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Children's Institute, Inc.: Reconstructing a Young Life

Reconstructing a Young Life

David’s story

By age nine, the dark circles under his eyes had become nearly permanent. He was withdrawn and living inside a shell of a child that hid the truth.

David was living a nightmare.

For years, his mother and stepbrother had been abusing him sexually. So brutally, in fact, that when the truth was discovered, reconstructive surgery was required to repair the physical damage.

The psychological damage? That would take longer.

When David first arrived at CII, he’d just been discharged from the psychiatric ward. He was suicidal, barely able to sleep because of the nightmares that haunted him. He was struggling in school, unable to concentrate.

And yet, despite the severity of the abuse he’d suffered, he felt guilty. His mother and stepbrother were being prosecuted for the injuries they’d inflicted upon him.

Working with a CII therapist, David began healing the psychic wounds. In the trauma narrative, David wrote out his story, taking control of the narrative that was his life. He learned coping skills and relaxation techniques to manage his stress and post-trauma symptoms. Slowly, painstakingly, he began to recover from the nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety that had been his constant companions.

At the same time, David’s CII therapist worked with David’s grandmother, who had been given custody. With the therapist’s guidance, she was able to process the severity of David’s trauma and learn ways to become the supportive parental figure he so desperately needed.

Today, after six months of treatment, David no longer wants to die. His recovery work is not yet over, but David now has something to live for. For the first time, he knows deep within himself that life can be something other than suffering and abuse. David is holding onto the little shoot of hope that has sprouted in his heart, and he’s looking forward to the future.

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