Tom* did not trust adults and had good reasons for this. By the age of 10, when I met him as we began counselling sessions at his school, he had been let down and badly treated by a string of adults.
His mother, being young when he was born, was unable to care for him and his grandparents initially brought him up. When they found it too much for them he was passed onto his aunt, but her partner, who had anger issues, physically abused Tom. This resulted in him being taken into care around the age of six and being placed with foster parents. Instead of keeping him safe he was subjected to sexual abuse until he eventually disclosed what was happening.
Tom moved to a new area to be with different foster parents who he seems very happy with, but this also meant a new school as well as new home. His behaviour could be difficult, challenging authority at one moment and at other times ignoring everyone, being withdrawn as though he wanted to be invisible. His self-esteem was very low and he wondered if in some way he was to blame for it all. He thought he just wasn’t loveable.
Counselling helped Tom to understand that none of what had happened was his fault and that people such as his new foster parents, his teachers, his counsellor and others do care about him and that there are trustworthy adults in his life. He began to appreciate himself and his confidence grew which in turn helped him improve his relationships with both adults and his peers. Counselling enabled Tom to have a voice and be heard without the fear of being judged so he was able to express his anger and fear whilst feeling safe to do so.
*Image and name have been changed for client confidentiality.