A badge of honour! Who'd have thought it?
Therapy is often an activity which is undertaken 'under the radar'. Sessions are kept confidential; the work undertaken is kept private and safe. Boundaries are in place. Both the therapist and client know where they stand (hopefully). Which is how it needs to be if clients feel they can talk freely.
And yet coming for therapy may imply something more visible and real to clients. In particular, young people often find it hard to talk to their families. They usually prefer to confide in their friends. Which is fine.
But what happens when a young person has had a traumatic home life, wants to talk about how they feel yet can find no outlet? Ironically, the key to this puzzle resides in a trusted family member (or close family friend) feeling able to seek out therapy on behalf of the young person. Handled well, a good rapport can be established between the therapist and the family member - whilst keeping confidences with the young person.
Contact with this person can bring dividends to the therapeutic relationship as s/he is afforded an opportunity to feed back on the young person's experience of therapy. Sometimes this can seem a long way from therapy being something which is secret and a stigma. It can begin to feel that the young person regards it as a badge of honour. Something to be proud of. To talk about. To feel understood and not be blamed or judged. At last.
As time goes on, the young person may discover they have more support than they initially thought - and perhaps for the first time discovers that having a chat can be very beneficial. The young person's voice, silenced for many years, is now being heard. Louder and clearer. Someone is actually interested in hearing his side of the story. Perhaps the world is less hostile after all.
That's the great thing about therapy. It can help young people start reconnecting again. Perhaps in a different way, and that's a badge worth having.
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