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Why I Want to be a Child Therapist By: Bhoomi P, IL

I want to be a child therapist to make an impact on kids' lives. The amount of ways a kid can view one scenario are infinite. Each person has a mindset that is unique to them, and that mindset starts developing at a young age. Whether it's on who gets the last cookie or on how to get better grades, kids usually have something on their mind, and when they do, they might form an opinion on it. These opinions can be the basis of their mindset, and can form them into the adult they will become. To be a child therapist you need to understand the complex feelings kids are going through and you need to know how to deal with it.

Why Child Therapy is Needed

Child therapy is not talked about as much as necessary, whenever a light does shine therapy in general, most of the times it is either discredited or not gone into depth. When people do go into depth about it however, it creates a realization of the fact that many people suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, anorexia, etc. on a large scale. Many of these issues start at a young age and also take effect in a timely manner. Statistics provided by the CDC show that, “the suicide death rate among persons aged 10–24 increased 56% from 2007 through 2017.”. This emphasizes on how much it has increased in ten years. They even list the general causes as “serious psychological distress, major depression, and suicidal thoughts and attempts among adolescents” backing the fact that therapy could have been what they needed to heal emotionally. Along with the trauma of dealing with this from first hand experience, it also affects anyone the victim knew/knows, this includes siblings, parents, relatives, and any friends. If therapy was openly an option that they felt safe taking, everything could be resolved in a safe environment.

The Road to Becoming a Child Therapist

Becoming a child therapist has many requirements before you can get a license. Even though you can easily start by pursuing a bachelor's degree, it can also help to see if you can take any psychology courses in high school as you might end up doing a lot more of it in college. For a bachelor’s degree, choosing to major in either Psychology or Social Work can give a solid base for graduate studies. If you choose to major in Psychology as an undergrad it will give you exposure to the field and help fill basic prerequisite courses when you attend graduate school. Once you complete your bachelor’s degree you can move onto your master’s degree. This is where you will get specialized training to become a licensed therapist by taking classes like ethics in therapy, clinical best practices, and psychological theories. Along with those classes, you can take additional courses like Child Psychology, Social Work, and Counseling. To get your master’s degree you might need to fill clinical hours listed by your state to meet licensing requirements. Once you complete a master’s degree you will get a MA degree (Master of Arts), a MS degree (Master of Science), or another degree in a related field. If you don’t want to get a master’s degree, you can also get a doctoral degree which takes around 5-7 years to complete. This is the highest level of education a child therapist can get but it isn't necessary to become licensed. You can choose a doctoral in Child Psychology to learn more about treating children. If you decide to get a PhD, you will need to write a dissertation and defend it in front of a committee once it's finished. Whether you choose a doctoral degree or a master’s, both are efficient ways to become a child therapist.

Why I Would Be a Good Child Therapist

To be a therapist in general you must be patient and understanding with all of your patients. Starting from a young age, children are known to feel emotions stronger than adults. Because of this, you have to be able to comfort them and deal with their needs or problems in the best way possible. This is why I think I would make a good child therapist. This is due to how others see me as a source of comfort when they are feeling down. I personally see myself as able to comfort others and try to make them feel their best.

The Pros and Cons

Despite the enormous impact that child therapy can have on children, it also can be emotionally draining for some people under the right circumstances. Helping someone deal with their trauma at an age where they might not be able to fully understand it yet can be exceptionally difficult. To deal with this kind of trauma you must first be in a decent position to help, if you have any problems with yourself that are going unresolved, this could lead you to not being at your best to help others. However, even with these negative impacts as forewarnings, being a child therapist can also be very rewarding at the same time. Helping someone through a rough patch of their life can and will make you feel better yourself, along with that, most therapists have a flexible schedule so that you are always able to adjust to whatever suits you best.

The Conclusion

Child therapy is an extremely rewarding profession if you want to make an impact on young lives, if you have patience and empathy you can help so many people from a young age. It may get a bit difficult at times, but at the end of the day when you look back it will be worth it.

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