Child abuse counseling is a specialized field of counseling that focuses on treating children who may have been injured or traumatized by a trusted loved one. The children that Amy Southerland, Liz Goldy and Karen Chapman, clinical social workers for Family & Children’s Place, see may be victims of abuse themselves, or they may have witnessed someone they care about being abused – a parent or sibling.
Following is the sixth in a series of published conversations with Southerland, Goldy and Chapman about their work, the process, the challenges, the impact and the rewards. First in the series. Second in the series. Third in the series. Fourth in the series. Fifth in the series.
QUESTION: WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T A THERAPIST?
Karen Chapman – A librarian or work in a bookstore
Liz Goldy – A music or art teacher
Amy Southerland – A grocery bagger. Think about it. The groceries come down, you put them in bags – making sure not to squash the bread. The people pay and leave. There’s closure in every deal.
Karen Chapman, Liz Goldy, Amy Southerland – But we’d miss it. We’d all miss it. We love working with children and we’d get bored. This is important work and this is what we want to do.
QUESTION: WHY IS YOUR WORK IMPORTANT?
Karen Chapman – I see a slideshow of kids’ faces … that’s why it’s important.
Liz Goldy – For me, the lightbulb moments – when the child realizes, “hey, this isn’t my fault.”
Amy Southerland – You never know how you will impact someone’s life, the change you will help make.
Liz Goldy – It’s planting seeds. We water them and watch them grow. We have such a short time with our children, making it the best is important. It matters. I am honored to be able to do this, to help children find relief and recovery knowing that we will both be OK afterward.
Karen Chapman – If not me, then who? With me they get all my effort, the very best of what I’ve got. And the job makes me feel good about myself.
There are the kids who don’t trust, but they still come. They still sit down and talk and share, knowing that this is helping. It’s very humbling.