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An Open Letter To The Parents of My Child and Adolescent Clients

Hi! I’m the quirky redhead in crazy socks and changing color hair that shakes your hand every week before taking your kid to either the magical toy room or my comfy office, where we then re-emerge 30 or 45 minutes later, I smile, your child joins you and then you go off about your day. Every few weeks we will have a parent meeting where we talk about goals and progress and I try to get to know you and your family as much as possible. I answer any questions you have and then we go back to the normal weekly schedule and routine. 

But do you ever wonder what goes on in my head at the end of the day when I go home after working with your child? Do you wonder how I think and feel about them after those therapy doors close?

Who I Am

I’m not their parent and I’m not trying to be, but any of my co-workers will tell you I lovingly smile when I talk about how much I loved working with one of “my kids” that day. As your child’s therapist, I have multiple hats I sometimes switch between and have to wear.

I am a safe place – I provide them a place where they don’t have to worry about chores or homework. They can talk about how frustrated they are with their sister and they know they can talk freely.

I am an advocate – If I am your child’s therapist, I can promise you they are my highest priority when talking with you. To put it plainly, you are not paying me to help you feel better no matter what. If you want that, you might want to find someone else. You are paying me to help your child have all the support they need through whatever they are dealing with and help you have the skills necessary for that. I will be positive and encouraging, but I will always be honest.

I am a translator – Especially for younger kids, they often have difficulty communicating in adult language what they need and desire. That’s where my knowledge and training steps in of knowing the right questions to ask and interventions to use to take adult problem solving skills and feelings, and break them down into a language the child will understand.

What Makes My Job Amazing

I didn’t start working with kids and doing play therapy just because I loved kids. I actually started out school saying I would never work with kids. The change? Seeing it in action. When I worked with my first child in graduate school and saw the spark of understanding go off in their eyes that they could do something on their own without being full of hesitation and fear, I was sold. I get to use my privilege as an educated adult to help their voice be heard in a world full of adults, and help them untangle the complicated emotions facing them.

What Makes My Job Hard

Sometimes though… I have to remind myself why I got in this field. When an adolescent comes in telling me about heartbreaks they are going through, and tears are coming down their face… my heart breaks for them. When I send them home and know they have to manage a really stressful situation I can’t do anything about, I’ll admit, I cry behind my closed door. I can’t tell my family details about my job, but my husband knows when it was a rough day as I hug our son just a little longer before putting him to bed, or sneak into his room to give him a kiss if he’s already asleep.

I know you are doing the best you can in the situation you are in. Life is difficult, parenting especially so! When I hear your kids’ stories, I listen to them with the understanding that you as the parent are doing everything you can. I’m not your enemy, telling you everything you are doing wrong. Quite the opposite! I’m here to cheer you on and support you in every way I can. We will explore new tools together and get the most out of experiences thrown your way.

I’m your new teammate in this crazy rollercoaster ride we call parenting. It’s confusing, mind boggling, fulfilling, terrifying and thrilling, somehow all at once.

All My Best, 

Alyssa

 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 832-421-8714.

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Alyssa Webb-McCune

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