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Who we work with at Melbourne City Mission

Zander's story

"Therapy is something that has really helped me over this period. It’s helped me to process the Trauma from my mother, understand and strengthen my relationship with my father, and change the way I think about myself."

Meet Zander: A young person's therapeutic journey

"At a young age I was exposed to family violence from my mother. After the relationship between my parents reached a threshold, there was a difficult divorce. I lost contact with my sister, my father kicked my mother out and then left the state. I just turned 17 and living all alone. I was paying the bills with 2 jobs and still finishing year 12. My best friend moved in with me and from that point on it was us against the world. After a couple more incidents I finally felt it was time to put some legal protection in place between me and my mother. Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for legal aid, but determined to get results I approached the case self-represented and with the help of my roommate we won.

A young man supported through the FRMP program

A few weeks later we were informed the house was being sold, and we had a week to move out. With nowhere left to go we packed the essentials into the car and drove to Melbourne, where we couch surfed with distant relatives and friends. After exhausting all our options, I approached Frontyard for some assistance. The team there helped me to reconnect with my father and refer me to therapy sessions funded by FRMP. Since then I’ve been slowly adjusting back from the chaotic lifestyle of that period, and now after COVID-19 finally getting back into normal life.

Therapy is something that has really helped me over this period. It’s helped me to process the Trauma from my mother, understand and strengthen my relationship with my father, and change the way I think about myself. During the sessions with Beverly, my therapist, I was taught mindfulness techniques that would help me to neutralise any anxious or stressful situations. When I first began the therapy sessions I was dealing with an overwhelming amount of emotions and the space Beverly created was one I felt safe to vent in. As I explained the issues I was facing, Beverly would unpack the roots of the issues and help me to better understand them; that was around 30 sessions ago. Since then the formula hasn’t changed much, although the sessions have become more efficient. In a session we tend to cover the most pressing issues of that week, bringing everything back to mindfulness to develop healthier ways of thinking. We’ve covered everything from friendships to breakups, adjusting and managing stress and anxiety. Every couple of sessions we tackle a bigger topic, sometimes it’s dealing with trauma and other times it’s breaking down family history and dynamics to better understand today’s issues and how they have arisen. These heavier topics can be quite hard to confront, but the space created is calming and allows for an open discourse free of emotional bias.

I struggle a lot to be content with my own company, and by using mindfulness techniques I’ve allowed myself to enjoy it more and understand some of the reasons for why I didn’t. Therapy has also helped me understand how to keep a healthy work life balance and establish hobbies that I never had the time for before. Beverly puts a lot of time into the idea of neutralising negative automatic beliefs, this helps when approaching new or stressful situations, allowing me not to dwell on the possible negative outcomes.

I still have a long way to go in becoming who I one day want to be, but without all the services and people around me I don’t think I would have come anywhere near this far already. Improving my mental state improved every aspect of my life. Now at 19, I have slowly seen more success in my career, I feel more confident when approaching my studies and I’m living my life better by improving the relationships around me and enjoying everything I do more."

Zander, FRMP Client

What is FRMP?

The Family Reconciliation Mediation Program (FRMP) supports young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to:

  • stay or return home, if safe and appropriate, and/or
  • recover from trauma related to family conflict and breakdown, and/or
  • connect/reconnect with family or other natural supports

One of the significant achievements of the Family Reconciliation Mediation Program (FRMP) since its inception has been its diverse Brokerage component. This funding has provided young people with different therapeutic interventions that provide opportunities for them to explore issues to enable recovery. Zander is just one of the many young people the FRMP Team supports for individual or group counselling, enabling them to navigate sessions with a FRMP Registered Practitioner.

More information about the Family Reconciliation Mediation Program.

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