There are several reasons why the CYC profession might get lost in the crowd with other related professions, such as ECE (Early Childhood Education), EA (Educational Assistance), SSW (Social Service Work) and the like. However, there are many more reasons why the profession is able to stand out among the others, a few of which I will list here.
To start off, CYC is a practice that acknowledges and works with people who have experienced trauma. This is not to say that the other aforementioned professions don’t deal with trauma- SSWs, for example, could often potentially deal with trauma in their line of work. The thing that differentiates CYCPs from SSWs here is that, because of the rapidly-evolving language and focus in the profession, CYCPs focus on the strength of the client, instead of what needs work. For example, if a high school student had a tendency to abuse alcohol as a coping mechanism for past trauma, and scored lower than they should have on a test at school the next day after a particularly rough evening, a CYCP would not penalize the student and focus on the bad things they had done. Instead, a CYCP would draw the student’s attention to the fact that, despite the evening they had had, the student had managed to get up for school and take the test in the first place, awarding encouragement and recognition for the small victories, building them up with the client until they outweigh the bad.
Another factor that separates CYCPs from other professions is that CYCPs work in the milieu of their clients; that is, to say, what we would call their lifespace; where they are most or all of their time, and serving not only as counsel to those clients who need us, but potentially as cooks, housekeeping, a friend to play basketball with and so on. This is especially prevalent in residential settings where a CYCP could be working and spending a great deal of time.
Hand-in-hand with the idea of working in the milieu of a client, CYC, contrasting any other position in social work, encourages a relationship between the practitioner and the client. Unlike other professions that follow to a strict no-touch policy regarding practitioners and their clients, CYC encourages a healthy relationship to form between both parties. This way, a genuine and trustworthy relationship is formed, and the client feels much more comfortable being open and vulnerable, sharing with their CYCPs the important information they need to know. Think of this relationship as a glass door. In other professions, as a client, you might have a steel door; you cannot see through to the other side, ergo you cannot see who is there. That kind of relationship is strictly business, and feels awfully one-sided. The relationship between a CYCP and their client is symbiotic; there is give and take from both parties, not simply give and give and give from the client, as it can feel in some other professions. Both parties can see who is on the other side, and get to know them as a person, and not simply, for example’s sake, a ‘delinquent’ and their ‘therapist.’
That relationship that is formed between both client and practitioner is meant to be therapeutic. CYCPs look into the genetics and family history tied to any one client, and apply knowledge learned about healthy physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual and psycho-social development in children and youth, but do so in a way that focuses on the strengths and assets of a client, and not only on those genetics and pathology. CYCPs – and this is especially true of those working in residential facilities – utilize the everyday life events to facilitate positive change in the lives of their clients. This is a very gradual, slow process, and that is to be expected in a field where one is working with children and youth who have been traumatized; a healthy relationship must be established in order to show to the client that their practitioner does care about their wellbeing, and that their practitioner is someone who can be trusted as a positive role model and source for healthy, meaningful communication.
CYCPs are interactive with their clients. As stated previously on this page, CYCPs can be expected, depending on which style of work they choose, to be almost completely involved in most aspects of their clients’ lives; practising symbiosis in practitioner-client relationships; helping them deal with trauma in a healthy manner and intervening when necessary, and much more. CYCPs build a trust between themselves and their clients, establishing a mutual relationship that can help begin or further a child or youth’s healthy development, be it physiological or psychological, from any stage they may be at. The bottom line is that the CYCP is there to help and encourage their clients.
One way that a CYCP may help their client is setting and achieving goals alongside them. The method is different from, as an example, social workers, because (unless the child is in foster care where a social worker is usually always/frequently present) CYCPs not only help their clients set goals for themselves, but they are there to see the achievement happen, and are able to help along the way if the client finds they may stumble somewhere. This is a benefit of working in the milieu of the child; you may be present to watch them flourish as you coach and assist them every day. As most things are in this field, this may be a slow process, however, it is a fulfilling one for the practitioner, as they are able to fully see the work that they have done with the client aiding said client in their life, and helping them to move past whatever has hurt them.
With that in mind, I am very glad that I have chosen this program. Scared, yes, but very glad. I would never be able to help future generations in the way I am being trained to if I had chosen anything else.
Responses to Billy’s mother. (2000, June 17). Retrieved October 5, 2018, from http://www.cyc-net.org/cyconline/cycol-0600-billy.html
Scope of Practice. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2018, from http://www.garthgoodwin.info/Scope_of_Practice.html
Stuart, Carol. (2009). Foundations of Child and Youth Care. Vancouver Island University: Kendall Hunt Publishing Co.