chapter  Chapter 8
12 Pages

Early Adolescent Case Study—Teen With Relational Trauma History

WithSusan C. Parente

Participation in the Multiple Self-States Drawing Technique initially revealed this young teenager’s (Jenna) deeply despairing emotional state, her isolated and self-destructive thought process, and the phenomenon of her dissociative experience. The multiple self-states model is seen to have been the leitmotif running throughout the long-term psychodynamic course of treatment described in this chapter, with the strategy designed to foster the experience of her more holistic, integrated self-understanding. This approach provided a framework for Jenna and me to work together to “bridge the gap” in her selves-awareness, as she learned over time to notice more mindfully her shifting mood states and mind-body reactions. Relationally supported within her treatment, this young woman became less prone to impulse-ridden, acting-out behaviors and depressive and dissociative experiences. In a gradual process of “changing emotions with emotions,” and with “thinking … changing thoughts” (Greenberg, 2007, p. 416), Jenna evidenced a psychological shift—moving from the domination of shamed and painful self-states of her early adolescence and evolving toward more balanced and sustained states of emotional well-being, pride, and personal agency—as she matured and advanced through completion of her high school years.