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Thirteen-year-old Simon* was removed from his parents’ care when he was just 6. Simon had been exposed to family violence and had experienced severe neglect.

He was often his mother’s protector, explaining how he would stand between his parents during violent episodes or pull his father away from his mother.

Simon had 8 previous foster care placements by the time he was 9 years old, and he could name each carer and the location of these placements. This emotional connection to his placements was explored as part of the Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSW) intervention.

How Simon developed a sense of self through TLSW

Therapeutic Life Story Work enables children and young people who have experienced trauma to reflect on their past, develop compassion for themselves and move on to achieve their full potential.

Simon had previously been diagnosed with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. He had a history of violent and aggressive behaviour towards his carers.

At the start of the TLSW, practitioners observed that Simon had a good understanding of his emotional and behavioural functioning. Simon often referred to what his carers taught him about understanding physical responses to stress.

Through TLSW, Simon understands how his history has contributed to the way he thinks about things. He is now confident and secure in the knowledge that he is loved by his carers. Most importantly, Simon knows he is worthy of receiving love, he is not responsible for protecting his mother anymore and he can live a different life to his parents.

The purpose and outcome of this intervention concludes with the child making sense of their world and the carer being able to tailor their care to meet the needs of the child.

"This model works as it acknowledges the brevity of the therapist/client relationship and supports the reality of the carer being in the child’s life much longer,"

Sarah Dawson Senior Manager Aboriginal Service Development.

*Name has been changed in the interest of privacy. The models and volunteers pictured are not connected to the case study.


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