Chelsea Hester on the Path to becoming a Synergetic Play Therapist
Through Chelsea Hester’s various experiences with counseling and counselors as a youth, she witnessed the profound power and healing that can occur during therapy. “My background in counseling begins way back when I was a child and I was on the other end of the therapeutic relationship as a client,” she explains. “I have taken note of the modalities, tools, and therapeutic styles that most resonated with me.” Chelsea is finishing her master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at Naropa University, where she says, she has deeply explored who she is so that she can best see and serve others. She also feels strongly pulled toward serving people struggling with eating disorders and so completed her clinical practicum at the Eating Disorder Foundation in Denver. “As a therapist I hope to meet my clients where they are in the present moment, using my knowledge of cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, gestalt therapy and mindfulness,” she says. We recently chatted with Chelsea about her career, desire to become a Synergetic Play Therapist and what she does in her free time, among other things.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
My undergraduate degree is in Child and Family Development. Choosing this as my major at The University of Georgia and then consequently exploring the different career options available to me has ultimately led me to where I am now. In conjunction with this chapter of my life, I spent my summers at a camp where I worked with children coming from poverty, abuse and neglect, who often presented challenging behaviors. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to devote my life to understanding the inner worlds of children so I could better understand their creatively brilliant calls for help.
What inspired you to start on the path of Synergetic Play Therapy?
I took the child and adolescent psychology class at Naropa University which PTIC Founder Lisa Dion teaches. I found myself enraptured by her groundbreaking theories and studies of the nervous system, emotional regulation and child development. I was ready to get my feet into this institute as quickly as possible.
What do you love about working with children?
Part of what I love about working with children is getting to work with families. I love getting to know a family and learning about their very unique system. Working with the child is only one facet of this system, and to think that a child can learn and grow in ways that impact the whole system is empowering! With every little child that I have the honor of working with, I know that their lives, their future partner’s lives and their families lives will be impacted by the work this young and brave individual has decided to do.
What do you do in your free time?
I particularly enjoy reading and writing, practicing yoga, dancing, taking walks, hammocking, drawing mandalas, listening to music and spending time near water whenever I can. Additionally, I have an amazing partner who I spend a lot of my free time with. We love to travel, go backpacking and camping, play cornhole like champs, ride bikes, play games and so much more. Having fun is very, very important to me.
What’s your favorite hobby or sport?
Dancing! Hands down. Has been and forever will be. I have been enrolled in dance classes for over 20 years and appreciate every style and teacher I have had the chance to study with. I am also prone to spontaneously burst out into movement at the sound of drums or a good beat while walking down the street.