Kathy's Story | Youth Insearch


Tue, 12/12/2017 - 17:00


Newsletter, Stories

I’m a psychologist, that has referred young people to Youth Insearch for around 28 years now. I have worked in the field of trauma and young people for over 30 years and have found Youth Insearch to be the single most successful program for helping young people adapt, find better coping mechanisms in their lives, and better options for themselves.  

Through the Youth Insearch Weekend Workshops lots of kids have made huge changes in their lives and have come and unburdened secrets that they’ve kept for many years, that have impacted significantly on their behaviour which led them to being referred.  

Youth Insearch has a unique model. It’s a bottom up model, so it doesn’t have adults doing things for young people – it has young people who have had experience with the same issues that bring participants to the program, being able to give back wisdom, guidance and support. 

It’s very driven by the young people – the young people make a lot of the decisions. I think this is one of the factors that has sustained this program over the 30-odd years it’s been going – whereas other programs peter out once people leave, staff leave. The Youth Insearch program is driven by each generation of young people that comes, and the program has remained unchanged from the very early days. 

I’ve worked with children from many different backgrounds, from juvenile justice and sexual assault, family trauma, family violence. For many years now, Youth Insearch has been the one program that provides young people with ongoing support for when they go back into their communities. They walk away with relationships that they trust, and that enable them to work on the issues they’ve chosen to work on.  

The other thing that Youth Insearch does well is repairing attachment broken by trauma. Trauma impacts significantly on the attachment, which is integral to our being as human beings – we need to have survival – and attachment is the process that that occurs. Anything that impacts on that process early in life has a longitudinal impact on the lives of human beings.   

By repairing this attachment process early in the child’s lifespan, Youth Insearch gives the young people an opportunity to develop more functional relational templates. They can then go forward into their own lives and start having their own relationships that is not going to repeat what has been occurring to them through the generations, breaking the cycle of abuse.  

I’ve seen this because of the length of time that I’ve been here. Young people who I have seen come to this program, because of significant behavioural issues in the community, for various reasons, have now taken from the program those very relational templates that they now put into their own relationships.   

I have seen young people come through the program, as leaders particularly, and get married, get interrelationships, start raising their families, and some of them now are raising their own teenagers. And it just wouldn’t have happened in such a secure and functional way had the Youth Insearch program not intervened for them at that very early age.