CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, we are excited to share another success story from our intensive trauma treatment, Thrive Trauma Recovery, part of Encompass Counseling. In story #42 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Kristina Fryson (MSW, LSW, CTT) shows the powerful difference that effective trauma treatment can make in someone’s life.
In the Thrive Trauma Recovery program, we see clients usually for one to two weeks of treatment. Every Monday is like the first day of school meeting new and interesting people. As clients sit in the waiting room, you can usually tell if they are nervous, fearful or seem to be looking for the closest exit.
One Monday morning, I saw a teenage girl sitting in the waiting room with a hoodie on her head, seemingly very uninterested in being where she was. After I called her back to my office, she walked slowly, mostly with her head down, and we started the session. I tend to lean more towards humor in helping establish rapport but was not getting any smiles from her. I explained the program, the brain, and how her symptoms and behaviors were understandable considering what she had been through. She was mostly cooperative and did the work that was asked of her.
By the third day of her treatment, I went out to the waiting room to get her and noticed she no longer had on her hoodie but was now showing off her bright eyes with a smile. She walked back to the room, sat down and started talking. As I listened, I realized this 14-year-old girl was much wiser than she presented earlier in the week. She began to express her pain and talk about how she knew she was different from her family, more insightful. She no longer wanted her pain to lead her life and realized, even though she was young, that she had to take charge of her life because her family was too covered in their own trauma to know how to get her out from hers. She made a promise to herself to get out from under her trauma and continued to work on her trauma narratives throughout the treatment week. That evening, she went home and found her mother stuck in her pain and led her mother through an externalized dialogue, which is an activity done in Thrive to help clients talk to the part of them that is struggling in the moment. She was so happy the next day to share with me that she was not only learning to manage who she was but now she was teaching someone else.
That same client came back to treatment a few months later to process additional trauma narratives and I opened the door to the waiting room not knowing what to expect. Immediately she stood up with a smile on her face and made her way back to my office. Before I could say a word, she started the session with humor and gave me an update on her life. Things in her life were not perfect, and her family was still hurting from their unprocessed trauma, but she now had a joy and peace about her that had not been apparent the first day we met. This young client now talked about her future, which included goals such as attending college. The Thrive Trauma Recovery program will not make you perfect, or heal you and your family overnight, but in the case of this wise and compassionate 14-year-old girl, it gave her tools to get through the present and a hope for her future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”