A Little Bit of Everything
Play therapy. It sort of just found me. While I was still in school, I interned at a local medium-security prison for adult male offenders. I loved it. If they had had a position available upon graduation I would have gladly accepted it. But, they didn’t. And I didn’t know where to start. Not knowing what to do, I sent out my resume to every place in the phone book within an hour’s driving distance listed under mental health or counseling.
Just a couple days later, the secretary at the state hospital for children ages 5-13 (about an hour away) contacted me and stated, “We have a position. It closes at midnight. You need to come here right now.” I ended up working there for a few years, and I absolutely loved it. I had the opportunity to provide intensive individual and family therapy for the kiddos who came for treatment. And since it was the the state hospital, the kids usually had very complex and more than a few diagnoses as well as very complex and usually dysfunctional family dynamics.
The psychiatrist and medical director there took me under her wing, and really taught me a lot about myself as well as providing therapy. She was artful in her therapeutic abilities, and I learned so much from her while I was there. I had the opportunity to attend two week-long Sand tray: Worldplay trainings while working at the hospital. The first training was actually my first week back at work following my maternity leave. It was a rough week for me, but the self-reflection involved in the trainings was amazing and life-changing.
From there, I went to work at the local community mental health center. I needed to work closer to home due to having two baby daughters at the at point. Transitioning from state hospital to outpatient care was a rough one for me. At first, I really didn’t feel like I was making much of a difference. Eventually though, I was able to modify what I had learned to an outpatient setting, and my clients reaped the benefits. I was booked out for months and drowning in paperwork.
I left the community mental health center to pursue private practice; however, due to the non-compete I had I was unable to do this for another year. In the meantime, I worked at an acute psychiatric hospital (definitely not for me) and another agency that was just starting their behavioral health center.
I was finally able to open my private practice, Playful Healing & Counseling, LLC, in September 2016. Almost a year later, business is going well. I am still booked out, and I still have to do a lot of paperwork. But I’m my own boss now, so the stress is different. Being in private practice has been an amazing experience already. I presented at the Michigan Annual Play Therapy Conference this year. I am also attending the national training, a play therapy supervisory retreat, as well as a 2-day training with my best friend later this year. Life is good. I’m also looking to expand my practice. Lots of big things are on the horizon.
Shannon Egg, LCSW