I was living in a program run by the Department of Mental health and the Department of Social Services for Children and Families (Formally DSS) for kids with mental health problems. I was placed in this program because I had serious anger issues starting when I was nine years old. They lasted until I was 17 years old, just in time to start the new school year at Lowell, High School.
When I arrived at the second program at the age of 15, I found it little overwhelming at first, being a different environment from the previous residential program. I was originally placed in the first program because of all my violent outbursts and behaviors and most of all to protect my younger siblings having been found to have touched my younger brother in inappropriate ways. This behavior began when I was 5 ½ years old, too young to even realize that what I was doing was inappropriate. I was restrained 4 times a week, 3 times a day because of my anger and violence, throwing shoes and other things at the staff. I was defiant, unwilling to listen to the staff as a result of internal rage. I was too young at the time to even understand where all this rage was coming from. I didn’t understand why I was angry or why I was acting out, though I did realize that I was doing these things and that I was really angry. My 9 year old self was angry with the staff, because in my 9 year old mind, the staff were pissing me off, making it reasonable for me to act out in this way. I was really good at sabotaging anything that was going well, believing that I deserved “bad things.” That continued until I was 15 years old. At 15 years old I moved over to the second program for kids 15 years and older.
In the second program with the change involved, I became enraged, while continuing to sabotage anything that was going well in my life. When I first arrived at the second program I was restrained every day on average of 2 times a day. This lasted for the first 6 months I was there. From that point my anger and behavior started to slow down, mellowing out somewhat, though it was still present, still finding myself being restrained 4 times a week, 3 times a day.
When I had explained to my therapist at the second program about touching my brother for the very first time, she told me that behavior was “not okay”, it was the behavior of a “pedofile,” to which I said, “No, I am not, because I don’t do what they do, having watched the news every morning, where I learned about what true pedofiles do. No, I have no inclination to touch kids.” Next the program had an outside consultant do a risk assessment for sexual assault to another person, to see if I would “reoffend” on the sexual behavior. They asked questions in a accusatory and degrading tone of voice like:
Do I feel I sexually aggressive toward this female?”, meaning a female teen client in the program. I answered, “No, I don’t.”
They asked “How do I feel towards her?” I said, “If I could, I would run away with her.”
With that they decided that I was at risk for being sexually aggressive and reoffending in the future.
They took my answer totally out of context with my actual meaning, being that I wanted to run away with her in a caring, loving way, having nothing to do with a sexually demeaning manner as they wrongly interpreted my response. At the time I didn’t even understand the difference between “liking” a girl vs. “loving” a girl. I never really understood till much later why I needed time to get to know the girl. I knew I “liked” and I “thought” I “loved” her.
Later on in life, about two years ago, (at 22 years old) during Christmas time I was dating that very same girl. It was then that I realized that it wouldn’t work between us. We fought a lot, she was lazy, where I was staying home watching her infant daughter as she slept, having me basically run the household with me paying all the bills. I moved out of there because of her daughter when the landlord wasn’t keeping the home warm enough or the property up to code.
While I was at the second program I had been getting hospitalized for suicidal ideations, going as far as: putting scratches in my arm, hitting my head against the wall trying to knock myself out, and at one point I was crapping in the “quiet room” at the program demonstrating my total displeasure.
One day, my mother and father told me that they were taking me out to lunch. While we had our lunch they told me that there was someone that they wanted me to see. I had a little understanding of hypnotism, with my father appreciating what hypnotism could do, he having studied it a bit. Running this idea by me, explaining a little more about it, I was really nervous at time, not really sure about the idea. But, than they told me I was going to see Suzanne Kellner-Zinck. After lunch we waited for the appointed time for our initial meeting. Then I met Suzanne and found her to be a very quick talking women, feeling a little overwhelmed. However, I also realized that my parents wanted me to get alternative help for all that me and my family had gone through for the previous 11.5 years.
