Why I Became a Therapist

What's your experience of working with young people on anger management and what are the biggest challenges? 

This May, I hosted a #HealthAMA ("ask me anything") allowing people to ask me any questions on temper tantrums and anger management for kids. You can find all the questions right here, and this summer I've pulled a few to expand on.

Before opening my private practice...

I worked in schools for a few years, and would often get paired with kids referred for anger management. They'd lose their temper, would knock over desks or run out of the room, and teachers were always at their wit's end.

Of course when that kid got called down to my office, they thought they were in trouble.

It took a few sessions for them to start realizing that I was on their side. And once they became more comfortable, they were willing to start opening up about all the different emotions they experienced. We'd build up relaxation strategies for these different strong feelings, and oftentimes just being told that they weren't the only kid like this helped them to feel better and more in control. One challenge, though, was getting parents and teachers on board to help them see and focus on the positive changes, rather than just the negative behaviors still occurring.

It's tough to see the small positive changes.

The most effective component of counseling is the therapeutic relationship - that relationship you have, one-on-one, with your counselor. If you don't have a good relationship, or don't feel like your therapist listens to you, understands you, and works on important stuff during session, you're going to be stuck in counseling for longer, and you're not going to see as good of an outcome. So, it's important to track that - along with tracking the progress we see each week.

Ultimately, I'm a counselor because I love to champion the small changes.

Kids and teens and college students are under a lot of pressure to act certain ways. And when they don't fit the mold, the consequences can be huge. Teachers and parents understandably have a low tolerance for outbursts and overwhelm. So when a parent calls to tell me their child has been experiencing anger since they were little, or that their college student has been a perfectionist since kindergarten, we have to recognize that big change takes time.

Small change, however, we see right away. So let's focus on the small changes we can make in counseling so that you and your child start to feel better, even just after that first session.

Curious to hear more about why I specialize in anxiety and anger management for kids, teens, and college students? You can reach me at kelsey@compassionatecounselingstl.com

I work in Clayton, MO with families throughout St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Ladue, Town and Country, Webster Groves, Creve Couer, Kirkwood, Richmond Heights, and Brentwood.