Therapy and Children
Therapy and Children
The true story of “M” by Mary C.
*M was a 4yo little girl when I met her. She had been removed from her mother due to neglect and her father had not been in her life. She was separated from her older protective sister and was having a great deal of difficulty trusting and being able to express her feelings without hitting, stealing, shutting down or telling “fantastic stories” which she would use to avoid telling the truth or change her reality.
M was initially terrified of the dark, being left alone and bugs.
Her birthmother sporadically visited her at the agency, often promising to see her the following week, bringing treats and gifts with her; but, those promises were frequently broken. Her father emerged and visited briefly; however, he stopped coming to see her as well. This would leave M dazed, hurt, confused and angry and her “acting out” behaviors would spike during this time. Both of M’s parents eventually lost their rights.
M’s foster parents diligently worked with M in her weekly mental health sessions through play, sand tray, art and music to teach her how she could talk about her feelings and get her wants and needs met instead of feeling alone and “in trouble”. She began to differentiate when things were “real” versus “fake” (e.g. being told “no” didn’t mean “I don’t love you”). She was able to be prepared for and cope more healthfully with triggers (such as her parents not showing for visits and verbalize that it wasn’t because of something that she did (or didn’t do) or that she wasn’t “a good kid”.
Overtime, M began to heal.
She is 8 years old now and can readily name a wide range of feelings and practices how to deal with them, both using adult support and when alone. She is bright, empathetic, thoughtful and quite humorous. She says that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up so that she can help other people. Or, maybe grow plants and take care of them to make things pretty.
M was adopted by her foster parents and had prepared for a long time to be in her ‘forever family.’
While she still has times when she struggles more than others as she matures in her understanding of her history, she is a thriving, beautiful and outgoing little girl with a bright future ahead of her. She has gone from weekly sessions to once monthly at this time.
*M is the initial we are using to represent the child’s name due to the need to maintain confidentiality