Throughout Paula’s* early childhood, she was exposed to many traumatic events, including the brutal murder of her mother. This series of events in her native country affected her ability to process her trauma, along with her ability to cope with her own grief and loss. After immigrating to the United States, Paula engaged in maladaptive coping mechanisms, such as self-harm, suicidal ideations, and running away from placement homes.
In August 2018, she was admitted at SVAC in Torrance, and in the first few months she attempted to run away an average of twice a week. Staff eventually perceived her AWOL attempts as a way of testing to see if they cared enough to follow her and keep her safe. Staff members continued to attune to her and work with her to develop a healthy attachment. Over time, Paula built a therapeutic alliance with staff members and her primary therapist – who were all fundamental in her healing process. The Center made her feel safe and secure, strengthening her regulation skills and helping her cope with the grief and loss she experienced in her childhood.
Paula has made great strides in her treatment after being admitted approximately one year ago. This past month, she was given the opportunity to transition to a lower level of care at a different program, in which she agreed to upon realizing that her time spent at SVAC had given her the skills she needed to move forward in her treatment independently.
A primary focus of the last quarter of SVAC’s treatment program is wellness. One of the activities was to decorate a t-shirt with slogans representing the client’s strength. The design can be seen in the images above. This design was then reproduced and printed on t-shirts for staff members. Our client is being discharged from SVAC, however her story of resiliency and strength is an example of how a client can overcome hardships in their lives and with the proper support system.
*Client’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.