All Kinds of News for November 10, 2015
Working with her Calo preteen girls, therapist Karen Moist often tells them the story of The Hulk, the comic book character. The Hulk, a huge, green giant, is the alter ego of Bruce Banner, a mild mannered physicist. When Bruce experiences fear and anger he transforms into the Hulk, often destroying anything in his path. In one storyline, Bruce discovered that in the serenity of the Amazonian rainforest, he was able to tame the Hulk. “For my girls, I want to be their rainforest,” says Karen.
Because so many Calo Preteens students struggle to manage their own feelings of fear and anger, Karen’s analogy of the Hulk is an apt one. A comic book hero is likely to appeal to preteens and the metaphor is straightforward. “I use lots of art and toys with the girls,” Karen explains. “Their language is play.” Because many of her students have experienced trauma before they had language to talk about it, toys and play are especially effective therapeutic ways for students to access those traumatic experiences.
Karen Moist brings a wealth of experience to her new work at Calo Preteens. Karen comes to Calo from the Children’s Home Society of Missouri in St. Louis, where she was a therapist. She has also worked in private practice and for many years worked with children in the Woodland School District in Gurnee, IL. But most important for Calo Preteens, “I have a passion for trauma work,” Karen says. “I love that we have the opportunity to do a wide range of therapies.” She is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, and Rhythmic Movement Therapy. All of these specialized therapies give Karen ways to treat traumatized children beyond just “talk therapy.” Karen earned a B.A. in Psychology from Ashland University in Clinton, IA. Her master’s degree is in forensic psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she is also working on a doctorate in international psychology with a trauma focus. Karen stresses that she has been in the shoes of many of her students’ adoptive parents. Karen has served as the guardian for five teenagers, who are all now young adults. “I’ve been there, and I know how hard it can be,” she says. That’s why in her work with parents she stresses acceptance and forgiveness. “I’ve found that I’ve had to learn to forgive both my children and myself,” she says. “Trauma isn’t the child’s fault,” she concludes.