire class and the instructor “This is what I want to do with my life”.
And here I am, almost 10 years out of graduate school, and having been a play therapist for over 5 years, still loving every single minute of what I do, bringing hope, healing, and love to the children and families in my Kansas City community.