At six years old David had already experienced domestic violence from his mother who was addicted to alcohol and occasional drug use. She had abused them throughout her pregnancy which had affected David. He was diagnosed with Alcohol Retained Syndrome.
Following a succession of unsuitable partners, where David experienced physical and emotional abuse he was then placed in the care of a relative. They did not feel equipped to care for this little boy but took him in out of a sense of obligation.
David had issues with attachment, he was angry, he had learned a variety of unsuitable strategies to get the attention he craved. He would quickly ‘kick off’ hitting peers, shout, continually tell lies as he was unable to cope with being honest about his behaviour.
He had been given six sessions of therapy with a statutory organisation but didn’t engage so it stopped. Fegans was asked to meet him to see if he would be prepared to work with us.
David liked his counsellor. They played games where he could win sometimes and feel he was succeeding in doing something well. He received positive reinforcement; he felt valued and cared for.
As trust grew David was able to talk about the hard times he had experienced. He shared how scared he used to be when his mum put on her make up to go out, because it meant to him that there would be another man in the house in the morning. He shared how scared he had been when mum drank ‘the water in the bottle with the red label’.
After a few months David started to be included in school trips, previously he had been left at school as it was not safe to take him out with his peers as his behaviour had been so unpredictable.
David painted his moods and feelings and his paintings changed from huge sheets of black splats to pictures showing him in lots of differing situations. He was then able to talk about them knowing he wouldn’t be judged or criticised.
After two years David was able to manage without the support of his counsellor. He will never be able to completely forget his traumatic start to life but he now has friends, people who love and care for him. He is able to fully participate in education and he is valued by his friends and teachers.
*name and image changed for client confidentiality