Anger Management - JD's Story

All children throw tantrums occasionally but JD’s were a little different.

He was physically and verbally aggressive – throwing objects across the room, name-calling, pushing and breaking things – and routinely ignored the adults in his life.

Being separated from his caregivers, not getting his way or any sudden changes would result in intense and often protracted outbursts from JD.

Upon arriving at Community Partners, JD quickly immersed himself into the therapy program – bonding with his therapist and eagerly participating in group sessions as well as individual play.

JD’s formative years were unstable – he never had a secure, consistent relationship with his biological parents as they suffered from addiction and recurring legal issues that oftentimes resulted in arrest – and his caregivers had become the primary parental figures in his life.

As his primary parental figures, JD’s caregivers took a hands-on approach and fully integrated themselves into his therapy, participating in family play therapy and practicing a variety of positive approaches.

Through the course of his therapy, it was determined that JD suffered from Reactive Attachment Disorder – a rare but serious condition in which children do not develop healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. If untreated, this can permanently change a child’s growing brain, hurting his or her ability to form lasting relationships.

Gradually, JD has learned how to better manage his emotions and to self-calm when he’s feeling upset. He uses more appropriate words to express his feelings, his frustration tolerance has increased and his emotional reactivity has decreased. One of the biggest successes to come out of his therapy sessions is JD’s newfound ability to deal with transitions and partings in a healthy way. Instead of acting out as he once did, he says ‘goodbye’ and understands that a parting is not an abandonment.

JD is doing much better in school as well. His calmer demeanor has led him to become one of the most popular children in class and now, he is socially integrated with his classmates and a classroom leader.

His caregivers play with him much more often and purposefully use many supportive parenting approaches and consistently give JD the love, security and encouragement he needs to flourish and succeed.