Understand that I was all of not quite 17 years old at the time I met Suzanne. When we had gotten there, Suzanne had written two types of contracts for all of us to sign. The first was the contract that stated my parents had to agree to do whatever Suzanne told them to, without argument allowing me to get my own treatment – accepting that I needed to be allowed to talk. They couldn’t tell me what I could or couldn’t say, unable to argue about anything that happened in the treatment room with Suzanne. That contract surprised me, because normally a therapist has to tell me how the treatment is to progress. In this situation I found that I controlled my own treatment which gave me new hope for my future.
The second contract was a contract specifically written for me with three conditions I needed to agree to for the treatment to even begin. The first condition stated in the contract was to agree that I was willing to do whatever it would take to be treated without wasting my parents and Suzanne’s time. The second condition was for me to agree to let Suzanne know if she did anything that pissed me off, realizing that this could happen, yet letting know that I had to work it out with her. The final condition being that if I was confused about anything at all that she was doing or saying, that I had to ask her to explain until I totally understood and I was willing to comply. That contract made me a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure how well the treatment was going to work, though I was willing to do whatever it took. The reason that I went forward was because my parents had faith in my being able to overcome my difficulties using this treatment, especially because my father had a good knowledge about what Suzanne was doing to treat me because he had received some training in hypnosis and NLP as one of many ideas he had to help me overcome my problems.
During the first session, I had talked a lot about my past history. We started with my issues with my younger brother, and my many foster home placements (being placed in foster homes from the time I was 6 months old with the death of my mother and never knowing my biological father). We talked about my biological mom, and the problems I had with dealing with my biological mother. I felt that she abandoned me, instead of what really happened with her dying of AIDS. I had came to understand that I got sick about her, feeling so angry and so confused about my feelings towards her. I realized that there was something that was preventing me from getting the right treatment. In that first session we also discussed problems between me and my adoptive mom and dad, the people who raised me from age 5 ½. My adoptive mother really helped me to better understand my history up to that point during that first session.
Working with Suzanne as my hypnotist, was “joyful” because Suzanne helped me to understand what was normal behavior for my age giving me much relief. She was straight to the point, about what she expected of me. I very much appreciated this because in all my previous years of traditional therapy I was never enlightened about what was expected me.
During out work together I was placed into a hypnotic state so Suzanne could access my unconscious. While in that state I found it much easier to talk about how I felt and what was going on. Most importantly, I was able to see how I could change things for the better. For example I saw: my biological mother, the beach, pictures of past events that had happened, things that were bothering me, finally being able to change them, putting a better memory in place for myself. With the ability to make these changes, I found that it was much easier to talk about how I felt, allowing me to be who I am today.
We also spoke about a behavior that started at the second program where I was stealing girls underwear from the program upstairs. Suzanne educated me that this was normal age appropriate sexual experimentation which gave me much relief.
Understand that the therapist in my second program told me and my parents that my future was going to spent up “in jail or dead.” Not much of a future for a 17 year old to look forward to. After my work with Suzanne, 8 years later, now at the age of 24, I find that I am able to: hold a regular full-time job along with a part-time job, am off all the medications I was ever on, living on my own, currently in a relationship with a women of my own age, with a good relationship my parents, and able to truly be an older brother to my younger brother, whom I dearly love. Yes, this is the same brother with whom I had inappropriately touched all those years ago. Presently, I am able to take care of my own finances, have my own car and I now know what I didn’t know when I was 17 years old, because of my work with Suzanne, who I haven’t seen since November of 2005 when I was originally treated by her. I knew after my treatment with Suzanne, that I would have a full future ahead of me able to do anything that I want to so long as I put my mind to it.
Antonio Martin age 24 – (I am using my real name because I realize like some you, that I had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of given how young I was when all of this occurred starting at age 5 ½ years old. My sincere hope by my being transparent in telling my whole story is that those people affected similarly will realize that they too deserve to have a happy and fulfilled life like I currently enjoy!)
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