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A young male of Black British heritage called us to ask for counselling to help work through challenges ranging from anxiety, self-image, low mood/depression and past trauma.
Within a couple of sessions he opened up about his past experience and the imprint this left on his self-esteem and self-confidence. He used our sensory room and brought his raw emotions that allowed him to feel vulnerable and more able to explore what was going on for him.
As a young black man, social and cultural expectation drove him to repress his feelings, having to look tough and pretend that everything was fine. Over the course of his counselling sessions, he became more and more in-tune with himself, realising how he could have healthier relationships whilst understanding the barriers he’d built to protect himself. He rediscovered his passion for music and recognised that it is ok to ask for help sometimes.
Our Advice & Rights Advocacy service has a variety of cases come through via our enquiry system or other local referral routes.
We work with a lot of parents/carers and families who have many things going on for them at the same time so we often work together for longer periods of time.
A family of 4 who we worked with were at risk of being evicted from a one bedroom flat, two of the children were being bullied at school and Mum was trying to get back into the workforce. We successfully supported them by advocating at various meetings with the Council’s Housing Department to find new accomodation, at school with the Headteacher to stop the bullying, identified training courses for Mum and we used our Household Support Fund to be able to buy new school uniforms and shoes for the children.
A 17 year old male agreed to meet our Go Further Go Higher worker if his mum could attend the meeting too which was fine.
At first he wanted his meetings to be over the phone as he didn’t feel comfortable being out in public due to losing a lot of his confidence during Covid. He had lost his place in college because of this so we helped him apply for various apprenticeships and he got two interviews however was unsuccessful.
Not daunted, we began applying for paid jobs, he was offered. He is very pleased that he can now earn his own money and although he wasn’t keen to engage with the project at first in case we let him down like “every other service did” we were glad to help him persevere and move forward in his life.
A mother and 16 month old infant referred to the PAIRS team by the NHS for key work support.
Dad was the sole carer and Mum struggled with chronic low mood, anxiety, OCD and agoraphobia. We helped her to leave the house to access local toddler services and encouraged the 3 of them to bond together – the family attended 25 sessions of therapy with a PAIRS psychotherapist which prompted Mum to say:
“Parenting doesn’t feel as overwhelming a task because I know now that my child’s need for me is different to what my mum demanded of me. I can see what kind of mother I want to be and I’m starting to feel like I have something good to give her.”
An 8 year old boy with ADHD was referred for anxiety, bullying, eating issues and friendship difficulties so came to us for play therapy at school.
Over time he understood how the sessions could help him and he slowly gained confidence to express his full range of emotions with the counsellor who accepted him for who he was whilst at the same time maintaining boundaries to help keep him safe.
By the time his sessions ended he was much more confident walking around school, had better relationships with his peers and was eating a healthier diet.
A 19 year old female came onto the Talkbus with her Dad with concerns about mental health, friendship groups and that she wasn’t doing anything productive with her time.
After a few visits to the Talkbus we began having much deeper and meaningful conversations. We helped her to stop using recreational drugs because they made her feel paranoid and changed her behaviour in a way she didn’t like.
We talked a lot about how the people she hung out with weren’t always around for her best interests and often encouraged her to do silly or potentially dangerous things. As she was very interested in working with animals we managed to get her onto a placement scheme at London Zoo and she has been accepted to study Zoology at University. We have agreed to stay in touch and support her for her next steps.
A 15 year old female came for counselling to help with anxiety, sleeping difficulties and agoraphobia.
Our first 2 sessions were held over the telephone and her voice was barely audible. Within 3 weeks she started coming to face to face counselling in the sensory room, said she had not attended school for 18 months and that she ‘loved lockdown’ but was terrified at the thought of returning to school.
Our work uncovered early childhood experiences of racial abuse aimed at her and her family. Which had been very hard for her so over the weeks we helped her build more trust in herself and others, increased her self-belief, confidence, ability to seek assistance and helped her feel more in control of her anxiety. In the last session she told us that she had started at her new school and we kept working together to help her settle into her new routine and deal with all the new people she was meeting.
A 13-year-old female referred to us via CAMHS presented with suicidal feelings, self-harming, eating issues and an incident of sexual abuse.
She had stopped going to school, said she felt isolated and her relationship with her family was fragile. She told the counsellor about her love for art and came into one session with some artwork which was amazing. So we agreed to visit a youth club to join in an art workshop.
A couple of weeks later she had been to an interview at art school for a place on a course and had been successful. In counselling her confidence grew, she joined a gym with her Mum, started cooking for her family and entered an art competition. She joined our Young People’s Team and made new friends. She has stopped self-harming and said she is in a much better place in her life with lots of things to look forward to.