Give The Gift Of Therapy
This holiday season, we invite you to give a child who has experienced abuse a gift that will last a lifetime: the gift of therapy.
Your gift will directly help children like Anna, Andrew, Josefina and Jordan heal from abuse. Read their stories below.
Anna, age 15
Anna is a New Yorker. She is also an undocumented adolescent from South America and a survivor of physical, emotion and sexual abuse. While growing up, Anna was hit with belts, shoes, and brooms that left bruises. At age 13, while living with her parents, she attempted suicide. Her mom was indifferent. At age 14 she was sexually abused by a 30 year old man who she perceived as her boyfriend. The man had multiple girlfriends, 11 children and an alleged history of murder. Anna was rejected by her family and was not permitted to go school. Having no place to go, at age 15, she left her country to come to the US.
Anna came to NYCC with severe trauma. She felt numb, avoided discussing her trauma symptoms and had difficulty trusting people. Since coming to NYCC, her life has turned around. She has begun to talk about her trauma and has enrolled in school. Academically, she is doing well and feels hopeful about her future. For Anna, therapy has been an incredible gift.
Andrew is a sweet 11 year old boy who loves to draw. Growing up, he witnessed domestic violence. Worried about Andrew, his mother separated from his father. However, his father followed them to Andrew’s grandmother’s apartment where they were staying and assaulted his mother again. Police were called and Andrew’s father was arrested. Shaken, Andrew and his mother moved into a domestic violence shelter.
When Andrew first came to the NYCC, he was severely traumatized. He suffered from intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and avoidance. He was haunted by the worry that his father would get out of jail and harm his mother again.
Treatment gave Andrew an outlet to express himself. He drew many pictures of the violence he had witnessed and slowly began to talk about how he had felt. As his therapy progressed, Andrew’s symptoms improved and he no longer feared that his mom would be harmed again. Andrew and his mom recently moved out of the shelter and into their new apartment together. He now looks forward to his future.
Josefina is an 11-year-old child who emigrated from Guatemala at age 6. She witnessed significant gang violence including the murder of her dog by gang members. Josefina endured significant hardships and abuse along her journey to the U.S, including many days without food and spending nights and days in complete darkness.
Upon arriving to the U.S, Josefina endured difficult conditions while detained by immigration. Terrified, she was alone and held overnight by ICE in what is called “the icebox”. She was then placed in foster care for one month, and finally reunited with her parents in NYC. Josefina began exhibiting self-harming behaviors. In February of 2018, Josefina was referred to NYCC from an agency that works with immigrant minors.
In the first session at NYCC, Josefina disclosed that she had suicidal thoughts and feared that she and her family would be deported back to Guatemala. Her anxiety caused nightmares and sleep disturbances. Her therapist at NYCC offered her a space to work through her trauma and created a safety contract. The therapist also had frequent sessions with her mother about how to monitor Josephina’s safety at home.
Josefina has been in treatment for over half a year and has begun her journey to recovery. She is no longer suicidal and has found her voice. Often smiling, she is now actively involved in activities at school such as band, student council and soccer club. She has become more outspoken at church and is even attending summer camp at her school. Together, Josephina and her mother are healing as a family.
Jordan is a six year old boy who loves basketball, dancing and superheroes. Jordan came to The New York Center for Children after he disclosed that he was sexually abused by his uncle. The abuse occurred while Jordan spent weekends at his aunt and uncle’s home.
After two years of being abused, Jordan disclosed his abuse to his father and started therapy at The New York Center for Children. When he began therapy, Jordan often cried and had tantrums. He reported having daily nightmares, trouble concentrating, and flashbacks. Jordan demonstrated poor boundaries with others and had difficulty in social settings. Jordan had symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
In therapy, Jordan was able to confront his trauma in safe way. Through the power of play therapy and the use of superheroes, Jordan was able to talk about the abuse he experienced. Jordan utilized various toys and games to help him express his thoughts and feelings. After months in therapy, Jordan’s trauma symptoms and his behaviors have improved at both school and at home. Jordan has learned to trust others again and is enjoying making new friends in school. Therapy helped Jordan make sense of his abuse and begin the healing process. Jordan is now realizing that just like Batman, Spiderman, and Superman, he is his own superhero.
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