Counseling, Coping Skills, and Crocheting: OH MY!

Counseling Coping Skills and Crocheting Oh My Guest Blog Post

How are you with practicing self-care? Do you take time to recharge your batteries or do you give and give until you pass out from sheer exhaustion?

People who take care of others are sometimes the worst practitioners of self-care. We get into the business of helping others but then we tend to forget that we need to be cared for as well. I speak from personal experience.

I know I need to take care of myself…I know I need to make time for myself…I know this, yet it doesn’t always happen.

That’s why I was really excited to read about how one of my Facebook fans combines her love of crochet into self-care time that benefits her students.  Seriously? How awesome is that?

I invited Amanda to share her experience with the rest of my readers. (You check out the original Facebook thread and join the conversation here.) Without further ado, here’s the fabulously talented Amanda:

It is hard to believe that the fourth quarter of  my first year as a School Social Worker is quickly approaching! Just like Dorothy and her adventure down the yellow brick road, my first year has been a wild ride! My current position has me split between two schools in my home town. I am at the middle school ( 6th-8th)  part-time and  spend the other half at an elementary school  where I am with a self-contained classroom (K-2) for students with behavioral concerns. The fun part is I attended both schools I work at when I was a student and know that I have landed my dream job!

 I began my social work career as a therapeutic day school and quickly realized that working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities was my passion. I continued my career by becoming a mental health specialist at a residential treatment center in Illinois. It was at the residential treatment center that I first used crocheting as a therapeutic intervention. When working with adolescents who have traumatic pasts and even more unsure futures, it takes creativity and persistence to find ways to develop rapport with the clients and help them develop coping skills to be successful in life. The image of a 16-year-old male crocheting in his room as a way to replace his aggression will always hold a special place in my heart.

As a school social worker, I spend a lot of time modeling for my students, especially at the elementary school level. Crocheting emerged in my career as I began talking to my colleagues about the importance of self-care as we work in a high stress environment. I always described crocheting as my therapy and brought in some of my amigurumi stuffed animals to show them. When I saw the look and excitement on one of my students faces when they saw a big, cuddly crocheted turtle on the table, I knew I had to find a way to merge my passion for crochet into my practice.

I have used crocheting as a way to show my students that even adults use coping skills to regulate their emotions. It has opened their eyes that coping skills can be more than just deep breathing and counting to 10.

I involve the students in helping me choose which animal to make next so I can stay happy and calm, and they help me name them when they are done! I keep my finished products in my office so that they can be reminders of previous lessons we have talked about. I have future plans to incorporate my crochet creations such as making animals that the kids can purchase in our school store with the tickets they earn for positive behavior. I love that I have been able to enmesh two of my greatest passions together and hope that other counselors can do the same!

Please visit my page to see the crochet creations I have made which are all for sale. I love custom orders, so I would love to hear your unique ideas/orders! www.facebook.com/amandaschmittcrochet

School Counseling self care coping skills Bunny

School Counseling self care coping skills turtle

School Counseling self care coping skills monkey

School Counseling self care coping skills giraffeAren’t they adorable! I’ve ordered a lil’ skunk from Amanda…I can’t wait to “meet” him!

Join me in all things school counseling on Twitter and follow my TPT store to receive updates on freebies and fun counseling activities! You can also find me (lots of counseling goodness) on the web: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

You can also follow The Helpful Counselor on Bloglovin!

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Coping Skills, Self-Care

  • http://weekendtherapy.wordpress.com/ weekendtherapy

    I love this! Craftiness is definitely my self care too! (although, I have always *wanted* to be better at crochet than I was- I could never get these cute forms!)

    • https://plus.google.com/113463496072540424878 Heather Thomas

      I AGREE! Amanda is insanely talented. :) Although, I did just purchase some yarn to try and crochet myself a Yoda…we’ll see how it works out. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/CounselorEvents Counselor Events

    This post is definitely a great reminder for counselors and educators in general that although we are passionate about giving of ourselves to help our students if we do not take care of ourselves there will be nothing left to give. Take care of yourself, take care of your students. You may find a great way to combine the two! – Rachael http://www.counselorevents.com

    • https://plus.google.com/113463496072540424878 Heather Thomas

      Your comment is spot on. We can’t give if our well runs dry. Unfortunately, helping professionals can sometimes feel selfish if they help themselves. Taking care of ourselves and our clients at the same time is a definite win-win!

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