We are pleased to announce the re-launch of Kid’s Korner, a regular feature of ISSTD News. Kid’s Korner will focus specifically on child and adolescent news and issues. This will be a forum for members to read about specific treatment issues in working with children and adolescents, upcoming training events, useful books and resources, and new research.
While I am quite used to seeing teenage clients with DID, recently I commenced work with a small anxious child experiencing school refusal, who also reported trances and visual hallucinations. In her fourth session she was attempting to explain how she deals with her anxiety. She said that ‘Brave Sarah’ tells ‘Scared Sarah’ to ‘Man up!’ As I began to talk to her about this inner communication I realised that to my client ‘Brave Sarah’ looks different and is a different age to ‘Scared Sarah’. She explained they have different feelings and do different things inside her. She has also gone on to tell me of other parts of Sarah. She explained in a very matter-of-fact manner: ‘That’s just the way we are. It’s the jobs we took on to get through this.’ Just like this was the most natural thing in the world.
Unlike working with adolescents and adults there was no shame and no apparent concern about discussing this. She came with none of the baggage that my older clients come with, usually from many years in the mental health system having trauma and dissociation ignored and dismissed. It has felt refreshing and a delight to work with her. Yet, she brought new challenges. How to speak to parents about dissociated parts when there’s a great chance they either have no idea about dissociation, or think it’s a weird thing people make up? How do I explain this complex situation to the rather incredulous education officials who just wonder why I haven’t fixed her in nine sessions? I have been grateful for my training through ISSTD’s Child and Adolescent Course and case consultation with one of ISSTD’s experts in the area.
In ISSTD we are lucky to have such training, the Child and Adolescent SIG and a supportive network of experienced colleagues. I am hoping this column will become another way for us to share knowledge and information about working with our youngest clients. I also hope the column will still be interesting to those who only see adults.
This column will run quarterly. However to make it work, we need help from child and adolescent workers. ISSTD News is seeking short articles, approximately 500 – 1000 words, on all aspects of working with children and adolescents. If you are interested in helping out please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Editor, ISSTD News