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Creating the Environment – For The Anxious Therapist


I often find myself scrambling before my sessions, feeling anxious. Now this is not for lack of preparation. I think I actually spend too much time worrying about the session flow. It’s those pre-session jitters that somehow everything you planned just won’t go they way you hope.


I started thinking about how these nerves might be impacting my clients, ESPECIALLY the newbies. I always had a vision of creating a relaxed atmosphere, primarily for the kids, then the parents, and of course myself. And naturally, I find that the more I relax prior to my sessions, the better flow I get. And you know what I decided to do to reach this relaxation state? I take off my shoes right before kids come in (I wear fuzzy socks still!). And when I do this, I can almost guarantee the kids will take theirs off too. When they do this, I notice they start to grow a little in their approach to me. I see some confidence and acceptance of who I am as their therapist, as their buddy for the next 45 minutes.



By creating an environment where a child can feel free to be themselves, it opens up a huge opportunity for joy, creativity…and SUCCESS IN THERAPY!


I will give an example. I have one autistic child who is truly wonderful. I live for his sessions because he never ceases to leave me feeling better. But given the choice, I can guarantee he would play by himself the ENTIRE session if I did not find ways to engage him. I wanted to get into his mind, to figure out what might draw him to me just a little more. That is when I started removing my shoes before his session. And when he came in that first shoe-less day, the first thing he said was “Let’s take shoes off!” And off they went (off they flew really, as he isn’t one to lay things down gently). And guess what? That boy hung out with me on the floor and we had the best time. Did everything magically change when he took those shoes off? Nope. He still wanted preferred items that he could isolate with, but this time, he stuck with me for over half the session. I was so proud of him.


I live for these speech moments. These snippets of breakthrough and identifying what might help us reach the hearts of our kids in therapy . If you are havng any trouble finding connection, joy, or feeling anxious before your session, I want you to try something…kick your shoes off and have some fun!


I started thinking about how these nerves might be impacting my clients, ESPECIALLY the newbies. I always had a vision of creating a relaxed atmosphere, primarily for the kids, then the parents, and of course myself. And naturally, I find that the more I relax prior to my sessions, the better flow I get. And you know what I decided to do to reach this relaxation state? I take off my shoes right before kids come in (I wear fuzzy socks still!). And when I do this, I can almost guarantee the kids will take their shoes off too. When they come in and see my shoes off, I watch their demeanor change, They start to grow more comfortable in their approach to me. I see some confidence and acceptance of who I am as their therapist, as their buddy for the next 45 minutes.


By creating an environment where a child can feel free to be themselves, it opens up a huge opportunity for joy, creativity…and SUCCESS IN THERAPY!


I will give an example. I see one autistic child who is truly wonderful. I live for his sessions because he never ceases to leave me feeling better. But given the choice, I can guarantee he would play by himself the ENTIRE session if I did not find ways to engage him. I wanted to get into his mind, to figure out what might draw him to me just a little more. That is when I started removing my shoes before his session. And when he came in that first shoe-less day, the first thing he said was “Let’s take shoes off!” And off they went (off they flew really, as he isn’t one to lay things down gently). And guess what? That boy hung out with me on the floor and we had the best time. Did everything magically change when he took those shoes off? Nope. He still wanted preferred items that he could isolate with, but this time, he stuck with me for over half the session. I was so proud of him.


I treasure these speech moments. These snippets of breakthrough and identifying what might help us reach the hearts of our kids in therapy . If you are having any trouble finding connection, joy, or feeling anxious before your session, I want you to try something…Kick off your shoes and have some fun!

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