How Can You Be A Child Therapist If You Don’t Have Kids?

Last week on Twitter, a social worker asked, “Child and family therapists who don’t have kids, what are you even doing?” (I might have the wording slightly wrong, as I didn’t screen shot and she deleted her account shortly afterwards, but the gist is in tact.)

Photo by Any Lane on

Seeing as I’m a child therapist/psychologist who doesn’t have kids, I took it upon myself to answer this question. I actually get asked this question a lot, so writing about it here might help a wider audience understand my answer. As a child therapist who doesn’t have kids, what am I even doing?

I don’t have kids, but at one time I was a kid who dealt with some of the same issues my clients and their families bring to me. My lived experience isn’t identical to that of my clients, but that’s true for everyone. Even if I had my client’s exact diagnosis, my experience of that diagnosis would be different. Every single person is an individual, so you will never find a therapist who completely and fully understands your experience.

I don’t have kids, but I spent five years in graduate school, and I really, really hope the six-figure price I paid for my training wasn’t a complete waste and I actually learned some valuable skills.

I don’t have kids, but I’ve worked with families for the past six years and learned a thing or two about what healthy communication looks like. I know what practices can be helpful, and I understand how to empathize with people even if their background is different than mine.

I don’t have kids, but almost every parent I know says they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing. So if that’s the case, how would having a kid make me any more qualified than I am now?

Some parents might still hesitate to have their child see a psychologist who doesn’t have kids, and I’m happy to make a referral because I’m all about finding the right fit, and I want everyone to find the right provider to meet their needs.

I know some wonderful child therapists who are also parents, and I know some wonderful child therapists who aren’t parents. Everyone brings their own strengths to the table, and isn’t that a wonderful thing?

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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