Keith was referred to me by a school support worker. He was concerned that Keith was about to be permanently excluded from school for his outrageous and totally unacceptable behavior. She had negotiated with the school to keep him from being excluded as long as he agreed to come and see me.
The challenging behavior was not because Keith was a naughty 12 year old boy, it was an outward expression of an unresolved and very emotional event in his life. Almost 1 year prior to my meeting Keith his dad had committed suicide and Keith felt responsible. He had refused counselling and there was no bereavement support for kids where he lived so he was on self destruct.
I explained a bit about who I was and what I do. I got my coloured pens out and drew ‘My friend Bob” as I explained to him what goes on between our ears – i.e how we think, make meanings, and what causes us to feel and act in the ways that we do. No-one is broken – sometimes we just run a faulty program and we need to replace a bit of code, or we are running on windows 95 instead of 365! We need a bit of a software update! ☺
I drew the ‘Big Tick” and explained what we call the Story of Life and then showed him the timeline of his life and ‘Lifetime, Season, Reason”
This little boy is bright, active, delightful, and totally and utterly bored at school. In between doing chin-ups on the door frame and playing with the cat I got him to ‘Check In’ to find to which personality profile he is, or Traveller as we call it in Ignition! No surprise to me, he is an Astronaut. He read it and totally agreed. I saw the look of relief, appreciation and “finally! Someone actually gets me!” on his face – it was priceless.
He wants to be a photographer when he leaves school so I said to him, I cannot come in and make school better for you at this point in time, however, if you want to be a photographer you definitely can be that. If I can share some things and teach you some ways of making school a bit more interesting and bearable and get you through just the next 4 years, would that be something you would be willing to do? He was absolutely up for that so we arranged a second session and many more followed that too.
By the end of our work together Keith had chosen his options and chosen them to align with who he is and what he wants to become. He is so much happier in school and his behavior so much better. He is exploring the world of photography and has an Instagram account to showcase his photos and has the coping strategies he needs when things get a bit tough every now and again.