Children's, Youth &
Community Center

Professional psychology with a human touch


Meet our psychologist, Emilia Gruezo (27)! Every day she works in the community to support the rights of our children and adolescents.

The essence of my work is to accompany, guide and listen

Why do you enjoy working with children and teenagers?
Every child represents a small part of the humanity that the world needs, but too few people really feel committed to caring for them. Everyone likes children, but few really care about giving them a good upbringing. I want to change this. That’s why I love my job.

What is it like working at SALEM?
Exhausting. Every day there are surprises and something unforeseen happens. That’s what challenges me personally but also motivates me. The boys and girls are unpredictable. Since I started working in SALEM, I’ve learned to find a balance between me as the adult, who sticks to all the rules, and me as a confidant and friend who the kids need.

The work in SALEM is very structured which I really like. I never thought I would end up in Mindo and find everything that’s here in SALEM.

What is your professional contribution to the families, children and youth in Mindo?

From a professional point of view, I believe I give the families tools that they can use at home to improve their family life. For example, I suggest to parents to integrate at least 20 minutes quality time with their children every day. In that time the child should be able to decide what the family does together. This motivates the children to get into conversation with their parents and to express their wishes. The idea of this kind of tool is to break down hierarchies so that parents take the time to listen to their children, even if it’s only for 20 minutes.

Another contribution was to develop what we call the ‘support scale’ a method which helps to deal with children who have particularly „difficult” behaviour and who often need more attention and intensive care. It allows for comprehensive monitoring of children and adolescents who need more attention and who have greater difficulty in meeting agreements and commitments.

Its not just something we use to work with the children, but also with their families. Sometimes the kids just have to let off steam and talk to someone who really listens to them. At SALEM they can always find someone who will listen When a child is classified on any level of the scale it means that everyone in the team takes special care of that child because we know they need more attention.

The scale gives me a method to identify the cause and effects of a behavior or attitude. It really helps me to understand the whole process, the special situation of the child, and at the same time allows me to reflect with the parents.

I have also achieved a rapport with the families far beyond my role as a psychologist. The most important thing in my work is proximity and direct contact with every person in the family. I think I have broken the stereotype, that psychologists are aloof and always know best. The essence of my work is to accompany, guide, listen and build trust so that families can open up to me and allow me to help them with their problems. Now a lot of people in the village know me and are on first name terms with me in the street. I think this proximity and openness with the families is the most important thing we’ve achieved. We have mutual respect for one another.

What do you like best?
This job has taken me back to my childhood and made me realise “My Mum is the best!”. Also for me personally, this job has been very therapeutic, as through working with the children I found myself again and understood so many things from my own childhood.

I like the structure and the planning in SALEM. They are the foundations which hold the whole organisation together and help us to see where we are going and where we want to go.

I also really like the flexible working practices. In the same way that we work hard and take care of SALEM, SALEM really works hard and takes care of us team members and supports us whenever possible.

Learn more about Family Counselling here.

Donate now!

Emilias valuable work with local children and families is in danger of being stopped due to a lack of funds. Can you support us to maintain our Family counselling services within the local community? Please consider making a small donation or Sponsoring our project!

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