uses genograms extensively in herpractice.
Of journalling, she says, “The pen is
mightier than the analyst; you’ll discover
things in your writing that you won’t
discover any other way.”
Her sister Rusti found counselling
very beneficial. At the age of 22, just
after the birth of her son, and while
in a verbally and emotionally abusive
relationship with her son’s father, Rusti
sought counselling at the Sexual Assault
Centre of Edmonton (SACE). “SACE
tells you secrets are the most dangerous
things,” she says. Now in her 50s, Rusti
has no difficulty talking openly about
her experiences. She understands how
the sexual abuse affected her ability to
maintain healthy long-term relationships.
And she understands the anger she
harboured towards her mother—the
person she felt was supposed to protect
her. “There are victims and there are
survivors. I would classify myself as a
survivor now,” she says with a smile.
Prevention and early intervention
Healing can and does happen, even inadulthood. By focusing on preventionand early intervention, people such asAnderson and the Lehay sisters wouldn’thave to spend years healing from whatcould have been prevented. Preventionand early intervention avoid morehealthcare costs later.
Prevention and intervention arethe focus of Alberta Health Services’sCollaborative Mental Health Care teamin the Calgary area. The team connectsparents who are struggling with mentalhealth issues with support services, andit works with others close to a family—
grandparents, childcare workers,
preschool teachers—to help them protect
and support at-risk children.
“The best opportunity we have to make
a difference and promote good mental
and physical health outcomes is at the
time of early brain development—by
intervening when children are young,”
says Dianne Cully, program manager in
Child and Adolescent Addictions.
Childhood and adolescence alreadycome with their share of ups anddowns. Throw ACEs into the mix,and the downs can soon outweigh theups, making levelness impossible forthese children and undermining theirability to function. Help is available,and prevention and early interventionprograms are making a difference,giving children a stable base from whichto heal. |a