Play Therapy Success

Meet Kara* Then: Kara was removed from her biological parents at just 14 months of age. She was placed into foster care along with her biological siblings. One brother and one sister. While in her foster home, Kara and her siblings were adopted into a seemingly appropriate family as evaluated by the case providers. After some time, it was uncovered that Kara and her siblings were being abused in their new environment. Kara and her sister were receiving the highest level of abuse and appeared to be the focus of the attention of the adoptive mother who often times would physically and emotionally abuse the children and then make false reports that the children were abusing her. After being removed from the adoptive home, reports of sexual abuse began to arise, and that was only the beginning. Kara was accused of attempting to drown her brother causing a separation from her siblings that continues to this day. Kara’s behaviors quickly escalated which led to multiple foster home placements, and by the age of 7 she was placed in a residential facility to assist in efforts to maintain her behavior.

Meet Kara Now: Kara is 11 years of age and currently participates in play therapy at Whitington’s home office. Kara’s treatment consists of one on one attention for three hours per week with a therapist that is trained in play based behavior management and trauma resolution. Kara participates in grooming, hair brushing, nail painting, using lotions and hand washing in order to re-learn the basic techniques of being cared for because these activities were used inappropriately during her years of childhood abuse. Kara also uses art and musical techniques alongside the guided play to allow her to overcome her past traumatic events and to learn how to master her own behavior. Kara has shown great improvement through play therapy along with medication management and a dedicated team. When asked what play therapy is able to assist Kara in achieving she did not hesitate to say, “It helps me to trust”.

*Names are changed to keep identification confidential.

Home Based Case Work & Therapy Success

Letter from a Home Based Therapy client.

October 22, 2014

Dear _____,

I’m writing this to tell you thank you for your services with me and my family. I know that when I first saw you/found out we were doing counseling I didn’t think a thing was going to change or get better. I thought I was going to be that “miserable teen” that thinks her life is going to be sooo terrible until she turns 18 and moves out. (Like my choir teacher tells us, “We gotta get our life together”) and you helped me do that. You also helped me open up my eyes and realize everything that I had around me. You made me smile. Really smile. I see everything from a different perspective. I thought I was going to have some resentment against my Step-Mom forever, and now, I can honestly say that I am proud to have someone that smart in my life. Someone who can guide me in the right direction so I don’t fall again, someone who will be there for me and love me. You helped me see that without my Step-Mom and Dad, I probably wouldn’t have as good as grades or just be the person I am today. My Step-Mom and Dad are my role models and I finally have someone I can say I want to be like when I grow up. I want to be successful and smart.

I feel like I can somewhat open up to my parents now. Without you I couldn’t have done that. I learned how to make an “approach” rather than an “attack”.  You started with me at my worst. I was stubborn and didn’t really want to do the things you wanted me to. But you were patient with me. It’s going to be weird without you around. Without someone to just kind of guide me and help me through some things. But I guess that’s all a part of it. Sometimes you got to learn to walk on your own. And I will. You made me laugh A LOT. You’re pretty funny. I feel like in the past 6 months I had real friend.  I hope that one day you come to like dogs and cats and real alive flowers (Ha-Ha) Oh, and I hope you carve many more pumpkins in the years to come.

Well I guess todays it. It’s time for me to walk on my own. I am really truly thankful that you helped me. I know that any family that you work with in the future is going to love you. You really know how to make a family feel like a family again. I know you’re going to go far and change a lot of lives like you have changed mine.  Also, I hope that you consider going into photography again sometime because you’re really good at it. Thanks again for everything you have done for us.

Sincerely,

_______


Whitington provided home based case work and therapy to a family consisting of a single mother with four children. The mother was going to school part-time and working full-time. She had limited supports and resources. Whitington worked with this family for approximately one year. During this time, the family experienced many struggles related to mental health, behavioral health and parenting. The mother was willing to participate in services, but at times became overwhelmed and would shut down. The case manager and therapist working with her had to be very cognizant of the mother’s feelings and life circumstances in order to build rapport. The case manager and therapist were able to build a trusting relationship with the mother and the children. The mother began to vocalize her thoughts and feelings and identify the needs of the family. The mother learned and implemented several new parenting techniques, including a positive praise wall, where the children had several options of rewards to choose from for positive behavior. The mother also de veloped a small support system to help with child care needs, and to serve as a support when she began to feel overwhelmed. She was able to have her case successfully closed out with the Department of Child Services at the end of that year.