Child A was 9 years old and appeared to be outwardly confident; he was popular, had lots of friends, and loved going on sleepovers. However, his mother was concerned as he was so keen to ‘please’ his friends that he rarely gave his own opinion, was very easily influenced, and when other boys were unkind to him he tended to try harder to be their friend. At home he didn’t like to be in a room on his own, even to play, and would insist on his mother being with him at all times. Over a series of ten sessions we worked on understanding his own positive qualities, the key components of a good friendship, and ‘finding his voice’ so he could more readily express his views. We created a series of targets through ‘bold and brave challenges’ to help him overcome his anxiety around being in a room on his own, and a daily practice of reflection so he could celebrate his successes.
Child D, aged 12 years would often become disproportionately angry over what appeared to be small issues. She got into trouble at school because she’d either reacted physically or said something unkind to her peers, when things hadn’t gone her way. At home there were often big arguments with her younger sister, who was 10 years old; she would vie for attention, and often said her parents loved her sister more than her. Over the course of eight sessions we worked initially on understanding and managing emotions, using a series of ‘tools’, which formed part of her toolkit. We then moved onto a family session and discussed the main elements of a ‘happy family’ and which qualities each member of the family already possessed and which we could work on. Through a series of a family discussions we created a list of family goals to work on and activities to look forward to celebrating success.
Child M was 8 years old and hated leaving her mother to go into school. She would become anxious and worried the night before, finding it difficult to fall asleep, and would cry every morning before going to school. She was often sick after eating her breakfast and school drop off was particularly harrowing for her and her mother. Across five sessions I taught her relaxation techniques to reduce her anxiety, which she used at night to help herself get to sleep and manage her stress in the morning. We used role play to ‘try out’ different ways of mummy saying goodbye, and eventually she stopped being sick in the morning and is now going into school without crying.