AMHERST COUNTY, Virginia. – Erin Winters says a lot of people don’t know what it’s like to receive therapy – and it’s time to erase the stigma.
âIt’s so important to normalize emotions and sanity and make it normal and not shameful,â Winters said.
Winters is a Registered Therapist, mother of two boys, and author.
Her latest children’s book is titled “When a Donut Goes to Therapy” and features a panicked pastry in a waiting room.
“We can see him meet the therapist, we can see what kind of activities they are doing and how it works and why he seems to be starting to feel better.”
He is starting to feel better from the type of therapy.
Winters says âplay therapyâ is scientifically proven to help children express their emotions.
âIf they’re going to ‘talk’ it’s a lot more intimidating; where if you’re going to play it’s a lot more non-threatening and they’ll open up more, âWinters said.
She says two in ten children are diagnosed with mental illness.
But the book also helps parents understand.
âIt’s easy for parents to just say, ‘Well, did they just play? What an unnecessary waste of my time and money, âsaid Winters.
The book is not yet on the shelves. Winters has launched a Kickstarter campaign, an online platform where pre-orders fund the project. The target is $ 7,000 and, if it is exceeded, she expects books to be published by December. The money is used to print the story on high quality pages with a company that has worked with Disney and Penguin.
This would be Winters’ third children’s book. She has successfully published two stories via Kickstarter, including another therapeutic book with an interactive question at the end.
âThere’s a feelings chart and then therapeutic questions you can ask to keep the conversation going. I have a friend who reads it to her kids every night and uses it to review the emotions of the day, âWinters said.
She plans to put the chart and the questions at the end of âWhen a Donut Goes to Therapyâ.
Winters says now, with the pandemic exiting, it’s time to normalize therapy.
âThe stress has increased tremendously, so if parents don’t know how to regulate their emotions, it’s going to be very hard on the kids; and they will note it too.
You can also donate books. Winters partners with Operation First Response to donate books to military families. Her husband, George, serves in the Army National Guard; and the Winters family want to help combat trauma in the military.
You can also donate books to the Virginia Department of Human Services. Winters says it’s a cause close to his heart, as more than 400,000 children are in the foster care system.
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