When Anna began working with her Child Therapist, she described herself as nervous and afraid. She had been sexually abused by someone she trusted and felt very anxious being away from her parents. Though caring and supportive, Anna’s parents didn’t know how to help their daughter, who is just eight years old. Her parents shared how helpless and upset they were for “letting this happen to their child.”
In her first session, Anna wanted to know about her therapist; she asked whether the therapist had children and whether the therapist had ever had this happen to her too. Sensing the vulnerability and desire to connect, the therapist and Anna talked about all kinds of things seemingly unrelated to “therapy.” Through the next few sessions, Anna and the therapist did art projects together and Anna created a coping skills box. The therapist noticed that Anna’s creations were often in shades of black and gray, and they talked about how Anna saw herself in these dark colors.
Through the therapist’s psycho education, Anna and her parents learned about her brain and how it reacts to trauma in different ways. Anna also learned that she can teach her brain ways to help with that trauma. She found that counting objects around her helped calm her mind. She also liked moving beads along a string, so she carried them in her pocket for a while.
By the end of her final session, Anna had many tools to help herself. She decided that she would be okay when she was away from her parents and she was able to go back to school. Anna told her therapist that she saw life differently now and could see the world in color again. For their last art project together, Anna and her therapist painted, and this time, Anna’s canvas was alive with vibrant colors and shapes.
*name and identifying details changed to preserve privacy and confidentiality.