Disclaimer: It is the policy of The Medusa Project to ensure complete confidentiality of our clients. All of the names of the young women referred to in the case studies have been changed to protect their identity.
Attachment disorder, neglect, aggressive / violent behaviour and criminal damaged.
Age 17 years on Admission, 12 months placement
The Starting Point:
Amanda came to Medusa Project following a numbers of foster and residential placements, both in and outside London. Amanda had a history of violence, aggressive and criminal damage to properties, and had just been arrested and awaiting a hearing at the local magistrates court before being placed with us. On her arrival to the project, Amanda presented with extreme aggressive behaviour to both her peers and team members. Amanda had had no contact with her family for some years and was a very angry young woman. Amanda struggled with authority and boundaries and would often lash out when she did not get her own way.
Through the development programme Amanda was able to start dealing with those emotions that made her so angry through play, art and discussions.
Amanda was able over time to build trusting relationships with team members, and this was achieved by taking the time to listen and talk to Amanda during discussions and key work sessions this was something Amanda had not experienced previously and she felt valued. By explaining to Amanda that her opinion was highly regarded and letting her know that she was free to express herself, exploring anger as a natural emotion and looking at healthy and unhealthy expression of anger. This was done in many different ways some of which were using a boxing punch bag and swing ball enabling Amanda to vent her anger in positives ways. Over time Amanda began to express herself without the exploding anger as before and was more able to sit with what she felt as rejection and/or confrontation without retaliating.
Amanda moved on from the project a few weeks after her 18th birthday to less supported accommodation although she found this very difficult at first and was subsequently moved from that project, Amanda has now settled and enrolled at college and about to finish her year in catering. Amanda has maintained a close relationship with the project and remains in contact via the phone and often visits; this is recognition of how she values the project and feels valued by the team. We are extremely proud of the achievements Amanda has made and still continues to make. No other charges have been brought prior to her placement with the Medusa Project and she continues to manage her anger in a positive way.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Emerging Borderline Personality Disorder, Neglect, Challenging Behaviour, Drug and Alcohol Misuse, Self-Harm and Suicidal Idealisation
Age 16 years on admission, 21 month placement
The Starting Point
Anastacia was hospitalised for 18 months prior to her coming to the Medusa Project. She has a history of neglect, self harm, overdosing and been diagnosed with post traumatic stress and emerging borderline personality disorders. Anastacia had difficulties with her immediate family and a traumatic relationship with extended family members; she struggled to find a balance to care for herself whilst in these relationships. Anastacia had severe difficulties with boundaries and this would challenge all professionals involved in her care. Professionals often explored other strategies that would keep her safe in the community however; often Anastacia would test these boundaries, which would lead to Anastacia having further hospital admission.
Anastacia was a high risk young person who frequently self-harmed, used drugs and alcohol to manage difficult emotions. Anastacia struggled with her body image and would not allow any photo’s to be taken; she would at times starve herself in order to achieve the body image she desired.
When Anastacia moved into the Medusa Project she was attending college and initially did well with attending classes and completing assignments, but this deteriorated due to Anastacia struggling with change and her post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Anastacia was frequently admitted to hospital for several months before she was able to explore her experiences and work with the project. Anastacia was used to taking care of others and in this she would often neglect herself. Anastacia struggled with feeling accepted and seen by others but overtime she began to feel safe in a homely environment that the Medusa Project provides for young people. This enabled Anastacia to unlock concealed emotional parts of herself, this new awareness and personal development gave growth to increased self-esteem and self-confidence. Anastacia was able to learn how to nurture herself by mirroring us nurturing her and the other young women in the project.
Anastacia began to slowly appreciate herself and this showed in her growing confidence, she was able to socialise without hiding herself, Anastacia was even able to take part in the project photo’s on special occasions and is more willing to look at her role in relationships; she was able share her feelings, i.e. to say if she was unhappy about something that had effected her, Anastacia began to see Anastacia.
During the last 6 months at the project Anastacia made great achievements, she did not self-harm for several months; was able to talk openly about her feelings and emotions which she had previously struggled with. Anastacia is now more able to rationalise her thoughts and feelings rather than using drugs, alcohol or self-harm to help her cope with difficult feelings and emotions.
Anastacia did return to college the following year which was a huge achievement for her, and is currently studying art level 3.
Anastacia is now 18 and has recently moved to a less supported 1 bed flat where she receives weekly key working and mental health support. Anastacia was working with a drug and alcohol several months before she moved on from the project and is continuing this work.
Anastacia has a close relationship with the team at the Medusa Project and continues to maintain contact and visits to the project regularly. Anastacia has developed into a confident and optimistic young lady who has a very bright future ahead of her. The team at the Medusa Project are very proud of Anastacia for all the achievements she has made and continues to make.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attachment Disorder, Sexual Abuse, Challenging Behaviour, Self Harm and Suicidal Idealisation.
Age 16 years on Admission, 20 month placement
The Starting Point:
Katie had been in hospital for 2 years before her placement at the Medusa Project. Katie has a history of sexual abuse, and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and attachment disorder and would often use self harm and overdosing as a means to coping with difficult emotions. Katie was heavily medicated on her arrival to the project and this continued for a number of months. She presented with extreme behaviour that was challenging for both her peers and professionals as a means of keeping people at arm’s length. Katie had very limited or supervised contact with her family and found relationships very difficult to both understand and form, which had a profound effect on her education and social life.
Katie struggled initially with being in a community-based project, but since being placed at the Medusa Project, Katie has been able to work through the many traumas she experienced growing up. Over time she began to develop trusting relationships with team members, this was gained by taking the time to listen, having discussions, asking Katie opinion, being interested in what she thought, spending time doing activities together. This enabled Katie to explore herself in a place where she felt respected and safe. Over the months Katie began to develop an understanding of relationships, her self-esteem and self-confidence.
Katie was a high risk young person who self-harmed severely prior to moving into the Medusa Project. During the course of her stay, Katie gained more of an understanding of herself through our development programme run at the project and the therapeutic ways in which the team worked and her self-harming decreased as she developed other positive strategies to cope with difficult emotions. As Katie’s self-esteem and self-confidence grew, she was able to begin unlocking her true potential. Katie became more active and joined a volunteering club; she enrolled at college and began socialising, that led her to develop friendships outside the Medusa Project. Katie also participated in workshops and enjoyed singing and drama clubs, she was able to explore her artistic side and performed for both her singing and drama clubs.
Katie turned 18 and has been able to move on from the project into a shared flat, happily and confident about her future. Katie is continuing her education and enjoying it, she continues to receive outreach support from the Medusa Project to support her independence. The team at the Medusa Project are very proud of Katie’s achievements and believe that she has a very bright future ahead of her.