At the time of his referral, Tom was at risk of permanent exclusion from his education. At school, Tom’s behaviour was often unmanageable, and he would regularly lash out at teachers and other children in his class. At home, Tom’s aggression sometimes led to his mother being physically assaulted.
The anger Tom was expressing, was a stress reaction in response to the domestic violence and abandonment he had experienced from his father in his earlier years. Tom was in desperate need of therapeutic support to process his trauma.
As a first step to supporting Tom, his therapist provided clear boundaries and consistency, while also giving Tom the freedom to explore the space and take control of his sessions. Tom used his time each week to create art, make slime and play ball games. At first Tom’s play was solitary, and he was reluctant to engage with his therapist. However, as the weeks progressed and Tom realised his therapist could be trusted to return to the sessions each week, his anxiety eased, and he began exploring his lived experiences.
The process of change happened for Tom when he started sharing painful thoughts and feelings with his therapist. As Tom discussed his lived experiences, he was met with warmth and compassion which validated his feelings and showed him how important he is. As Tom’s sessions continued, he started to show clear signs of increased resilience, including problem-solving skills and self-compassion.
Through his therapy, Tom was also able to explore the meaning of safety, and the trusting of relationships outside of his therapy sessions. As a result, Tom’s relationships with others improved. Furthermore, as Tom processed his trauma, he was able to let go of a lot of the anger he had been carrying, which also improved his interactions at school. As a result, Tom was more engaged in class and the improvements seen in his education supported his increased self-esteem.
At the end of Tom’s therapy, his mother shared, “It has been incredible to see the transformation in Tom. He is more present; his relationships have improved and has a more positive outlook on life. Thank you for giving me my child back.”