“Annie” came to Hope Spoke when she was 7 years old for help with “meltdowns” and problems in school. She had blonde hair and blue eyes and big blue glasses. She loved having Teddy, one of HopeSpoke’s Therapy Dogs, in sessions with her and spent a lot of time checking on him and making sure he was ok. She also drew him weekly pictures for him to hang on “his wall.” Annie was shy and felt overwhelmed at school, but except for problems with reading, she avoided meltdowns there. Her mother reported that she saved “all of the meltdowns for home” and that it was very stressful.

Annie was very receptive and excited about learning new coping skills and loved to practice them in session and then show them to her mother. She was not very receptive to having her mother in sessions because, as she patiently explained to her mother “This is my therapy time, you can get a therapist too, if you want.” Annie was introduced to the book “Brave Bart” and read it to her therapist every week in session. She thought if “Brave Bart” could be a survivor, she could, too. She then drew pictures of “Brave Bart,” Teddy the Therapy Dog and herself in drawings together. She also began bringing in books to read to her therapist that she thought she would like.  Her reading skills improved along with her ability to cope in school and at home and she was successfully discharged.

Annie’s Therapist shared that, “she still has the picture (and I have framed it) that she made of me with her. The arrows pointing to me say “Loves Teddy and me, helps me, therapist.”  The arrows pointing to her say “smart, cute, I rock.” Her therapist also shared, “I was so thankful to help steer her boat for awhile, and so thankful her mom trusted me to do so.”