In this month's PAC-UK guest blog Teresa Doran shares her personal experience of accessing play therapy and music therapy via the Adoption Support Fund shortly after she turned 18 - Teresa also works for PAC-UK as an Adoptee Consultant. A huge thank you from all at PAC-UK to Teresa for sharing her story and experience.
Not many people know this, but as an 18 year old adoptee, you can access therapy via the Adoption Support Fund (ASF). Adopted young people and their families need support for all sorts of reasons and at different times of their lives - this is extremely normal and it can be hugely helpful. People have therapy for a whole host of reasons, including:
- Issues with relationships
- Wanting to explore identity
- Understanding their history
- Feeling anxious, depressed or angry
- Low self-worth
- Struggling with loss and change
As an 18 year old, you can access ASF therapy with or without parental consent. It can take a bit of time for your therapy sessions to be set up, but the process should be fairly straightforward. The starting point is speaking to your social worker if you already have one - if you don't, you would need to contact your local adoption team, which depends on where you live. If you need any help getting started with this PAC-UK's free and confidential Advice Line can help.
My personal experience of accessing therapy via the ASF
The below Q&A relates to my personal experience - if you have any other specific questions around this topic please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
What was it like making contact with your social worker?
I found it quite nerve wracking. I have had a few social workers and was not sure what to expect - I didn't know if I would get any support. When I turned 18, I didn't have a social worker because most of my previous social workers had left or moved in to new roles. Eventually, I found a new social worker when I was in my last year of college. This was at a point in my life where I was going through many changes, and lots of things ending. My new social worker was lovely and was easy to contact and to talk with. I loved that she was always organised and supportive.
What did your social worker ask you?
She didn't ask a lot - we only spoke about what I felt comfortable with disclosing. When we did speak, I felt a little anxious, but as our sessions went on my anxieties eased.
What were your conversations like?
The conversations were very mixed. For example, my social worker would ask how college and family life was, we didn't just talk about the process of accessing therapy. I felt comforted that someone took time out of their day to listen and have conversations with me. My social worker became a great confidant - she found out who I was, she listened to my many interests and hobbies and the many stories of my life.
What was the process of getting therapy like?
I first had meetings with my social worker, and then after talking, we both concluded that it might help me to try therapy.
How did this make you feel?
I felt like there was a glimmer of hope. I also felt like I was not alone anymore - someone was helping me along the twisty rollercoaster that I was on.
How your experience of play therapy and music therapy?
I had play therapy to start with, I was anxious. I started this therapy when I was attending college and I think the sessions lasted for about 30-45 minutes - they took place in an empty room at my college, which at first didn't bother me. After my sessions I would then go straight back into my lesson, which would unearth many raw emotions, I found this hard. Play therapy didn't really work for me, so we stopped.
When my social worker asked me what helps when I find myself in difficult situations, I replied that music is a universal language that I love. We both concluded that music therapy might be new exciting path to explore... and we were right! I absolutely loved experimenting with a variety of instruments.
Music therapy involves looking at pieces of music that link to certain parts of your life, you slowly untangle the past carefully and at your own pace, nothing is forced or rushed. Looking back now I can definitely say that from detangling past relationships with partners, friends and family members I can now make more sense of my life.
The main subject we explored was around learning to accept love for who I am, instead of trying to be someone that would fit a perfect mould for other people. Love is a key emotion that follows us into adulthood so I am happy that I untangled this in my therapy sessions.
Did you tell your parents you were going to access therapy?
I chose not to, primarily because I didn’t want my mum to worry. I wanted it to be an independent thing that I did by myself and for me. I thought that the less people who knew, the smoother the process would be. I also didn't want to have to stress about it, as it can already be a nerve-wracking thing to do!
Teresa Doran | August 2021
Please note, all content published on this page is provided by our guest blogger/s, based on their real-life experiences. We invite you to discuss this blog via PAC-UK's Twitter profile and ask you to tag @PACUKadoption in to your posts and use the hashtag #PacukBlog
This blog is the fifteenth of our regular 'guest blogger' platform which we started in 2019. We would love to hear from adoptees, birth parents (and relatives), adoptive parents/carers, special guardians and professionals who are interested in taking part in future blogs. If this interests you please email email@example.com.