Jack is a brave, bright and kind child on the cusp of his teenage years.
Each morning he makes breakfast for his younger siblings and helps them get ready for school. Jack takes on more responsibilities as his mom descends into severe depression. Though Jack is growing into his own maturity, he is too young to understand how physical, sexual and emotional abuse has traumatized his mom. All he knows is she cannot get out of bed. Jack feels a confusing mix of anger, sadness and compassion.
To sort out his complex emotions, Jack meets with a counselor in the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s C.O.O.L. practice (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life). C.O.O.L. is the Center’s specialized counseling approach that integrates play, art and physical movement to help young people communicate their inner life.
In his therapeutic artwork, Jack creates landscapes of his life before and after his mother’s depression. His counselor is trained to help Jack articulate his artistic choices.
“I feel comfortable and safe here,” said Jack about his counseling experience. He knows his mom cannot fully provide right now and he does not blame her. He is hopeful his mom will get better.
*Jack is a pseudonym. Identifying factors have been changed to ensure privacy.