Moving Beyond Sexual Trauma

Today was a day that makes all the stressful and frustrating days at work worth it. Today one of my clients successfully transitioned from our program. He had been here for just over a year. When I first met with him, he had little hope and displayed hardly any emotion. He seemed jaded from the things he had not only seen via pornography, but also due to the things he had done and experienced. He saw little to no hope for his future, and saw himself as almost a monster for the things he had done. He was alienated from his family, and his parents were at the end of their rope with him. He had been to a number of other programs, all who had passed him off to the next. Now he was turning 18 in less than a year, and Oxbow was his last hope.

 Today this same boy sat in the same room with a number of staff, peers, therapist and others who had helped him on his journey here at Oxbow. Most importantly his parents were there. This same boy who showed little to no emotion sat there crying as he thanked everyone in that room for believing in him and helping him. He thanked his parents for always being there for him. He thanked me for holding him accountable. He thanked his equine leaders for being a second family to him. He finally had hope, he finally had a future and he finally believed in himself.

The thing that touched me the most was his parents. His father gave me a number of hugs thanking me. He said in his son’s phase review “I finally have my son back.” His mother, who I have never seen cry, hugged me good bye with tears in her eyes and thanked me for everything. Interestingly while his parent’s were thanking me, the truth of the matter is that their son wouldn’t be where he is today without having them as parents. Even when I asked them to do difficult things, even when they weren’t thrilled or on board at first, they were always willing to be supportive and work through things. They were willing to do the their own part of family therapy, and not just expect their son to do all the work.

Their son is now on his way to a prestigious college, with a career goal in mind, determination and hope. Even though he is nervous and anxious he understands that he has the tools he needs to be successful in life. He realizes he can actually have a healthy relationship with others, and find true joy in life that is more real than anything he can find on the Internet. His journey here at Oxbow is not ending, rather he is just transitioning on to the rest of his life- He finally has a second chance at his life. By Tiffany Winder, Therapist