diversityKadesha Adelakun, LCSW, RPT-S, is an advocate for diversity and has known since she was in high school that she wanted to be a child therapist and wanted to have a private practice. She provided in-home therapy for many years with various agencies when she began to hear about play therapy after seeing one of her colleagues attending trainings to become a Registered Play Therapist. Immediately, she knew she wanted to learn more about this professional path.  While working with children, she already was incorporating different games to build relationships and help her clients become more comfortable during their sessions so she knew she was on the right track.

 “Play Therapy just made sense to me!  I felt that it’s natural for a child to play, so naturally a child may benefit more from play therapy vs traditional talk therapy.”

Diversity in Play Therapy

When I spoke with Kadesha recently we really dug deep into what truly motivated Kadesha to pursue her RPT-S. She shared that promoting diversity in the field of play therapy is her passion and her primary professional focus. The realization that there were a lack of people of color with the RPT credential and even less with the RPT-S credential made her decision to pursue this passion of promoting diversity in play therapy an easy one.

She explained:

“We live in a diverse and multicultural world and that needed to be reflected more in the field of play therapy.  I felt that in order for me to truly be an advocate for change I had to work hard to bring more cultural and racial diversity awareness, in to all relevant environments, including play therapy, I needed to lead by example, by becoming a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor.”

For The Love of Play

When asked what she loves most about play therapy, she expressed that she loves seeing a child transform through the play.

Kadesha told me:

“You can see and learn so much from a child just by observing them play and assist them with processing what’s happening for the in their lives and internally.  I love that there are so many different ways to implement play therapy through Child Centered Play Therapy or Directive Play Therapy. I believe in meeting the child where they are, in order to o assist them with their feelings, emotions, and challenges.”

The Challenges of Running A Private Practice

Like many, Kadesha found that running the business aspect of private practice was one of her biggest challenges. Over the last few years, she has taken many trainings and joined communities on Facebook which helped her to improve her insights on money, time management, benefits of switching from paper to EHR, and practice building. She has had a lot of support from other therapists while building her practice which in turn helped her with these challenges.

“I choose to surround myself with other successful therapists and communities on Facebook and in person, who are doing or are on their way to doing great things in the field of therapy.  There have been times where I may have felt stuck or disccontent, but leaning in on my support systems really helps me to regroup, refocus, and grow my business. “

The greatest joy of having a private practice for Kadesha is making a positive difference in people’s lives. She loves being able to run her practice the way she feels is most beneficial for her clients. One of the benefits (and added bonuses) of being in private practice for her is being able to be flexible with her schedule. Her father is self-employed and she always knew she wanted the same for herself. WIth having her own private practice, she is able to be involved in her children’s school and has become more available to her family’s needs.

Focusing on the Passion

Kadesha is currently a RPT-S and has her private practice,The Journey Counseling Services, LLC, located in Kennesaw, GA. She started a community for play therapists on Facebook called The Journey of Cultural and Racial Diversity in Play Therapy. In this group, she provides cultural and racial diversity play therapy practice development consultation, play therapy training, and play therapy supervision. She is very passionate about this topic for personal and professional reasons.

I feel that our field is seriously lacking diversity, representation, and (at times) sensitivity and it’s an ethical obligation for all of us to lean into this topic and do better for our clients!

She also created a similar community, The Ebony Journey , which is open to anyone who is interested in promoting and embracing diversity. This community is populated with parents, teachers, and anyone in the community who is interested in creating a positive image while sharing information, resources and events that emphasis diversity. There simply are not enough black and brown people represented in the toys, books and games available for children and Kadesha is an advocate for seeking out items for the play therapy room that better represent all races and cultures. The goal of this group is to expose all children of all backgrounds to more positive images to help embrace and promote our diverse culture.

Advice for New Therapists

Kadesha utilized the Mastermind and Play Therapy Practice Building Academy with me providing mentoring and practice building coaching and training in order to help grow her practice and finds they would be valuable to anyone starting out in this field. When asked what advice she has for someone starting out in play therapy, she said,

The information taught by Lynn Louise Wonders in those trainings are invaluable and they really assist in developing and maintaining a successful play therapy practice.  I would also suggest that therapists surround themselves with supportive people and communities who are doing the things that you would like to accomplish. 

When asked what the greatest take-aways were for her, she explained:

Time blocking, knowing your worth, and leveling up were my greatest take-away from the mastermind classes and the Play Therapy Practice Building Classes. 

Time blocking has helped her to stay on task, complete more tasks, and also have time for self-care, personal matters, and family affairs. Being confident in working to accomplish her goals, being firm with self-pay as well as her lowest reduced rate, and striving to increase her income were the greatest takeaways she received from the program.