Content Warning:  This post covers the topics of domestic violence and drug use and may be distressing for some readers.

When Manny* was 6 years old his father was incarcerated on drug charges. The two years that followed weren’t easy; his mother sometimes struggled to cope with the demands of parenting four children alone. However, it was the first time in his young life that he wasn’t afraid; his father’s temper was volatile. When his father was recently released from prison, Manny became anxious and symptoms of distress such as bedwetting, headaches and classroom outbursts started to manifest. His school counsellor referred Manny to our program where he used play, music, art and drama to open up about his feelings at having his father back in his life.

Several weeks into the program, Manny draped some blue fabric around his shoulders and told the therapist that he was a superhero because he now feels like he has the strength and power to face his father. His mother reports that the bedwetting episodes have subsided while his teacher says he’s more engaged at school. Importantly, the self-referral element of our school partnership program means that Manny knows he’s free to come back and seek support from our onsite therapists whenever he needs it.

*At KidsXpress we respect the privacy of the children and families we support. So while their stories are true, stock images of children have been used and client names have been changed.