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 final segment 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. Sixth in the series.
QUESTION: IF YOU COULD SHARE JUST ONE THING TO EXPLAIN WHY PEOPLE SHOULD SUPPORT THE AGENCY AND THE WORK, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Amy Southerland – Please, just please, help us. We have to think about so many things that it’s so comforting knowing that we have the tools, the toys, the resources we need to help these children. Little things, like the water cooler for example. It is so much more than just a drink. It’s something the child can do himself or herself, it’s empowering, it’s sized for them.
Little things mean so much, like scented markers. Kids love them. Or new pictures that are child friendly and fun. Good training materials – books, resources, information.
Liz Goldy – We work so hard to help and heal children, and healing is happening. This is good for the child, but it’s also good for society. We are stronger as a community, as people because of the work we do. There’s great benefit for all of us by helping broken children heal.
Karen Chapman – If you were to go through something hard – not necessarily abuse, but something hard, and you didn’t have a best friend or someone to lean on, wouldn’t you want someplace where somebody would be your best friend? To help you, support you, without judgment? We’re that place. We’re here to support, to help, and the goal is that you get the help you need and it ends – you move on with your life happy, healthy and ready to build strong new relationships. We do that. We help when it’s really, really bad.
Liz Goldy – Without us, there is no help. No hope.
Karen Chapman – The injuries we treat are not always visible … so what we do is their medicine. Without us, all these kids have is their worst memories and feelings. Remember, it could happen to you. That’s why we’re here and that’s why it matters.