TSU grad, team roper becomes licensed counselor specializing in helping children and teens.
When Kayelen Helton moved from Keller to Stephenville in 2006 to attend Tarleton State University, her initial focus was on enjoying a rodeo scholarship in breakaway and team roping and earning a degree in business.
But college taught her something else: She had a knack for helping others.
“I’m a good listener so I was the type of friend everyone turned to for advice,” Kayelen told Beneath the Surface News. “When I was in college, everyone called me ‘mom.’”
Kayelen took a class in psychology during her freshman year, and not long after, began paving the way for a different, unexpected career as a counselor.
“When I took Psychology 101, I fell in love with it,” she said.
Kayelen went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Education in Counseling from Tarleton and today she is a licensed professional counselor with Hamilton Healthcare System.
Kayelen still lives in Stephenville, but has offices in Hamilton and Goldthwaite.
She works primarily with children and teenagers, helping them navigate through troubled home lives and through angst-filled high school years.
“Most of my clients are under 18 years old,” she said. “I see a lot of stressors like social media and the desire to fit in among teens. Many of the kids I see are in CPS or foster care.”
Kayelen works with many of her youngest children in a room filled with toys and sensory devices that make them feel safe.
“I use play therapy techniques to help them deal with issues like anxiety, depression, trauma and stress,” she said. “It’s fulfilling to give them a safe place to talk and feel comfortable.”
Kayelen said she helps teens work on coping skills and teaches them how to build healthy support systems.
“A lot of the teenagers use me as their support system; they confide in me,” she said. “I tell them that we can’t predict the future and we can’t change the past, so we have to focus on today and tomorrow.”
Kayelen said her job is incredibly fulfilling, but can also be difficult.
“I have some really good days and some really hard days,” she said. “They say to leave work at the office, but I can’t always do that.”
Nor can she shut off communication with her clients after hours or on weekends.
“I always stay connected to them,” she said.
Kayelen also offers couples and family counseling.
To schedule an appointment, call Hamilton Healthcare System’s Solutions Behavioral Health clinic at 254-386-1800.