I just finished working with a 14 year old with learning difficulties. He is in a new family as he was adopted at 2 years old following physical abuse from his real parents and possible sexual abuse. He suffered a non accidental injury to his eye and is blind in that eye as a result. His learning difficulties came about after he was shaken as a baby at 6 weeks old. This lead to cerebral palsy. He had injuries to his finger and toe nails, blistering in his mouth and damage to his spine. He has 5 brothers and sisters who were each abused as well some of them very seriously. His birth parents were never prosecuted but he did find his way to a loving new family after a 2 year adoption process.
He came to see me with suspected PTSD and various escalating emotional issues mainly around fear. Fear of lifts, toilet and travellers. He fears aggression having had a CAMHS therapist ask him “even though you couldn’t remember the abuse, what would you feel like if you did?” He was seeing the CAHMS therapist for 5 years.
He wouldn’t play in the park, or go to the shops alone because he could feel the worry in his heart making it beat faster. Then he would ask worry questions and wind himself up.
At night he had nightmares and self harmed.
After his consultation I wanted to go to CAMHS and wallop someone. Fortunately it was out of hours so I couldn’t.
Instead I told him I would get him better. Without question. (You shouldn’t ever really make guarantees like this.)
If I had to work every day for free for the rest of my life I would make this boy better.
Mum asked if they should stop seeing the CAMHS therapist as she wasn’t sure it was helping. I nodded whilst saying I cannot possibly influence their decision and they should decide alone.
When we worked together, of course I did all the usual stunts swish, anchoring etc. But the most important thing was that I was unwavering in imparting my belief that he would be better. I also told him that the world isn’t always a safe place, that bad things happen to good people, but the difference is what you do next and how you think afterwards.
It was his third and last session today which had all been paid for by the courts protection service.
He said today he stood in Asda next to 4 or 5 travellers and knows now that they are just normal people. They are not all bad. Non-travellers can be good or bad too. He was worried the world was going to end in 2012 so we talked about the history and future of the earth. I said the world was supposed to end last year and in 2000 but it didn’t happen yet. He said NASA had said it isn’t true that the world will end. I said NASA know their stuff.
We talked about the self harming and he said the biggest problem with that now is that his scabs are itchy from the healing wounds. I told him to moisturise and tap them instead of scratching them if they itch. I also said he is growing a whole new body every day and one day he will notice that all the scars have gone, then he will forget they were ever there and that he ever used to hurt himself.
He said he’d come back if he needed to but he is ok for now.
Mum said I saved his life.
I’m going home to drink some wine.