The following case studies are based upon composites of individual cases. The names have been changed to protect privacy.


John was 16. John mother took the family computer to be repaired one day and was contacted by police who told her that the IT people had found stored pornography images of children on the computer. John was charged with offences relating to the storage and distribution of child pornography. After getting to know John and reviewing police documents, Shona provided an assessment of his situation and risk and outlined a treatment plan to reduce the risk of him getting into this sort of trouble again. John and his mother worked with Shona for 12 months implementing the treatment plan and managing the ripple effect at home, school and socially.

Sarah was 14 when her best friend started going out with a boy at school that Sarah had a crush on. While she was too shy to talk to the boys at school Sarah started contacting boys from school via the internet. Things progressed and she started to perform online video sexual favours for them at their request. Sarah’s family were shocked and horrified when the matter was brought to their attention by police. Shona worked with Sarah and her family to better understand Sarah’s behaviours and to put in place sensible plans for Sarah’s safety but also to help Sarah understand why she did the things she did and how to manage her mood, friendship issues and anxieties.

Rob was 20 when he was convicted of serious assault charges. Rob had an autism spectrum disorder and had been bullied for many, many years. One day, Rob decided to take matters into his own hands and retaliated against a bully, assaulting the bully and leaving him seriously brain injured. Shona worked with Rob, his family, and his corrections workers to help understand the risk factors for Rob. She developed and implemented a treatment plan to lower Rob’s risk, but also to assist Rob with finding more happiness, friendship and to use available supports.

Mark had been removed from his mother’s care by child safety workers when he was 10 after it became apparent that he was being repeatedly subjected to abuse, violence and neglect at home. Mark was living in residential care and had started to abuse cannabis and skip school. On the days he was there, he was very quick to anger causing troubles with other students and teachers. At 14, Mark had also been charged with threatening and assaulting his residential carers. Shona took the time to build a relationship with Mark and to help him understand why he was doing the things he did. Together, Mark and Shona got to know his triggers and developed other ways to deal with much of Mark’s past and ongoing hurt and distress. Shona assisted Mark’s direct care workers and youth justice team to better understand Mark, wrote reports for court, and advocated for what Mark needed to settle into a life where he had a better chance of achieving his wishes.

Nigel, 30, was a health professional. A patient at the hospital where Nigel worked lodged a complaint about him to the hospital and to the Health Professionals’ Registration Board when she was unhappy with her treatment. The Board reviewed Nigel’s practice in relation to the patient and decided Nigel needed to work on certain breeches of the patient’s trust. Together, Nigel and Shona dealt with all of the angst that Nigel felt so that they could get to the bottom of factors that might have influenced Nigel’s behaviour with this patient. With a clearer understanding of his behaviours, risks and triggers, Nigel was able to safely and confidently return to work in the profession that he loved.

Rory loved driving and so did many of his mates. On a tragic day, Rory, then 20, was driving dangerously. His car hit a pole and his passenger (his best mate) was killed. Shona assisted Rory with his very complex grief and, when the time came, she assisted his legal team by preparing reports for court and advising the judge about the appropriate options for him. Rory was convicted of culpable driving and at the end of his sentence, Shona and Rory met again to assist him with returning to his family, community and workplace after some very difficult years.

Effie and Nic lived with their mother and attended the local primary school. They had witnessed their father being violent and abusive towards their mother over the years and, on one very sad day, they were called out from school to be told that their mother had been killed and that their father was in police custody. Effie and Nic were taken to live with a relative in another town. Shona took the time to get to know Effie and Nic and created a safe and therapeutic space for them to deal with all of their big feelings. Shona also provided advice and support to the children’s relatives, their school and to the protection workers who were allocated to support the children through the lengthy process of court and into their futures.

Janelle was 35 and living alone when she took in a young man she had been working with and who needed a place to stay. The young man had heavy substance abuse issues and a complex history and she thought she could help by giving him a safe place to live while he sorted himself out. Things turned violent one night when the young man returned home affected by multiple drugs. He assaulted her and kept her captive in her home for a number of days. After making her escape, Janelle’s experience traumatised her significantly. She was unable to work, did not feel safe in her home and found it hard to trust others. Shona worked with Janelle and other people in her medical team to take steps to repair her psychological heath and gradually reclaim a healthier life. Shona also assisted Janelle with the workplace and legal aspects of her situation, advising those assisting her with a return to work and through the criminal trial and then the legal compensation process.

At 17, Alice was in the midst of her final year at school. Her relationship with her boyfriend of eight months had just ended and she was having trouble bouncing back. She had started to withdraw, found it hard to concentrate or find the motivation to get going each day. Shona helped Alice to structure her day and to notice small pleasures. She guided Alice to attend mindfully to her thoughts and develop a different relationship with her negative ideas, brightening her mood and opening her up to a more positive social outlook.

Contact Shona Innes Psychology by phone 0400 150 106 or email admin@shonainnes.com for more information about these and other matters affecting teens and young people.

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