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by Sylvia B. Bodell
| Children, Child and Play Therapy, Adolescents, Teens, Parenting

The Magic of Play Therapy

When it comes to therapy for children and teens at The Center, Michelle Bledsoe, LPC and Registered Play Therapist has a magic touch. Children and teens who have a difficult time connecting with others, often connect with Michelle.

“That’s the magic of play therapy,” smiles Michelle, LPC, RPT. “I love working with children and teens. I see a lot of kids with ADHD and a few children/teens with autism who are able to be in school. My practice also includes adults. Everyone I see is a child, even some adults, because some adults are stuck in childhood.”

Michelle found herself in uncharted waters during the pandemic, navigating how to care for her young clients, especially her teen clients.

Teenagers kept me going
“Despite the disruption, I had so many teenagers who kept me going,” added Michelle. “They did really well with tele-counseling. I had one client Kate* who was suicidal and we got her back her back on track. Kate had a history with cutting and was seeing another therapist. Even though her therapist was with The Center, another perspective was needed. She was referred to me and I was a good match.

“We were working on new coping skills with stressors. Kate was also dealing with a fresh breakup, being alone, not being with friends, and not being able to go to work at the restaurant she loved. Kate lost everything that was supporting her. We were able to work on alternative behaviors to cutting. I was in contact with her more often and able to talk to her parents. She did well and that’s satisfying.

“Because of the pandemic, I was able to share with my clients that I was in the life-boat with them off the Titanic. We were experiencing this trauma together – the same feelings of loneliness, isolation and the unknown. I was able to say, this is hard, I’m going through the same thing you are, and they appreciated that perspective and my vulnerability with them.”

After a long summer, Michelle had former clients come back for a check-in at the beginning of the school year.

“It’s satisfying they have enough growth to be away and know when they need help, they reach back,” added Michelle. “Some clients I saw when they were 10 and 12. They come back with teenage challenges and social interaction needs. It’s satisfying when a client comes to me having a really difficult time in school and when they leave, they’re doing great.”

With safety measures in place, The Center is gradually seeing more clients, including children and teens, in-person at its new Central Office and Network Offices. Michelle is busy preparing the new play therapy rooms.

“It’s been a year of living in the pandemic and it’s hitting people in different ways. Clients are coming back to process this past year,” said Michelle. “And I’m so glad to be here for them. We’re working hard and will be ready.”

To schedule an appointment call 214-526-4525 or go to OUR TEAM to learn more.

*Katie's name was changed.

Growing healthy children through play therapy

After a career in her family’s oil and gas business, Michelle Bledsoe had a nudge to get her Master’s degree in counseling. Her undergraduate was in psychology so counseling seemed like the logical direction.

“I was a single mom ready to focus on women’s issues and then I discovered play therapy and fell in love with it,” said Michelle. “I did my practicum onsite at SMU in play therapy and was the first person to do my residency at SMU."

Michelle came to The Center in 2014. Together, she and Dr. Brad Schwall began rebuilding the play therapy program that had been established in the 1990s with a grant from The Crystal Charity Ball.

They collaborated on parenting workshops, talks and therapy groups.

“I still love working with kids, teens and women and look forward to being in our new playrooms again,” added Michelle. “I see our program continuing to grow and the field of play therapy more important than ever.”

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