Career and Job Search Guide

Child Abuse Counselor

Abused children often struggle with emotional problems well into adulthood. In order to cope with past abuse, most children rely upon qualified child abuse counselors. These professionals work in many different settings, including private clinics, at schools, and for non-profit organizations. Child abuse counselors often utilize play therapy when working with abused children.

Play therapy is frequently utilized since children are receptive to it. Since children have short attention spans and often feel threatened by adults, they are more likely to respond to play therapy.

Often child abuse counselors have toys and stuffed animals in their offices to alleviate the anxiety a child might have during counseling. To get children to open up about abuse and their feelings, child abuse counselors may use puppets or use other fun activities to grab a child's attention. They may also share interesting stories about subjects children are interested in and ask the child to participate in the story. From a child's responses, counselors can glean information from the child's subconscious and then use analytical skills to draw interpretations.

When children feel protected in safe environments, they're able to cope with trauma they have experienced in a series of stages. Eventually, they will not feel as powerless as they once did. If children and counselors can build trust, counseling can be very productive. Counselors must determine ways their patients could be manipulated to prevent future problems.

After a counselor has determined a child's problems and needs, it is necessary to involve the people taking care of the child in the treatment process. However, parents or guardians must be patient since treatment can be a very long process, and it is not uncommon to experience obstacles along the way. Effective counselors must sufficiently instruct parents or guardians that their children will experience setbacks through different life stages, from early childhood to adulthood.

Child abuse counselors frequently organize and supervise support groups. Abused children often make improvements while working in groups with their peers. This is especially true for sexual abuse victims since sexually abused children usually feel ashamed and isolated.

Sexually abused children can learn to cope and deal with their pain through therapy, which could include cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and various other types of therapy. Not only do counselors work to empower abused children to have the ability to cope with their trauma, but they also teach the children strategies to counteract anxiety attacks and severe depression.

Child abuse counselors treating sexual abuse victims also focus on relaxation strategies, such as biofeedback, during counseling sessions. If necessary, counselors work closely with family members of sexually abused children, so they can be involved with the recovery process.

Those interested in working as child abuse counselors must have a thorough understanding of human psychology and acquire experience treating people who have struggled with abuse. They must be trustworthy, caring, accepting, and professional since children are usually afraid to discuss abuse they have suffered. This is a difficult job, but it changes lives and empowers people with little hope.

Those who want to make a difference in the lives of abuse children should consider pursuing this career.