Jaylen* was just seven years old when he witnessed an argument between his parents that escalated into physical violence. They came to Family & Children’s Place in search of healing.
Jaylen began meeting with “Miss Lauren” Ganote, one of our highly-trained trauma therapists. While he was always very engaged in counseling sessions, Jaylen struggled to express any negative emotions – especially the sadness, anger, and fear he felt about his parents’ violent argument.
But when his family began meeting with Miss Lauren by video during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaylen opened up like never before. Jaylen’s mom was able to participate now, too, since transportation was no longer a barrier.
“For this kiddo, I think he feels safer when he’s in his [own] environment, so it doesn’t feel as removed as it does in the office,” Miss Lauren says.
Jaylen’s breakthrough was just a few weeks away.
As Jaylen opened up, he voiced just how afraid and unsafe he felt at home. Miss Lauren soon connected the dots and discovered that any time Jaylen’s dad became upset about a normal, everyday event, Jaylen would re-experience the painful trauma of his parents’ violent argument.
With this discovery in mind, Miss Lauren was able to facilitate a deeply healing interaction between Jaylen and his dad. Miss Lauren recounts the moment when Jaylen’s dad tenderly expressed how sorry he was for what happened.
“Jaylen just melted. He was kind of stand-offish in the corner of the camera and just really unsure. But when his dad said those things, Jaylen jumped out of his seat and jumped into his dad’s lap and told him that he missed him. It was really beautiful. You could tell the barrier between them was broken in that moment when his dad was able to say he was sorry.”
Jaylen’s family found relief and a renewed sense of connection through counseling with Miss Lauren. Jaylen is working to overcome the feeling that his parents’ violent argument was his fault, and his parents are learning how to help him express negative emotions and calm down when he feels triggered. Jaylen’s dad is even beginning his own counseling at Family & Children’s Place.
Unfortunately, stories like Jaylen’s are all too common. Thousands of children right here in Louisville and Southern Indiana need specialized counseling to overcome child abuse and neglect, as well as other forms of trauma in their homes and in our community.
*This name and certain details have been changed for privacy reasons. The child depicted in the photo is not a real client of Family & Children’s Place.