Natalie came to Western Youth Services because she was starting to get into trouble at home and at school for losing her temper and shouting at her family and friends. She wanted help but wasn’t sure what that meant. She explained that she felt a deep sadness most days and was confused about her sexual identity. She was also struggling with feelings of embarrassment and shame as memories of sexual abuse that spanned several years during her childhood were beginning to surface. She started using drugs and alcohol to try to help her feel better but it did not seem to be working.
Her WYS counselor helped Natalie heal from the effects of the sexual abuse trauma by using art therapy. Through writing and drawing, she began to explore the most significant aspects of the abuse. Natalie was able to write down her trauma story and eventually share it with her mother and sister, which provided a way for them to understand and support her healing journey. Over time, Natalie recognized the negative thoughts about herself that were created as a result of being abused. She began the process of actively changing her thoughts to more accurate positive thoughts.
She ultimately became more social and confident, and she made new, positive friendships. Her mood got lighter and she stopped using drugs and alcohol. Once she realized she could use acting as an outlet for her emotions, she flourished, and landed two significant roles in the film industry!