This story is about Alice, who LYP has supported with one-to-one help, and is written by a member of our team.
Alice is a student at Therfield School, she is in year 11 and sitting her exams this Summer.
Alice was referred to us as she was often tearful and had expressed feeling low, and she asked to speak to someone about how she was feeling.
In our first session together we looked at all areas of her life to develop an overall assessment of how she is coping. Alice comes from a blended family that had some complicated family dynamics, her Mum had recently split from her step dad and some domestic incidents had been reported to the police. Alice was self-harming and described her self-esteem as non-existent. She said that she constantly felt low and was generally feeling overwhelmed about her future plans.
We set some goals for our sessions, Alice wanted to stop self-harming, to feel an increase in her confidence, to process family changes and to make a decision about her post year 11 plans.
Alice and I had 20 sessions together, at the beginning of each session I would ask Alice to list 3 things she likes about herself, but they had to be different from the previous things she had told me. We did this so that when she thought of herself she could always have a few things in her head that were positive. I wrote these down in a list and on our last session I gave the list to Alice. In total she had verbalised 60 things she liked about herself.
We spent time looking at her post year 11 options. Writing pros and cons for each one and investigating any questions she had. Alice finally decided that she would like to move in with Dad and go to the local college near his home. Alice was extremely nervous about speaking to Mum about this, previously any discussions similarly ended up being an argument. We role played how she could clearly explain her thoughts whilst not hurting Mum’s feeling. Alice did speak to Mum and the conversation went well, this really built up Alice’s confidence in talking to Mum about her feelings and they now have regular chats about the recent family changes. Alice hopes that when she moves out she can still visit Mum and continue to work on their relationship.
With other areas of her life improving Alice felt less need to turn to self-harm, however she was still occasionally cutting out of habit. Each week Alice tried a different way of coping with her emotions to see what would work for her. One week, she would listen to music instead of cutting. Another week, she would write in her journal. After trying about 5 different options she decided that drawing was going to be her new way of coping. We also made a calm pack for her to use when she was upset, this included a photo of her favourite place, lyrics from a song that makes her happy, her favourite perfume, a small cuddly toy and some chewing gum… all things that make her feel relaxed. She put the list of things she likes about herself into the calm pack.
I have been extremely proud of how Alice has engaged with each session and loved having the opportunity to share with her how much she has progressed. Alice no longer self-harms and has said that she feels much happier with who she is. She is currently sitting her GCSEs and is excited about going to college in September to sit her A Levels.
Here is a quote from Alice about our sessions:
“It helped me overcome self-harming and gave me advice for when I feel low and it has generally made me a happier, more confident person.
I have overcome a great barrier of self confidence issues, it jas helped me realise that I shouldn’t care about what people think about me and I am a lot more outgoing now”