Lost In Care

15 years working in residential children's homes. 8 years training foster carers and care staff. Integrative child & adolescent counsellor. 14 years in care as a child. Diary, anecdotes and rants about the good, bad and mediocre. Anonymised but all true.

Goodbye and take care…

This is, in many ways, quite a self-indulgent post and not really on the usual topics I discuss, I apologise in advance, but hell it’s my blog – I can write about what I like.

In many ways, I have a lot of time for the view that people should not be able to set up anonymous Twitter accounts or other social media profiles, I often think if people had to use their own name and include a photo of themselves there would be considerably less abuse.  However, some have far more important reasons than I do for being anonymous online – for example, political activists in other countries whose lives would be in danger if they posted under their real names.

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Trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Determinism and Stigma…

I have been concerned about some of the discussion regarding ACEs and childhood trauma for a while now (while these two topics obviously have a relationship it is important they are not seen as completely interchangeable terms).  I had intermittently been mulling over writing a blog about it.  That said, I do not like it when other people deny reality and prefer to name elephants in rooms so, obviously, this is partly a response to Jessica Eaton’s blog on the same topic, and discussions (I use that word very loosely), which I involved myself in, regarding it on Twitter.

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So, what is resilience?

Do you think you are resilient? Able to bounce back quickly from life’s ups and downs? Tough maybe? Or with an inner strength? If so, were you born resilient? Did you get lucky in the gene pool lottery? Or, is it a conscious choice you are making? Do you overcome difficulties with the power of your mind? The fabled “willpower”? I bet it’s that one, a choice, if you’re honest, because being resilient is a good quality and, if it says something good about you, then you’re damn sure you’re going to take the fucking credit, right?

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Child mental health, rhetoric and lies…

First, let me declare a personal interest – I have nearly finished my three-year child psychotherapeutic counselling training. Obviously I would quite like it if I could soon be earning money providing therapy to children who need it. Second, I do not believe psychotherapy or counselling, of whichever modality, is a panacea or a magic wand. Third, this post will be unashamedly political. Fourth, it is likely to contain swear words.

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Not good enough…

The phrase “the good enough mother” was coined by Donald Winnicott to take the pressure off mothers.  In his view, most mothers would quite naturally do what was required to ensure the healthy development of their children without having to listen to the likes of him (although, admittedly, this did not prevent him from doing a series of radio talks on the matter).  You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be good enough.  Winnicott, as with many things he said, was of course correct.  Obviously, it is not the 1940s, so “good enough” now refers to good enough care, not just mothering.

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Sam’s leaving care package…

I am doing a “shadow shift” at a therapeutic community – it is part of their recruitment process – when I first meet Sam. He has just turned 10, he is skinny and small for his age with lank, greasy hair and wears Wellington boots and a black, quilted coat – both of which he refuses to take off indoors. Sam tells me he has lived there for a year. He seems fairly keen to get to know me – much to my relief because I am equally keen to show my potential employers how well I interact with children.

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Jenny: the unimaginable and the untouchable…

I guess I’ll start with the bare facts:  Jenny had been living with her father until just under a year ago when she disclosed he was physically abusing her.  She was removed.  A few months later Jenny discloses her father sexually abused her.  He confesses but claims he didn’t do anything wrong because they were ‘in a relationship’.  Jenny’s father is charged with multiple counts of rape and possessing indecent images.  It is because of the material found on his hard drive that we can be certain the abuse of Jenny started when she was two-years-old. Continue reading

Judgments, assumptions, opinions…

What do you think of Donald Trump?  Seriously, think of some words you would use to describe him now.  I reckon most of the readers of this blog will have had negative thoughts to say the least – I am making an assumption but it is an assumption I would stake my life on.  Just out of interest, did you judge the behaviour and not the person?  Like we’re meant to?  I bet you didn’t.

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Melancholia…

When I was about 20-years old, I shut myself away for a few weeks in the one room I was living in. I didn’t answer the phone or engage with the outside world in any way – other than to cash my dole cheque to buy food and baccy. The baccy ran out of course, so I would recycle my dog ends, and then recycle them again.  I can still remember the smell of my fingers.  Food would run out too of course, so occasionally I had to venture out and shoplift.

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A wounded healer…

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung used the concept of “the wounded healer” (which he borrowed from Greek mythology) to describe his belief that psychoanalysts need to use their awareness and understanding of their own emotional struggles in order to help others with theirs.  He also believed  that through this process the analyst would help to heal him or herself.

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Why would a 14-year-old girl swallow a battery?

Firstly, before I become all “left-brained” about this, imagine actually doing it.  Close your eyes if you need to.  Imagine the feel of an AA battery in your hand – the size, the weight.  Notice how solid it is.  Now imagine resting it between your lips – the feel of cold metal.  Picture yourself pushing the AA battery, with the tip of your finger, all the way into your mouth and towards the back of your tongue.  Now imagine swallowing.  Go on – really imagine it.

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