This story is part of a series about how Trauma Informed Values shape Family Services' work. Click here to read the introductory post.
3. Choice: Clients participate in shared decision-making and goal-setting to determine the plan of action they need to heal.
Luis is a four-year-old with an abundance of energy and an adoptive family who loves him very much. His adoptive mom brought him to Family Services’ Children’s Counseling Center because Luis was having trouble calming down after tantrums. Mom didn't know how to help him de-escalate, and their interactions were becoming more and more of a power struggle.
Luis and his mom worked together with Anna, a child therapist, who was able to educate Mom on the impact that early childhood trauma and drug exposure had on Luis’s brain development. Until then, Mom hadn’t made the connection between these early challenges and his struggle to regulate his emotions. Anna also helped Mom come up with ways for little Luis to have more choices throughout his day. They let Luis lead during sessions and have his voice validated. As Mom put her new parenting tools into practice at home, she began to see a difference. When Luis had more voice and felt like he had some “say so” throughout the day, he was more calm. Eventually, she saw the severity of his tantrums decreasing and noticed that she was able to be more attentive and focused on his needs.