healing-and-advocacy

A Child's Story

Katie's Story

Katie, a thirteen year old girl, was referred to Counseling4Kids after being placed in foster care.  Katie had suffered years of neglect and emotional and verbal abuse growing up with her alcoholic mother. Mother and her boyfriend constantly put Katie down, made threats to physically hurt her, and maintained a chaotic home environment.  By the time Katie was removed from her mother’s care, she was suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and depressed mood. She constantly replayed her mother’s hurtful, negative messages in her head. She had no self-confidence, made poor grades, and had a difficult time maintaining friendships in school.

Katie’s therapist started her in a course of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) —a treatment model specifically designed for youth who have undergone traumatic experiences and experience symptoms as a result. Throughout therapy, Katie and her therapist used relaxation and self-soothing techniques, confidence building, cognitive processing (identifying thoughts and beliefs), and safety planning.  She was able to tell her full story, understand what she had experienced, and recognize how it impacted her.  This allowed her to choose new ways of seeing herself and her future.

By the end of treatment, Katie’s confidence dramatically improved, her panic attacks were eliminated, and her negative thoughts were reduced.  Katie’s grades have gone up, and she was placed in an Honor’s-level English class.  She has made several friends, and has acclimated well in high school.  She has found a passion for music and participates in a music program, and is optimistic about a possible career in music or English.  Although Katie endured great difficulty and trauma, she has come to terms with her past.  She is ready to jump into the bright future she has ahead.

This child’s story is presented as real, the name and the picture are model representations to protect the child’s confidentiality.

 


Maya's Story

Maya, a 16 year old girl, was referred to Counseling4Kids’ Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) after witnessing a very traumatic event – her mom had taken a very big fall and injured her head pretty badly, causing her to be rushed to the emergency room for treatment.  The trauma of that event led Maya to have separation anxiety from her mother (she wanted to be by her mom’s side to make sure she was okay.)  During this time, Maya was often absent from school which caused her grades to drop. Sadly her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor causing her to lose vision, and her job.

Prior to Maya’s entering treatment, she had one suicide attempt, and struggled with social skills, anxiety, and  depression.  Maya’s therapist started her in a course of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) —a treatment specifically designed for youth who have undergone traumatic experiences. Throughout therapy, Maya and her therapist used self-talk therapy, different relaxation techniques, and tested accuracy of Maya’s thoughts, and the intensity of her emotions.

At the end of treatment, Maya’s social skills dramatically improved, and she is now able to maintain friendships and hold conversations. She now attends school full time, and was able to jump up a grade, and has much less anxiety. Maya and her mom still have a very open relationship, and she is now much more comfortable being separated from her mom.  Maya is able to process all of the trauma, while still concentrating on school. She recently got her driver’s license, and hopes to get a job soon.  Maya’s transition into being an independent adult is right around the corner, and is looking brighter than ever, now that she is not allowing any  of her past to stand in her way.

This child’s story is presented as real, the name and the picture are model representations to protect the child’s confidentiality.


Three Sisters and a Bright Future Ahead

In Fall 2014, three sisters, ages 6, 4, and 3 were referred to Counseling4Kids after displaying signs of trauma as a result of living with a neglectful, single mom who was addicted to drugs.  The girls were regularly seen outside their apartment complex unsupervised and wandering around.  After DCFS was alerted of this, the girls were removed from their mother’s care. This neglect led to a multitude of issues, as the oldest sister felt as if she had to constantly look after and speak for her two younger sisters, as mom was rarely around. The two younger sisters did not have any verbal skills, and all three of them had consistent nightmares along with poor manners and social skills.  The girls also struggled in social situations, and withdrew themselves from their peers.

As soon as an extended relative heard the girls would be placed in foster care, she voluntarily decided to take all three sisters in. The girls were treated with Trauma- Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) - a treatment specifically designed for children who have undergone traumatic experiences. Throughout therapy, the therapist used relaxation techniques, trauma narratives, and helped with emotional identification and expression. The therapist also used pyschoeducation with the caregivers, and taught them effective relaxation techniques for when the girls needed it, and how to provide comfort to the siblings.

After treatment, all three sisters showed signs of improvement. The 3-year-old went from being nonverbal to learning how to express her emotions, and using her words on a daily basis. The middle-aged sister gained confidence and skill building; she is now able to complete tasks, accept praise, and feel good about herself. The oldest sister is now very active in her classroom, and participates regularly and asks questions in class, and her social skills have improved. She is now much more comfortable, as she no longer feels responsible for looking after her younger sisters.

The sisters have a strong bond with their new caregivers, and will most likely be adopted by them very soon. All three of the sisters are very loving, and not only did the therapy improve their behavior, but also their sibling relationship. The girls are very excited to start this new life with their caregivers, and have a bright future ahead!

This child’s story is presented as real, the name and the picture are model representations to protect the child’s confidentiality.

 


Marcus's Story

When Marcus was five-years old, he witnessed domestic abuse between his father and mother.  Shortly after his father left the family, Marcus became a victim of domestic abuse.  His mother’s boyfriend moved in and physically abused both Marcus and his mother. As a result of the abuse and not having a relationship with his father, Marcus began suffering from depression and anger.  Ten-year-old Marcus was constantly isolating himself from others, and felt as if nobody loved him. He physically abused his siblings, and had crying episodes and anger outbursts.  Marcus would tell his mom on a regular basis that he felt nobody cared for him, and felt worthless.  He had difficulty completing tasks and concentrating.

In July 2014, Marcus was referred to the Counseling4Kids and placed in the Managing Adapting Practice (MAP) Therapeutic Program (a systematic, data driven approach to treatment that draws upon existing research-demonstrated interventions and creates a customized plan for each client). Throughout his therapy, Marcus and his therapist used Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) – a treatment model specifically designed for youth who have undergone traumatic experiences and experience symptoms.  As part of this therapy, Marcus and his therapist used self-relaxation techniques and used psychoeducation (a type of therapy that can help the client develop the coping skills needed to avoid a potentially harmful mood swing). Marcus and his mother also participated in some family sessions, and did a lot of thought-process work, including how to identify their feelings and communicate them effectively. Marcus’s therapist also worked with his mom to teach her how to praise positive behavior.  Once Marcus and his mother began communicating their feelings, a huge turnaround happened.

Marcus and his mom started to have consistent, positive interactions, and both of them knew how to effectively communicate their feelings. Marcus’s mother began to use positive language, and praise Marcus when he   deserved it. The relationship Marcus had with his siblings improved dramatically, and his anger outbursts completely stopped. Marcus is doing great in school, and is now very hopeful and confident about his bright    future, and is excited to start this new relationship with his mother.

This child’s story is presented as real, the name and the picture are model representations to protect the child’s confidentiality.

 

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