Almost 35 years ago I was a direct care worker in a state psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents.  In those days, the length of time in care could be up to or even longer than two years.  One of my favorite times to work was the 3-11 shift, working with children as young as 5 and as old as 10. 

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Jessica came to see me because she believed her 5 year relationship with her husband Derrick was in jeopardy.  In her first session, she shared that while she knew they loved each other, they had not been intimate for over three years.  Because of a conflict they had about infidelity, she felt paralyzed to participate in any kind of intimate...

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Monica had been adopted when she was days old.  She knows nothing about her biological family, but came to therapy because of years of abuse and neglect in her adoptive family.  She describes her mother as cold, critical, and dismissive.  Her father was physically and verbally abusive.  In retrospect, she believes he had a drinking problem, but as a child,

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After I received my bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy, my first job was at Adler Mental Health Center,  a state psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents.  Adler was where I “cut my teeth” as a mental health professional, and a place where I worked with incredibly smart, committed, and dedicated people.  Located in Champaign, Adler had the benefit of also...

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When I talk about the work I do I with other professionals and students, I often share that some of my most intimate relationships are with my clients.  I frequently see eyebrows raise; often two people glancing at one another with a knowing look.  I imagine they are silently communicating their judgment; that I have a problem with boundaries.  I...

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There is an exercise I facilitate during the first class meeting each time I teach graduate students about trauma.  Before we do the exercise, I ask for people to think about the difference between safety and comfort.  It might seem a strange request to make during the first class, but a relevant one prior to engaging in an activity that...

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When will this be over?   When will I stop dealing with this?  Why does this keep happening to me? When will I finally be happy?”

These are some of the questions I am most frequently asked as people begin working with me.  For those of us who have experienced loss, grief, and other forms of trauma, these questions may...

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