When Andrea first arrived at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center, she was skeptical.
The 16-year-old had struggled to manage her anger in a healthy way, and she was sent to the detention center after acting out at home. She learned she would begin seeing Megan, an LSI therapist who provides services in the detention center.
It was Andrea’s first time seeing a therapist, and she doubted that it would do her much good.
Now, she can’t imagine life without Megan by her side.
“We’ve been working together since January, and Megan immediately helped me know my thoughts and feelings were valid,” Andrea says.
Megan is an LSI therapist through LSI’s Trauma-Informed Services in the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center, a first-of-its-kind program offered to vulnerable children and youth in the center.
Many of these teens, like Andrea, have experienced neglect, abuse, and trauma. It is crucial that during their time in detention, they have access to trauma-informed therapy that sees beyond external behavior and guides them as they address and overcome their challenges.
Through Trauma-Informed Services, children and youth in detention participate in personalized, compassionate therapy sessions with Megan. Since the service began last fall, LSI has provided therapy to more than 200 children and teens in the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center.
Megan guides each child to find the coping skills and therapy methods that work for them. She communicates with the staff at the detention center, ensuring all care providers are on the same page, and serves as an advocate for each child during court appearances. When it is time for a child to leave the detention center, Megan makes sure they receive the mental health services they need when they return to their community.
When Andrea was discharged from the detention center, she was offered a new therapist to see regularly. But Andrea had built such a strong bond of trust with Megan that she specifically requested to keep meeting with Megan, instead. Now, the duo meets once a week to continue working on Andrea’s anger management and developing healthy communication.
Andrea is learning to write her feelings down in a journal and making new friends by playing volleyball in her spare time. She’s getting more comfortable letting her guard down and being honest about her emotions and fears.
“I’m glad I get to keep working with Megan,” she says. “I didn’t think therapy would work for me, but I was wrong. I’m feeling better and Megan has helped with everything.”