Laura is 16 years old and presented for counselling last year, having been a school refuser over a substantial period of time. Laura had suffered a very traumatic past, involving prolonged abuse in different forms by both parents. Laura had been through the judicial system and now stays with her grandparents. Before Laura came for counselling she struggled every day with issues such as depression, anxiety, low confidence and self esteem, self harming behaviours and suicide ideation. Laura did not feel safe anywhere or around anyone, school, in her view was an unsafe place to be.
Counselling work with Laura began by building up a safe and trusting working counselling relationship. The counsellor worked hard at creating a safe space where Laura could tell her story. Laura gradually, at her own pace, began to address many unresolved issues from her past and how they were blocking her from moving forward and achieving her full potential. Over time Laura has made tremendous progress, both on a personal level and academically.
These are her words:
Last year I hit a rough patch both inside and outside school. I felt excluded and that I didn't belong there. Outside school my Granda had a heart attack and had to be put into hospital for six months. Then they found he had a tumour in his bladder which left to cancer.
At the beginning I didn't want to go to counselling as I thought that talking about events that had happened in the past would've been a bad thing, but it did help tremendously.
I'm a pisces so I daydream a lot, I would make up fantasies in my head about having two flawless parents without any ups and downs like my biological parents have. Counselling has brought me to see the reality of things rather than the fantasy. I know everyone tries to escape reality everyday to make their problems go away but it never works out for the best.
Counselling has made me confront the reality of my past and my parents, but counselling has also made me realise that I can turn my misfortune into a good thing. When I leave school I'm aiming to become a psychiatrist, and for that you need good grades. I don't mean to to blow my own bubble but I've grown to realise I am capable of producing A* work. Bakc in Januart I had to do an English Literature or Language exam at higher tier where I got an A* and a B*.
At home I don't feel as if I'm understood they don't realise that I have stress because the rest of life is on my shoulders. While in counselling I am understood even when I've become violent they understood why i was violent unlike my family. Counselling made me understand that its okay to have fits even violent ones because its my own mind's way of dealing with emotions that have been compressed down within me for 11 years.
I'm not just an angry teenager, lashing out at people because I didn't get my own way, I'm a teenager who's had to grow up very fast and had to play the role of the mother rather than the daughter. I have had to learn independence for too young and quite frankly having my childhood literally taken from me.
I know I'm not perfect but counselling is helping me change my outlook on life, even one decimal at a time.