Having Meaningful Conversations with Children

Its safe to say that I was not keen on doing therapy with children. It did not attract me in the same way that other areas did. It could be that having my own children was enough of a challenge (by the way therapists are not perfect parents – if they tell you they are they are lying).

So coming to work at a family therapy centre meant that I had to start working with children. I love working with adults, I think I get a lot of satisfaction on an intellectual level in this work – and seeing changes in someone who has been trapped in their life for many years is amazing.

Children often don’t sit still, they get distracted and bored easily. Most of all, most have not got the words to describe what their life is like, on a deeper level. A lot of the work in therapy with children is teaching them how to think deeply and speak about themselves. This kind of work has the added benefit of building their identity, as they figure out who they are in themselves, their family and in the world at large.

Finding ways to start these conversations is not as easy as you think. Some children don’t actually want to talk to you anyway! So one has to get creative, play games, do crafts and draw etc.

If any of you work with children I have put together a booklet of helpful questions to get children engaged and thinking. It has helped me SO much to have this on hand for a nervous or restless client. Even if you start with a weird question (i.e. what is the worst thing you have ever smelled?) you would be amazed at the flow on conversations. This benefits anyone who works or cares for children.

You can buy my booklet ‘Quirky Questions and Conversation Starters’ on Amazon below – I purposely keep prices low to make them accessible to anyone. If you like it I would love you to review it on Amazon šŸ™‚

‘Quirky Questions’ – UK/Aust/NZ VersionĀ 

‘Quirky Questions’ – U.S. Version

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The First Steps…

Many people are not really sure how to start changing things in their life, and the reality is we often have a few things to do first. In fact, most of us have things we haven’t properly dealt with from our past, or may be holding on to circumstances (or people) that weĀ know are not good for us.

Given that it is not always possible to get to a therapist, or someone similar, we need other options to start us off.

  1. Prepare to be your own rescuer. Others may help, but we usually have to do the hard stuff ourselves.
  2. If you have medical stuff that you have not dealt with – go and sort it out. Same goes for serious mental health concerns and addictions. If you need extra help please ask. It show strength to admit what is really going for us – not weakness.
  3. Identify the people who are going to help you. It might be an old friend, an aunt you haven’t seen in a while, your partner or even an online community – anyone. Crucially though, they need to be stable and secure in their lives in order to be able to support you well.
  4. Be realistic. It is not possible to change everything at once. Identify the most important things that need to change now. Start with safety. Are you safe at the moment? mentally and physically? Don’t worry about the smaller stuff right now. The small things often get better when the big things have been dealt with.
  5. Start thinking about the things that make you feel good – the healthy things. Do you like music, sports, baking? These things are going to help you move forward because are good for you. More on this later.


Don’t forget – every situation can be tweaked. It may take something quite small to make you happier, or it might be a huge change. Either way, you canĀ make it happen.Ā 

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