Working with children, in general, isn’t easy, and in psychology this isn’t any different, due to the fact that they aren’t able to objectively communicate what they think or feel, so you need to be very patient and work at it every day, so you can reach through to them.
The first record of this kind of work goes back to the 19th century with a group of children with emotional problems, but it wasn’t until after World War II, and mostly due to the work of Anna Freud, that group therapy with children became more credible in the world of psychology.
As I said before, working with children is not easy, so if you want to do it, it’s important to keep in mind some specific characteristics that a children’s therapist should have. It’s important that you really enjoy working with and in a group. A group of children in a room can be very exhaustive and the presence of a second therapist is a very common step to address this. And, obviously, you really must like children, playing with them and always take an interest in their problems.
To become a children group therapist, is a long path to follow, since, the education is extensive, the work is physically demanding and exhausting and you must be really tolerant to frustration.
The environment is quite important to success. The space shouldn’t be too wide, so the children do not scatter too much, and it definitely needs to be easy to clean and have some furniture to allow you to keep any needed materials. These are also very important since each child must get some materials of his/her own (pencil, eraser, coloring material of many kinds and some dolls representative of family and animals) and some board games and molding material for the group.
The children should see the therapist as a container for their anguishes and the therapist must be mindful of own his analytic abilities, even when playing with the children, as to keep himself from forgetting that they are not small adults and can’t elaborate on their feelings in such a direct or objective manner as we, adults, are able to and often do.