This blog post is written by one of our NeuroLove social therapists, about their work with two of the young people they have helped. NeuroLove are very proud of the work we have been doing to support young people during these ever-changing and challenging times. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect and share some of the experiences I have had working with the amazing young people that have attended Social Therapy sessions with me. Social Therapists offer mentoring, a supportive relationship to young people aged 8+. They provide encouragement and inspiration to help young people improve and maintain their emotional and physical wellbeing. The 30-minute sessions offer a space to talk and share their thoughts and experiences with someone who will listen and offer support where necessary. In order to protect and maintain the confidentiality of our young people and their families, all names have been changed. Case Study: Alex (aged 8) Alex was referred to NeuroLove by his mother, following concerns that Alex’s father was having a detrimental effect on his emotional wellbeing. Due to COVID-19, Alex was having to spend more time at his father’s home and was vocal about not enjoying spending time there (in part due to current and ongoing tension in the parental relationship). Alex attended 32 video calls and never missed a session. During the initial sessions, Alex was very quiet, low in mood and angry at the situation he was in. As the sessions progressed, there was a notable improvement in mood. He became increasingly more positive and demonstrated age-appropriate playfulness within the sessions. As part of my work with Alex, I provided resources to help him manage his anger and low mood using techniques that we practised within the sessions. I was also able to use my own childhood experiences of divorce to support Alex. He was able to ask me questions about how I felt then and now. These questions helped Alex as it enabled him to think not just about his current relationship with his father, and his desire to spend as little time with him as possible, but supported him to think about how he would like his relationship with him to develop over time. For Alex, having someone to talk to, that wasn’t in his immediate network, significantly helped his mood and relationships with his parents. Following Alex’s sessions, his mother commented that she “didn’t know what they would have done without mine, and NeuroLove’s input”. Moreover, Alex said that he thoroughly enjoyed having our sessions and that I’ve “really helped him to feel better”. We have all noticed a complete change in Alex’s wellbeing. After a 3-week break over the Christmas period, we (myself, Alex, his mother and my supervisor) decided that Alex no longer needed the sessions. Still, we will check-in with him intermittently to see how the family are getting on. Case study: Jason (aged 25) Jason referred himself to NeuroLove as he wanted to support managing his emotions. As well as general anxiety and overthinking, Jason struggled with a few life challenges. In total, Jason attended seven sessions and was open and talkative throughout. After a couple of positive life changes (such as finding a job and reconnecting with his father) and having someone support him, there was an increase in his mood. Jason felt more confident in himself and was able to manage his emotions easier. Jason revealed that mental health is not considered a priority in his culture. Consequently, the sessions provided a safe space to talk about his feelings, including struggles with parental relationships. Due to his concerns around work, I was able to provide encouragement and advice around job seeking and interview techniques. Furthermore, I provided questions to challenge unhelpful thinking styles. These questions helped Jason to look at situations from a different, more solution-focused and positive perspective. Jason was very grateful for the sessions and commented that they helped him “during a difficult and stuck period” in his life. After a 3-week break over the Christmas period, Jason and I decided he no longer needed the sessions. NeuroLove will continue to check in with Jason, and he knows that he can always reach out if he needs further support.