Child Abuse Counselor Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Child abuse counselors administer clinical treatments to assist children struggling to cope with physical or sexual abuse. One of the most common therapies utilized by child abuse counselors is play therapy. They primarily utilize it since most children feel safe when they're playing. It's usually not possible to maintain a child's attention through a traditional interview.

Counselors conduct play therapy by allowing children to bring their favorite toy to a session, having the child create a fantasy world, utilizing unstructured play scenarios, allowing them to draw pictures, or by using hand puppets. During play therapy sessions, child abuse counselors are responsible for deciphering a child's responses into conclusions that serve as the basis of treatment plans.

When children are placed in safe environments, they typically feel comfortable providing details about traumatic events. Once they begin to trust their counselors, the recovery process can begin. It's the counselor's responsibility to address destructive thoughts and behaviors, so abused children do not abuse drugs, exhibit anti-social behaviors, and become violent when they're older.

Child abuse counselors are also responsible for teaching the parents or legal guardians of abused children how to support them. They also keep them updated about current treatments being administered during counseling sessions. Child abuse counselors provide encouragement to caregivers since children recovering from abuse typically experience setbacks. Counselors often prepare information packets so caregivers know what to expect as their children enter adolescence and adulthood.

Child abuse counselors also organize group therapy sessions since children benefit from interacting with their peers. This is especially true for sexual abuse victims because they usually feel alone and ashamed. Once realizing others have suffered similarly, victims of sexual abuse understand they're not alone, while gaining an instant support group.

Depending on the circumstances, child abuse counselors also utilize trauma-based therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and psychotherapy. After undergoing successful treatments, abuse victims are often able to live normal lives. Counselors teach children how to healthily cope with panic attacks, anxiety, stress, suicidal thoughts, and depression.

Child abuse counselors are required to hold a graduate degree in social work, counseling, or psychology. If you're interested in this career, acquire experience by volunteering at a children's hospital, battered women's center, or a community center. Child abuse counselors must be patient, loving, empathic, and mature. This is a challenging but rewarding career. It's nearly impossible for abused children to live normal lives without the assistance of child abuse counselors.

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