After his dad died suddenly during the pandemic, Tamir* was struggling to manage his feelings about his loss, and with support from his school, he agreed to trying some counselling.
My first contact with Tamir was over the phone with him and his mum. Tamir didn’t really want to speak with me, though he listened to the conversation between his mum and me. I gently told Tamir that I was there for him, but it was fine if he wanted to take a few days to think about therapy.
Tamir has autism and at times has difficulty connecting with people, so I first met with him in school with a member of staff he was familiar with. Tamir and I then met weekly for 12 sessions of Art Therapy.
At first, Tamir said very little and chose to go straight into drawing, but in time, he began to move away from the art materials and talked to me, gradually opening up a bit more each week. Tamir and his father had been very close.
“We talked about the things he and his dad had in common and at times, laughed about the things his dad might have said. The sessions gave Tamir the space to reflect on how much he missed his father.”
Tamir was less anxious and upset, and he told me he found it very helpful to have someone to talk to. His progress was also reflected in his ‘before and after’ counselling measures, which showed an big increase in having ‘someone I have felt able to ask for help’, and a big decrease in ‘thoughts and feelings have distressed me’.
At the end of the 12 sessions, we agreed that there may be times ahead where Tamir would like some support again, but that at that point he was coping well. Tamir had just secured a place at college, which he said his dad would have been proud of, and he was feeling positive about the future.
*This young person’s name has been changed to protect their identity.