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Poetry of a Therapist for Teens

Being a therapist comes with so many beautiful moments, as well as so many heart-breaking ones. I never thought I’d be a therapist working with teens, even though I love them. When I was figuring out how to accumulate my clinical hours for licensure, the last place I thought I would end up was a residential treatment center in Malibu, CA. Yet, that’s where I landed for just over 2 years. I will never forget my first day! We had a full program, meaning we had 12 kids. Yes, I have worked with teens before, but when they were baristas at Starbucks and I was their supervisor or barista trainer; not when they were in a treatment center for suicide attempts, self-harm, substance misuse, or anger management. My first shift was complete chaos, as one client went off on the others during group and the entire group ganged up on that one client. I will never forget that group, I still remember most of their names and wonder how they are all doing now.

That night I went home and wondered if I was cut out for this work. My answer was, yes, abso-freaking-lutely! It was like I was working at a more intense version of Starbucks, if that is even possible, LOL.

Over the next 2 years I learned a lot from my colleagues, and the management team. But I learned more from those kids than I’ve learned from any adult in my life time. They brought out every emotion in me and I was very protective of them. To this day I am still fighting for them in an indirect way. I don’t have kids of my own, which in all honesty is probably for the better. I’d totally be that mom that would show up and start fights with anyone trying to f*ck with my kids. Well, I guess I am doing that because I am fighting for change in the world and in the field of psychology; for the kids.

See, the field of psychology likes to pathologize and label these kids with disorders. Me, I prefer to pathologize and label our society as disordered. The only thing that is “wrong” with any of these kids is that they are being raised in a society that is not conducive to a healthy, well rounded and happy life. By the way, this is across the board. I mean, I was working in Malibu, CA for crying out loud. Most of these kids came from very wealthy families that were able to provide the best of the best.

I’m not going to discuss all the things that need to change in the industry because there are too many to be put in a short blog post. I am however going to share a poem I wrote with all of them in mind.

To all the clients I had the pleasure to meet while at that treatment center, you are all amazing in your own ways. There are a few of you that touched me on a soul level and trust me, you are on my mind more than I’d like to admit. There are many of you I’d love to have a non-therapeutic conversation with, and maybe one day that will be possible. For now, know that I have so much love in my heart for you all; yes, even the ones who didn’t particularly care for me. I hope you are all doing well and if any of you want to talk again, feel free to reach out.


By: Christina Fitch, LMFT

Can we


Can you


Can I


Can they



Knives, blades, drugs, sex, guns, suicide

Why don’t you talk to me?

Why are you doing these things to yourself?


why did they do that?

I wish they would have asked for help.

Blame, shame, guilt, anger, sadness, grief.

Pain; before, during, after.

Will it stop?

Will we stop it?

Will they stop it?

Does anyone else see what we see?

Does anyone else feel what we feel?

Clearly not, or they’d stop.

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