Diane Menzel, in over 15 years with The Child Center, has often utilized her teaching background to better serve clients. At the South Jamaica Clinic, she recognized two challenges: 1) many children facing behavioral health problems have difficulty making friends, and 2) when they are out of school, kids may not otherwise have opportunities to engage with peers.
Diane, a licensed clinical social worker, began creating groups periodically, initially to help latency-aged children develop listening and speaking skills and to express themselves through art and play. Children earn tickets for positive group behavior, then trade them in for small prizes at the end of the multi-session group. More recently, Diane developed a support group for teenage girls. She prides herself on an ability to individualize activities to meet the diverse needs of clients.
“Children always ask when I will be offering another group, as they seem to have fun and enjoy socializing,” Diane said. “And I learn a lot about my own clients by observing how they behave in social situations, so everyone wins!”