JOBS & CAREERS SPRING 2018 - 131
Take a course
It will give you a
good insight into
for the job.
Don't be misled by
the term "play".
People think it's an
easy job, but read
up, talk to other
therapists and get a
of what the job
WORDS KATE YELLAND IMAGES GETTY IMAGES
My job is
practice hours required and the
completion of both a work and
personal journal alongside my
everyday job! There were a fair
amount of tears and frustration
trying to strike a work/study/life
balance so I could achieve both
my certificate and diploma in play
therapy. It took me three years.
No sooner had I got the first
residential weekend under my
belt than I saw my first pupil - a
selective mute. I immediately saw
how powerful the therapy was,
and it hit me that you don't need
words to communicate at all.
I fought hard to get a therapy
room of my own - I was offered a
cupboard at first! I raided charity
shops, used Freecycle, begged,
stole and borrowed to kit it out,
but now I have every medium
available, from paint and puppets
to Play Doh and shaving foam!
Every day is so different - I
never know what I'll face. I deal
with such a range of emotive
issues, from children's anger,
family change, loss, anxiety and
behaviour issues. I love being able
to give children my undivided
students can prove
challenging. But it's
amazing what they
can achieve if given
the right person to
talk to. I respect our
You need to be
able to work with
You need empathy
and wisdom - it
helps if you've
lived a little!
attention. In our hectic lives
that rarely happens, but it's so
important. They feel special and
listened to. Slowly you build up a
relationship and begin to have an
impact on their emotional health.
That's what makes the job so
worthwhile. But it can be highly
frustrating - a child is affected by
their whole family situation and I
can't change that, however much
I might like to. I also find it hard
when teachers only hear the word
"play" and overlook the "therapy"
- my job is to support a child's
emotional wellbeing so we can
begin to break down the barriers
that are stopping them learn and
help them fulfil their potential.
I'm not done yet, though! I
would love to train as a family
therapist. That would allow me
to have an even greater impact
on the family as a whole.
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