Day in the Life of a Child Therapist in MichiganAs a Michigan resident interested in possibly pursuing a career in the field of child therapy, you probably have a lot of questions rolling around in your mind. Most likely, one of these is about what can be expected in the day to day working life of a child therapist. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The daily working life of a therapist will differ significantly depending upon the exact job that the therapist had and the environment in which he or she does that particular job.
Clinical therapists, for example, which are the most common types of child therapists and what most people think of when they think of "therapists," have vastly different days than those working in the school system. These therapists work in private settings, either in their very own practices or in the practices of other reputable professionals in the field. They work one on one with their young clients in many different aspects. They diagnose them with various conditions and disorders when necessary, create plans of action to help them achieve certain life goals or milestones, and then work with them in sessions to work toward those goals. They keep notes and records on the progress of their clients and are in charge of altering the treatment plan as necessary. In some cases, they may also need to refer their clients to other professionals when they encounter a problem they are unequipped to deal with. As such, part of their job is forming and maintaining working relationships with other professionals in the field.
School system therapists, as mentioned above, have very different job descriptions, but perhaps not as different as you might think. They work in the public schools, helping to pinpoint difficult or high risk children and to bring them in for special sessions in which they might work toward helping them to reach developmental goals, to perform better in the classroom, or to become better all around functioning individuals. They are also called upon to investigate suspected cases of abuse and/or neglect in the lives of students at the school and, once verified, to report them to the proper authorities.
Other child therapists might choose to work with special needs children. Children with vision, hearing, or speech impairments or children with various learning and developmental disabilities need help to function in the world as their "normal" counterparts do, and highly and specially trained therapists know just how to provide that help. They might do it in a variety of different ways, such as play therapy or behavioral therapy, but their end goals are always the same. In fact, the end goals of all child therapists are always the same. No matter the capacity in which they may work or the environments in which they perform their jobs, their goal is to help children to become high functioning, productive members of the society in which we all live.
As such, it is important that child therapists are kindhearted people who truly enjoy working with children and who are, among other things, kindhearted, good listeners, patient, understanding, and non judgmental. Furthermore, an important quality for all child therapists to have, and one that is all too often overlooked, is the ability to leave their work at work. It is so easy to get burnt out with all the things that must be dealt with on a daily basis for those who are overly sensitive to the needs of their patients. While it is definitely good and even necessary to care, caring too much can be a problem in this field.