Rachael: 10 years old, complained of stomach aches and didn’t want to be away from her parents

Problems Brought into Therapy:

When Rachael’s mother brought her to see us, Rachael had been complaining of frequent stomach aches. She would often call her parents from school wanting to go home stating she wasn’t feeling well.

At home, she avoided going to bed at night. She would put it off as long as she could by finding something else to talk about, or something else to do. She also didn’t want to go to friend’s birthday parties, preferring to stay home with her parents.

Rachael’s parents became increasingly concerned about these behaviors as they worsened over time. Therefore, they brought her in for counselling.

Outcome of Therapy Sessions:

Through counselling, it was discovered that Rachael had anxious tendencies and worried about a lot of things. She had insecurities about being away from her parents dating back to preschool and kindergarten.

Our therapist also found that Rachael’s mother tended to be somewhat of a “worry wart” who suffered from anxiety. Rachael obviously picked up some of these tendencies from her mother.

Our counsellor did some parent counselling and education with Rachael’s parents. She taught them about anxiety and how it works in the body and the brain. She also showed them some strategies and tools to help manage Rachael’s anxiety.

Our therapist also taught Rachael some relaxation tools and strategies to her relax and ease her worries. Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy was used to help change some of her fears about being away from her parents.

Gradually through play therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy Rachael was able to stay at school and feel more relaxed while she was there. Her friendships became easier, and she was less anxious about being away from her parents.

David, 8 Years Old: Behaving aggressively at home and a school.

Problems Brought into Therapy:

When David‘s mother, Jennifer, came to see us for counselling she was at her wits end. She felt her son was out of her control. She couldn’t get him to cooperate at home. He seemed angry all the time and was constantly getting into fights with his sister.

The same type of aggressive behavior occurred at school. David was constantly getting into conflicts with other children and behaved angrily towards them, often hitting them. The school was concerned, and they wanted Jennifer to do something.

One of our counsellors met with Jennifer to get a history of the problem and to provide support. Jennifer didn’t understand why her child was behaving aggressively, although she stated that it had started about a year ago.

Outcome of Therapy Sessions:

In the early therapy sessions, David was reluctant to play with the toys and was angry that he had to come for therapy. However, slowly he started to enjoy art activities and looked forward to our sessions. His play was often aggressive. Our counsellor gently explored his aggression with him as he played.

A major theme in his play was that he felt inferior to his sister who was younger than him. He also seemed to feel that his mother favored his sister because she never got into trouble, and he always did.

To make matters worse, David’s parents had divorced 18 months earlier, and David missed his father whom he only saw on weekends.

Our counsellor worked with David’s mother and helped her find ways to talk to David when he was upset so that he would calm down. As well, Jennifer began to spend more time alone with David, which helped him to feel more secure about his place in the family.

David’s aggression gradually decreased as he was able to work through his emotions in play and art therapy, his mother gave him a little more attention, and David started to spend more time with his father.

Lorraine & Kevin: Parents of 16-year-old Jessica struggling with an alcohol and drug addiction

Problems Lorraine & Kevin Brought into Therapy:

Lorraine and Kevin were at their wits end when they came for therapy. Their daughter, Jessica, was drinking regularly, and they suspected she was also using drugs. They were very worried about her and felt helpless about what to do.

Lorraine and Kevin tried grounding Jessica, but she snuck out when they were not home. They took away her privileges, which didn’t help either.

Both Lorraine and Kevin didn’t understand what was going on with Jessica. They felt guilty as they assumed her behavior must have something to do with their failure to be good parents.

Jessica refused to go to therapy herself, so we provided parent counselling to Lorraine and Kevin on setting boundaries with Jessica.

Outcome of Lorraine & Kevin’s Therapy:

During therapy, Lorraine and Kevin came to realize that they were much too lenient with Jessica. They reported that she had always been a very demanding child who always wanted her way.

Since she was a young child, they often gave into her demands in order to reduce her temper tantrums. Jessica also lost her grandmother at the age of 10 whom she was very close to, and then a year later she lost her pet dog, Sam.

Her tantrums and misbehavior seemed to escalate after these two events.

Lorraine and Kevin came to understand that they had to be very firm with Jessica if they were going to be able to help her. They stopped buying her things whenever she wanted them and refrained from giving her money whenever she asked for it. They gave her a set amount of weekly allowance only. Jessica no longer had money to buy drugs and alcohol, which helped reduce her substance abuse habits.

Our counsellor also worked with Lorraine and Kevin to try to improve the relationship they had with Jessica, as it had become quite strained. Since they now had set firmer boundaries with Jessica and didn’t give in to her temper tantrums, Jessica began to settle down. The fighting between Jessica and her parents decreased as they began to share more positive time together.

Eventually, Jessica agreed to go to a treatment center to get help for her substance abuse problems. When we last saw Lorraine and Kevin they had a much better relationship with Jessica and were feeling optimistic about their relationship with her as well as their future as a family.

Francine: Grieving the Loss of her Husband

Problems Francine Brought into Therapy:

When Francine came to therapy, she was devastated. Her husband, Daniel, of 10 years had just left her for another woman. She had no idea that this was coming -she was completely blind-sighted. She felt shocked, angry, and helpless. She cried a lot as she tried to understand why this had happened to her.

She felt lost and was immobilized. She was unable to do anything due to her intense grief.

As we worked together in therapy it became clear that Francine had a history of relationships that didn’t meet her needs. She had also been left by two previous boyfriends, which had left deep scars.

Outcome of Francine’s Therapy:

During therapy, Francine worked through her feelings of loss and grief, resolved some of her anger at her husband, and began taking the steps required to rebuild her life.

She realized that there had always been problems in the relationship with her husband that were never resolved. She had tried to communicate with her husband about these problems in their early years, to no avail. She had decided that was just the way he was, and there was nothing she could do about it.

She now realized that obviously there were problems for him too that he did not want to talk about.

Francine saw that she had denied her needs in the relationship because she didn’t feel she could talk to her husband about them. Through therapy, she began to clarify what her needs were and started to feel stronger. Her self-confidence grew, and she started to get involved in her community and create new friendships.

She came to see that she needed someone much more emotionally available than her husband, Daniel.  Although she didn’t feel ready to start dating, she had a much better picture in her mind of the kind of relationship she wanted, needed and deserved.

Francine felt that at this point in her life she needed to be there for her children as much as possible and that dating would be something that she would pursue in the future when she felt ready.

Note: To protect client confidentiality, all stories above are composites of many clients we have worked with over the years.

If you would like to achieve similar results to the stories above, please contact us and fine out more about how we can help.

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