A kick start and a safe spot

Tapping into their inherent strengths with the help of their therapist, Ollie’s family built new skills that will sustain them through the good times — and the hard ones. Ollie’s world was shattered one night as alarms alerted him and his family that their home was filling with smoke. Once the smoke cleared and the family was physically safe, it became evident that not only the family’s home was lost — so was their mental wellbeing. Healing would take time.

For 11-year-old Ollie, it compounded the trauma that he carried after his parents divorced and the family was split apart. In the aftermath of the fire, his depression deepened and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) mounted, as did the guilt. Ultimately, Ollie didn’t see much hope and started expressing suicidal thoughts. Ollie met a Washburn Center therapist who works with families in their home to work through intensive anxiety and challenges that affect home and school life.

Through the therapist’s support, Ollie started on a wellness journey to heal and create habits to promote a healthy mindset — a lifelong skill.  “I got myself going again with exercise, walking and playing with my dog, writing poems and spending time with friends,” he shares. “And, my mom turned into my safe spot to check in on good and bad feelings.”

The transforming therapy was rooted in healthy skills to reduce negative emotions and increase family and community support. Ollie’s mom noticed that with tools and techniques learned through therapy, they could catch early signals of struggle. “My therapist helped me ask the right questions to uncover Ollie’s symptoms and then offered corresponding strategies to empower him to feel more confident and supported.” They’ve built a new foundation based on love and support of one another — reinforced with stabilizing therapeutic care through Washburn Center.