Therapist Spot-Light July 2018 – Andrea Crafton, LPC
By Liz Gray, LCSW, RPT
Andrea Crafton is not your average therapist! She is trained and experienced with years of providing play therapy as a Licensed Professional Counselor; but she is also a trained birth and postpartum doula. Andrea has brought all of that experience together and is now working as a Mama Coach for women all over the United States.
In 2010, Andrea started out providing play therapy services in an agency with foster care cases seeing children who had experienced trauma. She worked with parents on gentle parenting and attachment work.
When asked why she is passionate about play therapy, Andrea explains, “There is something magical about using play therapy in a session. The magic happens as you see a child use play as a way to transform and grow. I always loved seeing what happens when you give children the ability to take the lead in a therapy session and when you engage with them unconditionally it is so rewarding not only for me as a therapist, but for the client and family. Play helps to build trust and rapport with a child who needs help. Play helps a child feel comfortable.”
While working with children and families, Andrea realized through intake sessions and talking about the significant history that mothers would often express how difficult their birth experiences were, how hard it was having a new baby or bringing a new sibling home. Mamas would often talk about how they felt alone, unsupported, and really didn’t know to whom they could reach out.
Andrea noticed some of them had traumatic birthing experiences they hadn’t had opportunity to work through. She thought to herself, “I wonder if these mamas had the support from the beginning how would things have been different for them?”
After becoming a mama herself, Andrea felt like her passion and direction had changed in her private practice and decided to train as a birth and postpartum doula. Once she completed her training, Andrea closed her office doors and decided to do online virtual coaching work with mamas to connect with mothers all over the country.
“I knew I had to get creative with my career. Now I can say I did it! I’m having tremendous success. Has it always been easy? Absolutely not, but with the support of other professionals and my mama friends encouraging me, it has been well worth the effort to expand into a new career branch.”
Andrea’s main goal is to empower mamas with natural holistic information so they can feel connected, supported, and confident making informed choices during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and beyond.
In the process of forming her company called Mamas Blooming, Andrea went through Lynn’s 90-day career mentoring program for growing a play therapy practice. Lynn tailored the program to fit Andrea’s unique goals.
“Before working with Lynn, I already had this idea of empowering mamas in my head, but I needed that one person to tell me, ‘Andrea you can do this!’ Lynn was that person for me. With Lynn’s help, I was able to see the big picture in terms of my career and where my heart was leading me. I had a fire lit inside of me that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I literally woke up one day and said, ‘I can’t do therapy in an office anymore. I am ready to take the leap and close my office doors.’So that is what I did. Lynn helped me to take my energy that was displaced and channel it in a positive, effective direction to create something magical for mamas.”
Andrea commented, “Lynn meets people where they are, recognizes the positives within that person and encourages them to get where they want to be.”
In my conversation with Andrea, I had a chance to learn more about her specialty and passion for working with mamas.
Q: What do you love about working with mamas?
A: I love when I can work with a mama to overcome a previous traumatic birthing experience and when pregnant again, to achieve the birth she needed to experience. I also love working with the first time mama who has anxiety about birth because I am able to help lessen that anxiety through my coaching support.
Q: Can you touch on the issue of postpartum depression/anxiety?
A: For most mamas, the lack of postpartum support and care is astonishing. We have almost 25% of mamas going back to work two weeks postpartum. Our maternal healthcare system is failing mamas from the beginning. I would like to think I am that one person who can get these mamas to think outside of the mainstream maternal care interventions and see birth as a more natural process instead of one that is medicalized. This system absolutely is creating a perfect storm for mamas in the postpartum era of her life.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for therapists to identify their passion and follow their bliss?
A: If you do not love what you are doing and your heart is leading you in a different direction, do not ignore it. Life is too short to stay stuck in a career that you don’t feel passionate about. Your bliss encompasses who you are. So go for it! You have options! You have to live your life with purpose and that includes your career.
Q: What advice do you have for therapists who are just starting out in the world of play therapy private practice?
A: Have a plan in place in terms of business goals, getting clients, and get the support you need. Every therapist starting out in private practice needs that mentor they can go to for help such as what Lynn Louise Wonders is doing for people. Lynn really has a lot of knowledge and she has been there! The likelihood of you being able to do it alone successfully is just not likely, plus it can honestly be lonely. Make sure and make those connections with other therapists and professionals in your area. They will absolutely be your key to success. Relationship building is a must!
Q: Is there anything else you want to share?
A: It is okay to not do things in your career differently than what others are doing. I know sometimes that is much easier said than done. At first I was worried what people would think about me or think my business had failed. I soon realized it isn’t about everyone else. It is about my personal happiness, my goals, dreams, and where my life is taking me. If you have a creative idea you feel passionate about, run with it!
You can learn more about Andrea and her business, Mamas Blooming, at www.mamasblooming.com