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Healing the Inner Child

Reem’s Childhood

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the story of Reem’s childhood and what brought her to CHV. Having to be the primary caregiver of her younger siblings, at only age 10, in the Philippines, robbed Reem of her childhood.  

Reem found her way to Covenant House Vancouver and began to work on healing her inner child.

Healing Her Inner Child

Louisa, Manager of Social Work and Clinical Supports at Covenant House had this to say about youth who have experienced what Reem had, “When we talk about mental health, a lot of the youth who have experienced this early childhood responsibility will come across as they have everything together, and they present very well. It’s almost like working peer to peer, but there’s a real lack of focusing on self.”

Often, when youth arrive at Covenant House, they are in fight or flight mode. Youth cannot move forward in fight or flight mode, so the first step is for the team at Covenant House to build trust and show youth that they are in a safe space. Covenant House uses a trauma-informed approach in their holistic approach to supporting youth.

Reem recalls how she felt when she first arrived at CHV: “I spoke to someone during my intake, and they were really kind enough to not elicit answers from me. I remember just sitting there. I had tunnel vision and they kept asking me questions about if I know why I was there, and I just kept saying, ‘I don’t know.’”

When youth first arrive at CHV, they are given time to adjust, to get some much-needed rest, and time to feel safe. Reem entered into the Crisis Program and after a few days, Reem was given a list of activities that were happening that week.

Reem decided to get involved: “They [CHV] let you exhaust all that lost childhood and let you heal your inner childhood through activities and games, and I found that really helped me. I had to let all of that lost childhood just come out, so I signed up for everything and anything that was going on. I went to art therapy, I, game nights, trivia nights, I would go for walks, and I would go out for ice cream.”

While in the Crisis Program, CHV helped Reem get into school, find a job, and set up her own savings account. “I found that [at CHV] you can heal your inner child while learning how to become an adult and integrate yourself into society.”

When Reem was ready, she began dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and one-on-one counselling sessions. Reem’s social worker worked with her to learn about safe relationships, healthy boundaries, and how she could reach her goals sooner.

“I was really drawn into the therapy that Covenant House provided because they were teaching me things about my emotions that I did not know. I was finally able to put names to feelings that had existed all my life, and there was just something about putting a name to the way I felt, not just towards myself, but towards everything else outside of my life, that felt very empowering. The one thing that I have taken away from therapy is that your emotions are guests. Anger, sadness, depression, they’re not bad emotions, they’re there for a reason. They’re there to protect you. DBT therapy taught me that you have to welcome your emotions as guests, but only let them stay for as long as they need to be: that has changed my outlook in more ways than one.”

Help Support Resilient Youth like Reem

Reem is an incredibly resilient young woman, and we can’t wait to share more of her journey with you!

It is because of the amazing support of donors, like you, that make it possible for youth, like Reem, to overcome adversity and work towards the futures that they deserve.

There’s no better time to get involved than right now!

Thanks to Westland Insurance, when you donate to Covenant House Vancouver, your donation will be matched, up to $50,000. That means your donation will have double the impact!

And, if you don’t already, follow us on social media so that you won’t miss the next installment of Reem’s journey. Follow us on Twitter @CovenantHouseBC, on Instagram @covenanthousebc, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, and on TikTok.