My name is James "Jamie" Carroll. I grew up in a small, rural community in Central Illinois called Nokomis (supposedly named after an Indian princess). I went into the Army right after high school. I never intended to become a counselor. Toward the end of my enlistment with the Army, I had decided that I wanted to be an airplane pilot. As I researched the requirements to be a pilot, I found out that most commercial airlines wanted you to have a degree as well as a pilot license. I then enrolled in college at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. My father wanted me to major in electrical engineering. However, I thought psychology and philosophy would be more interesting.
Once I started studying psychology, I was very interested in the way people think. However, once I got my BA degree, I realized there were not that many employment opportunities for me. I got a job as a Resident Counselor at Youth in Need. Here I worked with teenage girls who were in the care of the state. All had been abused and/or neglected. I soon discovered that in order to be a counselor, I needed to get a graduate degree. During this time, I enrolled in the graduate counseling program at Lindenwood University. I then got a job working as a Youth Specialist with the Division of Youth Services. Here I worked with adolescent boys who had been convicted crimes in the juvenile court.
I then obtained my MA in Professional Counseling. After graduation, I thought if there was anytime to do something crazy it would be now. So I quit my job as a Youth Specialist and moved to Florida. It was in Florida that I obtained my first job as a counselor. I became a substance abuse counselor. I worked about 3 years dealing with adolescents and adults with substance abuse issues.
I then moved back to Missouri at got a job as a case manager with BJC. I worked adults with severe mental illness. Additionally, during this time, I adopted my two sons from the foster care system. This experience led me to work with children with attachment issues, trauma, and younger children.
My focus as a counselor began to shift. As a counselor, I was taught to listen and be supportive. However, I realized that this type of approach was not helpful in working with trauma and attachment issues. I then received training in EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems, Theraplay, play therapy, and Dyadic Developmental Therapy to further my practice as a counselor. I received enough training to become a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor.
To become a Play Therapist, a counselor has to receive about 150 hours of training in play therapy, receive supervision in play therapy, and have between 3 to 5 years of experience in play therapy. The thing I most enjoy about being a play therapist is that I get to use play in a meaningful way to help a child and his/her family.
My office is located in the St. Louis area at 106 Four Seasons Center, Suite 103B; Chesterfield, MO 63017 (close to 141 and Olive). I can be reached at 314-651-6679. Or email at [email protected]