Case Studies

Just 'B' Case Study - Katie's Story

Katie’s Story*

Within a year all four of Katie’s grandparents died – something her parents chose to withhold from her in a bid to protect the youngster. When Katie discovered that her parents had been hiding this from her, she was upset. Katie didn’t understand their decision and struggled to come to terms with her loss.

A social worker helping Katie with her anorexia recognised that her client needed bereavement support if she was going to avoid possible long term mental health problems. She referred Katie to Just ‘B’.

Katie had eight one-to-one sessions of support at Just ‘B’. During this time she explored her distress about the deaths of her grandparents and her parents’ decision not to tell her. Because of what had happened Katie said she felt isolated and ‘different’ from her friends and her family. The support workers at Just ‘B’ used practical games and activities to help Katie express her feelings and thoughts e.g. releasing balloons in memory of her grandparents.

The Just ‘B’ workers also carried out a number of group sessions with Katie and her parents, which resulted in the youngster telling her mother and father that she felt very let down. The sessions also helped her parents to understand the effect their actions on their daughter. As a result Katie was able to reconnect with her parents and family now say they are a ‘lot closer and stronger’. Thanks to the help offered by Just ‘B’ the family say they are now a lot more comfortable talking about the deaths of Katie’s grandparents. They also take time out as a family to remember them in a positive way, by doing things like watching Katie’s grandma’s favourite movie on anniversary of her death.

Margie’s Story

After her son Jack’s favourite teacher died, his behaviour changed. He started to lash out and Margie didn’t know what to do. A school nurse identified that the teacher’s death could be bringing back the trauma of Jack’s own father’s death. She referred him to Just ‘B’.

Over a period of 6 months Jack had 16 one-to-one sessions at Just ‘B’ and the team helped him with to deal with his anger. What Jack desperately wanted was for his father still be alive and present for the important moments in his life, like when his GCSE results or scored his first goal for the local Under 18s footie team.  The teenager couldn’t handle it when his peers moaned about having to spend time with their fathers on a weekend. The team at Just ‘B’ worked with Jack to understand his grief and learn to live with it. Jack took part in a number of practical activities. These included making memory boxes in which Jack placed special items that reminded him of his dad, such as his favourite Leeds United strip, his favourite aftershave and a postcard he had sent.

Margie was so relieved that there was somewhere to support her son. But Just ‘B’s involvement with the family didn’t end here. They also worked with Jack’s sixth form and with Margie herself to help them understand that it is normal for the death of parent to affect a child at different times during their development. They equipped his teachers and Margie with the skills needed to help Jack manage his behaviour.

As result of this help Jack and his mum say they now talk much more openly and understand each other better. Margie also feels ‘much stronger and more confident’ in answering her son’s questions and is prepared with ways to help the 17-year-old deal with how he feels. Jack recently gained his A levels and mother and son took a copy of his outstanding results up to the grave along with a father’s day card.

Just 'B' Case Study - Chris' Story

Chris’ Story

In 1988 Chris and Sarah decided to marry despite the fact that doctors had recently diagnosed Sarah with breast cancer. The pair were determined to tackle the disease together and shortly after the wedding ceremony, Sarah had a mastectomy and underwent a punishing course of chemotherapy. Doctors were pleased with the results of this treatment and Sarah’s cancer went into remission. Over the next 10 years the couple ‘lived their dream’,  developed their own interior design company and sharing their love for the Far East, often taking off to exotic locations like Thailand, Japan, Cambodia and Laos.

Then  Sarah received the devastating news that her cancer had returned and was terminal. Chris gave up work to look after his beloved wife and did so until her death in three years later.  Three months after Sarah’s death, a heartbroken Chris received further upsetting news. His younger sister Frances, who he was very close to, was also diagnosed with terminal cancer. Chris travelled to Provence, in France, where she was living, and stayed with her until her death on Christmas Day that year.

Chris came to Just ‘B’ ,  telling the team he thought he was ‘falling apart’. He didn’t want to work, leave the house or even see his friends. Chris said he felt ‘empty inside’ and was very upset that he couldn’t remember any of the good times he had with his wife or his sister.

At Just ‘B’ Chris said he found a place to off-load, somewhere he didn’t have to put on a brave face and where he could say all the things he didn’t dare admit to other people. After a year of one-to-one support Chris feelings of grief hadn’t lessened but he said that with the support of the Just ‘B’ team he had developed the skills to adjust to a ‘new normal’ where grief was present but didn’t consume him.

*please note that names have been changed to protect to the identities of our clients.

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