Sophia (name changed to protect child's identity) is a 6th grade girl that presented with missing school, peer relational issues, deteriorating parental relationships. Her initial diagnosis was Adjustment Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified). After meeting her a couple more sessions it was evident that more was going on than what was presented. She was being solicited by boys at school for physical contact and electronic sexual messages. Also, an older sibling was struggling with drug and mood issues that led to a physical altercation in the home.
Treatment goals were to improve her relationship with her mother, and to build up healthy boundaries for herself.
Sophia was seen a total of 7 times over 5 months. She shared openly and was willing to accept feedback. Sophia was fearful of her brother, felt violated by boys at school, and cried a lot. The abuse to her by both brother and the boys was reported by the therapist to Social Services. Her mother was informed about the situation. The therapist talked about healthy boundaries and appropriate interactions. Asserting was one of the main things that the therapist taught her. Sophia shared more about her brother, and that situation improved. She reported another incident with a boy at school, and it was also reported to social services. Mother and Sophia reported that their relationship was improving.
Sophia was discharged successfully with goals met. When I reflect on this client and the progress, I see a tremendous impact on Sophia’s life versus the alternative of no treatment. I believe that she would have continued to live with distance between her and mother, that peer relationships would have been more important, and that at some point in the future she would be more severely sexually abused. The gains for her led to stronger ties with mother and assertive skills to stand up to the pressures of adolescence. Therapy was ended with a very good bond with the therapist that can be relied upon in the future if needed.
The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Community Service therapists treat children recovering from trauma such as witnessing domestic violence, surviving physical, sexual. or emotional abuse or other life stressors. Therapists help children and their families improve their level of psychosocial functioning by reducing stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns through clinically appropriate therapeutic interventions.