Success Stories

7 year old girl experiencing severe trauma

Amy is a seven year old Anglo female with long brown hair and brown eyes.  She was referred to the Child Guidance Clinic of Texoma because of a break-in at her home, in which her mother was critically injured.  When Amy got out of bed to see why her mother was screaming, she was told to leave the room.  At that time, she recognized the voice of her mother’s attacker.  Amy’s mother was violently raped and beaten.  Amy later helped her mother to a neighbor’s house.  The attack was reported to the authorities.

When Amy first came to the Clinic, she was experiencing nightmares about the attack, and she was exhibiting much inappropriate behavior such as throwing “fits,” kicking, screaming, stomping and she was very defiant.  Also, Amy was very afraid to be out of her mother’s presence.   At home, Amy would not play outside with her friends.  At the Clinic Amy was unable to be in a play therapy room without her mother. 

The therapist who worked with Amy provided a safe, nurturing environment for her, in which she could begin to experience healing and mastery over the events that had occurred in her life.  Amy used play therapy to create a safe environment for herself, and the therapist helped her identify and appropriately express her many feelings about the violent episode.  She made a picture collage which revealed sadness and worry, especially regarding her mother.  The therapist gave Amy a tiny “worry doll” to whom she could tell her fears and worries. 
The “worry doll” then symbolically “worried” so that Amy didn’t have to do so as often.  Also, Amy created a metaphor describing what had happened in her home by using sand tray therapy.

When Amy began therapy, she insisted that her mother be in the room at all times and the door remain open.  As therapy progressed, Amy was able to stay in the therapy room alone, so long as her mother stood in the hall and put her hand on the door so that Amy could see her.  As therapy progressed, Amy became comfortable in the therapy room with the door closed, and she no longer required the presence of her mother during her sessions.

Amy was eventually able to testify in open court about the violent incident.  She identified her attacker who was found guilty of the charge(s) levied against him. 

5 year old client experiencing grief

Just for a moment imagine that you are Teddy, a soft, cuddly teddy bear which 5 year old Sarah holds onto each week during her play therapy sessions at the Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma. Sarah holds tight to Teddy for safety and security while she shares with her therapist the overwhelming grief of losing her mother in a car accident. Her tears stream down Teddy's ears and nose. He doesn't mind; he knows they are part of the healing process.

6 year old client who was sexually abused

At the Child & Family Guidance Center children, like Taylor are provided a safe place to go and a caring adult to share their deepest hurts and feelings. That mix allows true healing to happen. Just for a minute pretend you are the child size paintbrush 6 year old Taylor uses at the Child & Family Guidance Center to paint her pain, confusion, and hurt of the abuse she has suffered in her young, innocent life. Taylor picks up the brush and focuses intently on the blank canvas while  her therapist gently, patiently coaxes her to paint what "she feels." Taylor carefully chooses a soft yellow color and begins to paint a small fragile figure at the bottom left of the blank page. Next, she dips her brush in clean water and chooses the color black.

Taylor's breathing becomes heavy and tears well up in her blue eyes as she paints wide black arches on top of the tiny, pale figure. She completes her art therapy by adding a bright yellow sun just above the dark, monstrous arches. As Taylor paints the last sun beam, she takes a deep breath, slowly lays the brush down, closes her eyes, and softly says, "I feel better now."