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There is nothing better than practical ideas on how practice can change outcomes. These stories are real examples showing how PARTH can change practice with youth. If you are using PARTH in your practice we would love to include your stories. You can email a draft to us and we will work with you and your agency to ensure proper permissions. Please email any feedback on these stories and PARTH.
Recently Cathy bounced up to her practitioner; hugged her, made eye contact, and was quick to tell her about all her recent success at school and sport. They spoke about the future and her goals. She still sees herself becoming a police officer and has plans to work on courses at college that can help her to follow down this path. She spoke about wanting to travel and maybe someday working and living overseas. She spoke about completing college and achieving NCEA levels. Cathy has gained the confidence to not just dream about a future but is working towards it and sees it as a reality for her.
Cathy came to us 4 years ago as a 13 year old, who was referred to our service due to engaging in crime, theft and exhibiting anti-social behaviours at home and in the community. Cathy had a turbulent relationship with her mother and step-father. Her biological father passed away by suicide several years earlier. Cathy was not coming home at nights, was using alcohol and drugs and was part of a negative, risk taking peer group. Initially Cathy was reluctant to engage, struggling in conversation and eye contact. She could not identify her strengths, any interests, or dreams/aspirations for the future.
The practitioner was hopeful that in time, with perseverance, and relationship building Cathy would slowly be open to engaging and thus begin the process of positive change. In supporting referrals, Cathy was assessed and diagnosed with ADHD and possibly on the Autism spectrum. Cathy was not engaged in mainstream education at this stage. The practitioner was involved in advocacy and liaison with education and mental health providers to begin this transition back to college.
Along the journey Cathy shares with the practitioner that she was involved in a serious criminal activity. The practitioner supported Cathy to go to the police station and advocated on her behalf. As a result of this Cathy and her family became involved with multiple services including the Police and Court. At this time it was also confirmed that Cathy was on the autism spectrum. School were reluctant to allow her back to school because of past behaviours and criminal activities. Cathy’s worker and our organisation supported Cathy’s transition back into education by providing a safe space for her to work one on one with a teacher aide.
During this time Cathy developed a strong connection with the agency and her worker and saw the agency and staff as a safe space and part of her support network. Although Cathy presented with many difficult behaviours and at many times did not attend meetings with her worker, the consistency, creativity, and perseverance of the worker proved to Cathy that the support could be trusted. The worker would often joke with Cathy saying things like “you can’t get rid of me that easy” and “I am around until you fire me.” Although said as jokes to Cathy it helped to reinforce that the worker/client relationship was strong and responded to Cathy.
Over time, home life settled down, Cathy flourished with routines and structure and she took her medication regularly. Cathy had opportunities to explore her newfound interests in art, creativity and gardening. The practitioner practiced humility and honesty in their relationship with Cathy, understanding the importance of Cathy being informed of all decisions and assisting her in being fully involved in the decision making processes. At all times a hopeful orientation was maintained as the worker and other staff could see the possibilities for Cathy. This was discussed with Cathy throughout her engagement, with the practitioner supporting her to gain confidence in considering future dreams and aspirations.
Resilience Research Centre NZ - Youth Research Site 2013