Small Victories


Small Victories

By Thelma Dye

November/December 2015


When you do therapy in poor, underserved, inner-city communities, it’s important to be aware of the message your program communicates, even about things that have nothing to do with what happens in therapy sessions. For example, we never underestimate how important it is for people in the community to see our environment at Northside Center for Child Development as a place that’s well cared for, inviting, and reflective of their culture. We take special care to create an environment that’s made beautiful by artwork, most of it done by the children and families who receive services from our program and by artists that reflect our clients’ culture, race, and ethnicity. How your staff answers the phone, how they smile and look at clients, are things we don’t take for granted. We never forget that far too often our clients’ experiences have fostered feelings of distrust, caution, anger, and unfortunately, even an expectation of unfair treatment. So we work hard to make every client and family feel comfortable and welcome.

But of course, in many ways, the key to doing this kind of work is the quality of individual therapists and the relationships they develop with clients, especially those whose clinical issues and living situations seem insurmountable. Regardless of training, the most important thing a therapist can have is the strong belief that clients can get better, despite life circumstances.…

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