Helping “Hard Candy Shell” Kids
Brandy Routson, LCSW, admits to having a soft spot for those she calls “hard candy shell” kids:
“I love helping those really angry kids who just can’t figure out how to use their words to communicate with people, who struggle to get along with other kids in school, are a little defiant, have a hard time following rules and listening to their parents, and are even angry enough to throw things or hit people.
“These kids have this tough hard candy shell, but on the inside they’re just very emotional and they don’t know how to let that out. Those are my kids. I like the angry little stinkers.
“Once you break the hard candy shell and you get in there, they’re just soft candy inside. They’re gooey, they just need someone to listen and be there, someone to tell them it’s okay to have feelings but teach them the appropriate way to express their feelings.”
Brandy Routson was born in Ogden, moved to Wyoming and then to Kansas and ended up back in Utah by 4th grade. She graduated from at Viewmont High School in Bountiful. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work with a minor in psychology from Weber State University. She attended Boise State University where she earned her MSW (Master of Social Work). She is a licensed clinical social worker.
Brandy started working in social work in 2006. She worked mostly with youth ages 5-18 in foster care and group home settings. As a behavioral specialist in group homes, she taught youth social skills and helped them with their academics, hygiene and independent living skills. She worked in group homes while putting herself through school. After completing her education, she was then was hired on with the same company as a therapist. “I was able to go back and help the same populations of youth but on a different level. It was amazing!”
“Why am I a therapist? I feel like it found me. Helping people was always something that made me happy and brought joy to my life. When I was trying to find my way in college, one of my professors dared me to volunteer, and that’s when I found social work. It just clicked. I felt like it was what I was supposed to be doing. It became ‘home’ for me,” she says.
Brandy has extensive experience working with clients who have experienced trauma. “I’ve worked with refugee populations with PTSD and young kids who were abused. I’ve taught anger management, sex education, and everything in between.”
Brandy is married. She says, “It took so long to find my other half, but it was worth the wait.” They have an English bull dog who is the love of their lives.
Read Brandy’s article “Ask a Therapist: How to Handle Back-Talk from Kids.”