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When seven year old Cora came to WYS, her mother had initially noticed that her daughter seemed to be shutting down — having unexplained emotional outbursts and developing a new fear of being separated from her mother.

At the beginning of treatment, the magnitude of the issues they were facing were immediately discovered when Cora disclosed that she had been molested by a male staff member at her daycare. The abuse began when she was three and a half years old, and started out with special treats and favors, sitting on his lap and uncomfortably long hugs. It’d continued to escalate towards the most recent traumatic event.

Facing Trauma with the Right Tools

Based on her history as the victim of ongoing, escalating abuse, Cora’s therapist determined that she’d benefit from Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to adequately process the trauma as well as learn skills to address any triggers. Cora was nervous at first. As she and her therapist found ways for her to feel more safe and confident, she was able to express that she was ready to talk about the abuse.

The therapist helped Cora create her trauma narrative. This helped her learn that telling her story on paper helped her feel in charge of the situation and less helpless and scared. Once they’d worked together through this exercise, she was ready to share it with her parents.

Prior to the family meeting, her therapist met with her parents to address the guilt and other difficult emotions they felt. This was a necessary exercise so they could process their own feelings in order to truly hear their daughter tell her story and tale of survival from her own perspective. The therapist also worked with the parents to teach them skills to support Cora during those joint sessions. As a result, Cora was able to successfully share her trauma narrative with her parents, who were open and supportive throughout the sessions.

A Healthier, Happier Future Awaits

By the end of treatment, her mother reported that Cora was more open and that she and Cora’s father felt closer as a whole family. Cora was no longer experiencing emotional outbursts and was able to communicate her thoughts and feelings to her parents and other adults. Cora was finally able to express herself in a way where she felt heard, protected, and understood and was no longer constantly haunted by her past.

Our Success Stories

Western Youth Services works hard to protect the privacy of the children we help. As such, the names and images of our clients are changed where necessary.