Bosun Teaches A Lesson
Bosun and I were out doing a walk and talk session with Simon*, one of our young men who often didn’t come home, sometimes for days at a time. Although Bosun was still a puppy and learning recall I had let him off-leash as we were in a fenced field. Of course he found the open gate and ran out onto the road and Simon and I spent the next several minutes attempting to round him up before he ran towards one of the busy roads that was nearby. Bosun thought this was all a great game as he ran around avoiding us, meeting other people, and sniffing what he could. Once Bosun was finally caught, Simon began to gush about how terrifying it was when he thought about all the things that could have happened to Bosun. I indicated that he only spent an hour a week with Bosun and he was over run with emotions about what had just happened. I then asked how he thought his family might feel when he didn’t come home at night or for days and they didn’t know where he was or what could have happened to him. Simon was quiet for a short time and then said he was beginning to understand.
Crisis? What Crisis?
I was contacted by the mother of a youth I had not seen in months as she had disappeared onto the street. Previous to that I had met with this Julie* consistently for over a year. When Julie contacted her mom to talk about the trouble she was in her mom suggested that Julie call me to talk about the things that had been happening. Julie stated she couldn’t call me. Her mom was quite surpised as Julie and I had always had a good relationship and so she questioned Julie about it. Julie’s response was that the contract with probation only gave her two more sessions and she was waiting until she was in real crisis before she used them. Her mom stated that she felt the circumstances were crisis enough that Julie should call me.
Welcome to the World Little One
I always ask my probation clients if they are attending counselling because they want to or because they have to, their response often dictates how I work on creating a relationship with them. Beth* had a chip on her shoulder, she had been to many counsellors before and according to her they all sucked. Beth admitted that the only reason she was attending counselling was so that she wasn’t charged with breeching her probation order, she was pregnant and did not want to go back to jail. At the end of our second session I indicated that it had been an hour and she was free to go, Beth looked at me in shock, she couldn’t believe that it had already been an hour. Several weeks later I woke up to an early morning phone call, it was Beth saying that she couldn’t make it to our session later that day as she had given birth in the middle of the night. I was shocked she even remembered to call me and I could tell she was still on an adrenalin high as she requested that I come as soon as I could to meet her new baby boy. I told her I would not be able to make it for at least three hours and asked several times if she really wanted me to come as she was only allowed two visitors and I knew she would be tired. She insited that I come but it wasn’t even an hour later before I got a call that Beth was going to sleep and could I wait to come and see her. I met Beth a couple days after she was released from hospital and was able to hold that beautiful little boy. We saw each other a couple more times before her probation order ended and have had sporadic contact since then but Beth has proved that she was willing to leave her life of crime behind to be a good mother.
Music feeds the Soul
Louis* was a young man entrenched in the world of crime. He had been charged with many things in the last two years and did everything he could to defy authority. Louis definitely did not want to be attending counselling but obliged if he was home when I arrived in the motorhome as he only had to walk a few feet from his front door to my mobile office. Louis and I struggled to connect as we played cards. He was shut down and not willing to talk at all. I knew that if the minutes felt like hours for me that it must be even worse for him. At one point during our third session Louis noticed a guitar in the the storage space above the drivers seat. He asked about it and I offered to teach him a few chords. The following week Louis brought songs with guitar chords he had found on the internet that he wanted to learn how to play. The week after that he proudly displayed a guitar his dad had bought him and asked if he could use my electric tuner to tune it. There was always one string that we were never able to get in tune and it made many of the chords sound funny but week after week Louis surprised me with the chords and songs he taught himself. He quickly surpassed my basic guitar playing abilities. One day he went out of town to visit family and it was several months before I saw him again. Louis had continued to get himself in trouble, but indicated it was less then it could have been if he didn’t have a guitar to distract him a little.
*All names and details have been changed to protect the identities of clients.