Case Study – Names and places have been changed to protect the persons’ privacy.
Fourteen year old CJ, lives in a single parent family with her mother two sisters, one older and one younger. She attends secondary school and was a fun child at home as well as at school, she loved to play and socialize with her family and friends. It was reported to the CCPA that CJ experienced a traumatic encounter by a close friend of the family who lives in the same community as her. CJ was sexually abused and this caused her emotional pain. She first confided in her older sister, who shared a similar experience with the family friend. Her mother noticed that she had suddenly become withdrawn from her family and friends and even though she was never much of a speaker she was too quiet. CJ’s social interactions made a drastic change and also her school work suffered also as a result of her emotional state. She was displaying frequent aggressive behaviour towards her younger brother in the home and her isolation from the family was growing. Upon investigation, CJ’s older sister related their experiences to their mother even though CJ didn’t want the story exposed and drawing attention to her.
CJ was referred to the CAC through the CCPA where her mother had made a report, in an effort to help her overcome the traumatic encounter and move on with her life. During the initial counselling session, CJ seemed like a typical teenager who is just going through the normal phases of adolescence. However, after the Social Worker discoursed with her it was realized that CJ was withdrawn and reluctant to interact in a session. Subsequently, AS sessions with CJ continued, she displayed an extremely reserved personality and a very low concept of herself and some level of self blame for the sexual abuse. The social worker realised that CJ was seeking a way to vent her feelings through fighting and her negative experiences served as a distraction in school. During the session she barely interacted with the counsellor, and it took multiple sessions for the child to gradually speak about the sexual abuse while being able to manage her emotions. This was done by teaching the child stress management techniques and feelings identification and expression. These skills helped her to relax and calm herself when taking about the sexual abuse. After gradually exposing her to her encounter she learned the art of facing and talking about her traumatic experience without feeling re-traumatized.
The sessions over four (4) months served as a way to help CJ express her frustrations and emotions verbally as a way to improve her social interactions. The counsellor used Creative intervention tools and facial expression activities during these sessions. The intervention undertaken by the ChildLinK counsellor was based on self-esteem and self image, having a positive lifestyle and stress management. In time CJ expressed her hurts and feelings surrounding the events that led her to become more violent and anti social. The counsellor started to build a relationship of trust with her over this time by creating the environment for CJ to open up and confide in someone with the necessary skills to help her. After working with the child over this period the child’s aggressive behaviour began to reduce; she stopped fighting with her brothers and tried to live more lovingly. CJ was much more open during the counselling sessions as time went by and began to interact more and able to explain herself in ways she was not able to previously. CJ’s mother was counselled by the PSC counsellor in order to allow her share any feelings and the effects the events had on herself and the family. The counsellor utilized the opportunity to assess the situation and speak with the family about the importance of CJ’s school work since she had fallen back in class.
CJ now interacts and plays as a normal healthy child and is looking forward to starting school next yr and follow up sessions are planned to monitor her progress.
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