Child Life Therapists – The Profession

On 1st day of graduate studies for Child Life Therapy, my fellow students and I were told that we would immediately need to develop a 30 second “elevator speech” to describe what we do as Child Life Therapists, because we would undoubtably be asked “Um, what is that exactly?” for the rest of our professional lives! LOL. With that in mind, here is my attempt to describe the field of “Child Life” in a nutshell:

Child Life Therapy is an innovative profession where specially-trained, certified professionals enter the medical environment to facilitate positive coping for children, adults, and caregivers across the life spectrum. Tools utilized often include aspects of health education, psychology, human development, play therapy, and advocacy to help anxious populations through their individual journey through health and hospitalization.

Ok, so I realize that may or may not have been exactly 30 seconds! Anyone who knows me, knows I love to talk, hence why perhaps I entered a counseling profession : ). Still, I am so proud of the work that fellow Child Life Therapists such as myself are doing throughout the world. With diverse educational and professional backgrounds, increasingly, Child Life Therapists are being found in new, unique settings. These specialized placements include: children’s hospitals, private doctor’s offices, law offices (preparing children emotionally for court & providing testimony), social service agencies (helping children cope through difficult medical exams often associated with physical abuse), and morgues (helping families through grief and loss).

Below, is a link to the National Child Life Council (the governing body of all Child Life Therapists) for additional information regarding the field.

What has been your experience with Child Life ? Has a therapist / specialist helped you or your family? Do you currently have one working in your current setting? We are everywhere!


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