Humans of Key Assets - Kylin Mawhinney
Our Complex Care team do an exceptional job of caring for young people with complex needs and help them live the very best life they can.
Kylin is part of the therapy team who work across multiple programs, including our fostering team. Our therapists adopt a family and systems based approach, where they focus on offering support to our foster families and the wider team throughout their foster care journey.
Therapy With Kylin
Written by a Key Assets W.A Carer, January 2022
Our first experience with the Key Assets therapy service was during 2021. Before this time, we knew little of what was involved or how it worked.
The world of foster kids is relatively new to us - only two years. During this time, our learning curve has felt a bit like the COVID curve - hurtling upwards so fast at times we felt we could hardly cope.
While the results of our learning curve and our fostering journey have made us better people and enriched our lives in countless ways, the day Key Assets Occupation Therapist, Kylin,arrived at our home for our first therapy session, was not one of the good days.
I felt overwhelmed and out of my depth regarding a new issue we had been grappling with.
In general, I consider my problem solving skills to be ok and I have a good support network around me, most importantly the Key Assets team, who have stood beside us and provided support, a good listening ear, and helpful strategies to implement at every step of the way. I also know where to go for information, and I try to be as proactive as possible.
On that day though, I couldn't see a solution and had no ideas left to try. Looking back, I realise that I hadn't managed the emotional side of things very well. The irony is not lost on me. I spend every day coaching, teaching, encouraging, supporting and assisting our daughter to be aware of how she feels, to label her emotions, to wait before reacting, to think about the choices available, to lean on us for support, and to make the right decision. And yet here I was, emotional brain overwhelmed and I could not see the way out.
The therapy participants were Kylin, our foster daughter and I. When Kylin came in, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure how she would navigate the situation or even if she could. Kylin set to work and immediately created a safe environment for all three of us. From the beginning,she made us both feel seen, heard and understood. No easy task when the situation is complex and everyone is emotional!
Kylin used drawings to map the story of the issue. I was struck by how effective this approach was.
Kylin used drawings to map the story of the issue. I was struck by how effective this approach was. In addition to reflective listening and a myriad of other skills I don't know the names of, Kylin helped us navigate the situation, slowly and with consideration.
I was especially impressed with how Kylin held the attention of our foster daughter. I must reiterate the situation was emotionally charged and complex. This in itself is hard enough when you have two willing adults trying to work out an issue. But throw in a child who has been to hell and back in her short life, who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, who has a raft of cognitive and intellectual challenges, and who has no life experience to draw on - chances are high that progress will be limited or there will be none at all. By the end of the session, all three of us had reached a point where we were on the same page. My daughter and I had moved around the obstacle in our way. We had actually moved past it and could see the path forward! We were standing alongside each other and mutual respect and trust was intact.
As Kylin said, "there had been a rupture, but we repaired it".
We were all three of us very tired, like we had run an ultra marathon. That really shows how much energy it takes to deal with these situations and challenges. But we had made it. The relief in the air was tangible.
I would like to thank Kylin for her skill, perseverance and immense patience and positivity that day. We are fortunate to have had her support in helping us navigate a very difficult situation.
I encourage you to try the Key Assets therapy service if you haven't already.
Thank you Kylin!