Friday, July 10, 2009

Climbing Trees

As a child therapist sometimes you have to be creative to get kids to open up to you--to let you into their world--or at least to understand where they are coming from. You always MUST get on their level. Sometimes this means bending down to talk to them eye to eye. Sometimes it might mean sitting next to them fro 45 minutes without talking while they cool down or stop crying before they will even talk to you. Sometimes it means running after them (after they just got into a serious fight) and taking an unexpected early evening stroll in the middle of the desert.

All of these have happened to me while working with the Apache Native American kids I work with this summer. The last incident happened this past week. A kid I have ended up spending a lot of time with up at camp got into a fight (I wasn't there to witness the fight) and a male staff mentor had to break it up and got really mad at this kid. So the kid took off running at a full sprint to the gate, past the gate, and well on his way to nowhere fast. The mentor found me and pointed to the kid and before he could even tell me anything I took off sprinting to catch him. Eventually the kid slowed down (thank goodness) and started walking and so did I. 

We walked for quite a while without talking and I knew it was time to be creative. I saw this very old and curious looking tree and couldn't help myself I knew I had to climb it. So I asked my young friend if it would be okay and he just laughed and watched as I struggled up the tree. I really did struggle getting up and once I was up there is was amazing but I couldn't get down very easily. So I asked him (he is a very big and strong guy) to help me out. Nothing says therapy or opening up and talking to your therapist like watching her make a fool of herself (but it was worth the climb). So he decided he was ready to head back to camp, I listened to him rehash the past events, cry, get angry, and eventually what had to happen when we got back to camp.

I am learning a LOT of new things in this job from many people and many situations but mostly I'm remembering what it's like to be a kid again. 


Pierce and Stacy said...

That's very cool. You're one smart cookie. I would have never thought of that! You're perfect for the job.

smiliesar said...

I'm so very happy that those kids have someone like you that really truly cares and takes the time to connect to them! May God bless you always.

Joseph said...

I had to chime in here, Kylee. I'm very impressed. In these cases, it takes some high quality listening to hear and understand what is the right thing a Father would have done for His children. I admire what you're doing very much.

The Grundvig Family said...

Can I in the world did you get up that tree!?! lol There can't be too many of us "old" people who can even attemp that any more!! Nice going!