My first client at the Mental Health Clinic was an eighth-grade girl who dreaded going to school. In fact, she complained of stomach aches on most school mornings.
I met with both Andrea X (not her real name) and her mother together for the first part of the session.
Family history showed that Mr. and Mrs. X recently moved to Fort Collins from a small town in Nebraska, where Andrea had gone to school with the same students since kindergarten.
Andrea’s mother was a homemaker who gave piano lessons in her home. Andrea’s father worked as a supervisor in the electronics industry. The couple had one other child—a daughter—who was adjusting well to third grade.
Andrea and her mother agreed that while school work didn’t always come easily to Andrea, she was a hard worker and usually held a B average.
After meeting with Andrea and her mother, I met with Andrea alone for the second half of the session.
I wasn’t sure how to start the session, so I took a shot in the dark and asked Andrea about the Disneyland logo on her sweat shirt.
Although Andrea initially appeared uneasy after her mother left the room, once she started talking about the family vacation at Disneyland she seemed to relax.
There was so much I wanted to learn about Andrea so I could help her. We seemed off to a good start. At the end of the session, she agreed to see me again the next week.
What was behind Andrea’s reluctance to go to school?