Image of a girl surrounded by illustrated minds

Making Connections for a Child

B (Y3) was referred to the school counsellor by their teacher who was concerned that B frequently appeared worried and was often seen isolated from peers. The CSM and counsellor learned that B was abruptly separated from their mother at the age of 18 months and was raised by their father for a few years during a prolonged divorce process. Though B was cared for by both parents in a loving way, it appeared that B’s early separation from their mother had been traumatic. When placed in situations reminiscent of this separation, B would become distant and anxious. B found it difficult and confusing to transition between their parent’s homes and had developed the narrative that their mother had left because B had been an ugly and needy baby. As a result, B became consumed with caring for adults to ensure they would not feel any distress; for B, an adult’s distress signalled a risk of abandonment. B wanted to avoid being a burden on any adult and felt that expressing emotions was risky and shameful. Through the therapy provided, B gradually learned to recognise their own difficult feelings without shame or fear of abandonment and began to draw comfort and meaning in exploring feelings with a trusted adult. B started to play with the other children more freely and found ways to emotionally regulate when distressed.