Regular readers will know that I am an adopted person. Adoption brings challenges for so many people – the birth parents, the adoptive parents, the adopted children and the wider circle of family and friends. As time goes on, more help is offered from a variety of organisations. Today I am delighted to host a guest post from Elena Holmes who has written a book called AdoptyMum. It is about how she feels her family were helped by Catchpoint. Here is an adoptive family’s experience of therapy.
An adoptive family’s experience of therapy
Catchpoint provides unlimited support to our family. From the early days of our adoption, our children have shown massive attachment difficulties and no obvious way to begin overcoming these. Their school settings were unable to help them with this due to a severe lack of understanding and training in these areas. Every day my children found themselves highly anxious, doubting themselves and lacking in confidence and the friendship skills which would allow them to enjoy their school life. Every day they come home, finally able to relax and let go of their anxiety which then causes massive anger and aggression at home – the place they felt most safe.
We found out about Catchpoint through a family friend who worked there – he recommended we speak to our social worker team and find out where we could access help and if Catchpoint would be the people to provide that support. After some initial meetings and discussions about our children’s needs, we felt that the team clearly understood how our children could be helped and supported.
We were really luckily in that our application to the Adoption Support fund was successful and so we were assigned a therapist.
Therapy in action
Our son was given a movement and music therapist and she worked with him fortnightly to relax him and allow him the freedom to respond naturally not restricted to age appropriate expectations. This continued for many years and amazing progression was made.
As the sessions continued we found that our son was becoming more easy going. He felt less tense and was able to share details more with us about his feelings and past experiences. In his role play games in sessions, he began to see the family characters as worth saving and although the natural disasters he frequently acted out continued, they ended positively and with less disastrous outcomes.
Supporting the individual child
Our daughter began her own sessions at Catchpoint with art and creative therapy. The aim was to enjoy making decisions and to have confidence in her choices through child led activities. She loved this.
She got to ‘boss’ people around and could ask them to paint, draw, dance, hula hoop – whatever she wanted Then after a short break the adults would take control and offer activities to engage her in a controlled calm manner. This taught her to be braver and to believe in her decisions rather than doubt them and worry she has made the wrong choices.
Therapy as a lifeline
Without the opportunity to attend Catchpoint – our family would have been struggling so much. Our children can now speak about their emotions and recognise them. We work together to identify ways to help with their emotions but they are fully in charge of identifying and explaining the reasons they think they feel the way they do. This allows them to feel in control which leads to regulation of their emotions occurring much more quickly as they have power over their own decisions and thoughts.
Although Catchpoint sessions were funded by the Adoption support fund – their services wouldn’t exist without financial support from various sources. They are a great charity who allow empowerment and support to all of their families. As a parent of tricky children, I never felt rushed or misunderstood. The staff were always available to us for a quick chat or thoughts and ideas to help us see that there are options to help our family.
Catchpoint is a charity founded by Joy Hasler in 2001. It brings music and art therapists together to work on the attachment relationship of parent and child using a trauma recovery model.
Catchpoint works in the field of ‘Adoption’ and includes pre and post adoptive families, special guardianship, step families, kinship carers and foster carers.