Lindsay P. South, LLP, LPC Supervisor, RPT-S, is a therapist in private practice at Lindsay South P South MA PLLC & Associates in Portage, lindsaysouth.com. She has a Master of Arts in Counselor Education/Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University. She has been working in the field since 1988 and has been a member of APT for 20 years.
Three words to best describe you: Creative, active, outdoors.
What made you interested in play therapy? I began private practice in a small group of therapists. My colleagues only saw adults. I was asked to see teens and then children as well. I had been a camp counselor for years, enjoyed working with kids, and was a young mom myself with two little boys. Although these personal experiences helped, I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing! My supervisor, who was a psychologist, encouraged me to keep going but commit to training. It was perfect advice: I didn’t have to know everything but I had to commit to learning. I signed up for the first play therapy workshop in Michigan in 1995. I was 8 months pregnant with my second son. I loved the workshop and was hooked! I started attending workshops and joined MIAPT. My sons were my guinea pigs, and I had lots of toys on hand at home. My love of children, playing games, doing art projects, and building in the sand, all came together in play therapy.
Why did you decide to become an RPT-S? When I first started working on becoming a play therapist it was hard to find a supervisor. A group of us paid Kay Hannah to come all the way from Grand Rapids to meet with us for supervision. Later I met Susan Carter and had her supervise me for years. This mentoring was so important to me. In my graduate program children were not discussed except in terms of adult development. I had no classes in child or adolescent development or psychopathology. Supervision in play therapy, coupled with workshops through MIAPT, were really my source of entry into the field. I want to return the mentorship I received to those who are interested in play therapy. I enjoy teaching and training.
Who has inspired you in your career? My aunt Martha Greene is a Presbyterian minister. She was the first one who suggested I explore counseling or social work as a career option. I was an art history major in college and had never considered counseling as a vocation. She encouraged me to go to graduate school at WMU. Mentors in play therapy include Susan Carter and sand tray trainers Gisela Schubach DeDomenico, Dikke Hansen, and Tina Johnson.
What advice would you give someone who is just entering the field/starting their RPT work credentialing? Keep working on your RPT! Get credentialed and just keep attending workshops. Always pay for your CEUs. Keep those forms on file. Develop an area of interest, like working with eating disorders (we need you!), LGBTQ youth, or divorce/stepfamily adjustment. Follow your passion.
What has been one of the most rewarding moments of your career? Completing 7 years of sand tray training with Gisela Schubach DeDomenico.
What has APT membership meant to you professionally and personally? APT provided me with mentorship, education and an identity as a therapist. Becoming Secretary on the MIAPT board helped me learn how to function professionally in a leadership role in a nonprofit setting. This experience was invaluable when I served on other boards, like the Southwest Michigan Eating Disorders Association. I also have really enjoyed running our local MIAPT southwest networking meetings. I hope to continue doing that once we can return safely to face to face group interactions.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you? In my free time I love to be outdoors. I grew up in CA and have adapted to Michigan. I now road bike a lot in the summer, canoe with my husband, cross country ski and hike with ice trekkers on my boots in the winter. I have found great groups of women to bike and walk with.
If you were not in your current career, what would you be doing? I would like to return to taking art classes as I did as a child….ceramics, drawing, painting. I am interested in becoming a master gardener. Outdoor adventures--backpacking, canoe and biking trips--would be at the top of my list, as well as travel in the US and abroad.
How do you spend your free time? Most of my time away from work is spent outside biking, hiking or going for a run. I love to garden. Pulling weeds, dead heading roses, and experimenting with plant texture and color are very therapeutic; you can see the results of your work instantly! I also like to cook and try new recipes. At night I am a reader of historical fiction. Reading is how I put my brain to bed and wind down. I look forward to that time each night.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? One of my favorite sand tray figures is Sacagawea...a young Native American girl who is walking along a stream with a racoon at her side. She looks confident and comfortable in her environment. She helped guide Lewis and Clark from North Dakota to the Pacific Coast, thousands of miles through the wilderness in terrain foreign to them. Without her, they probably would have been lost or had great difficulty.
Are there any other things we should know about you? My first supervisor told me, “Make sure you do one thing every day that brings you joy.” That is my wish for each of you.