Power To Live: taking care-experienced mental health seriously

Picture of Kelsey Wiemer, Senior Therapist and COO

Kelsey Wiemer, Senior Therapist and COO

Kelsey’s journey to becoming a psychotherapist came out of a career in teaching, as she observed the impact of stress, anxiety and trauma on the wellbeing of both students and staff. Kelsey seeks to bring empathy, compassion and research-driven practices to the therapy room to support clients as they move towards a value-driven life.

A bespoke service for care-experienced young people

Born out of a chance meeting in a dance class and an ensuing friendly conversation, the partnership between the Drive Forward and Power to Live Foundations began in February 2022. Our two organisations make a great match, with similar values and an appreciation of the impact of mental health on the long-term success of care-experienced young people. Since then, the collaboration has grown, expanded, and impacted over twenty young people with more than 230 behavioural psychotherapy sessions delivered to date.  

At Power to Live, we approach psychotherapy from a behavioural change perspective. Our clients are encouraged to detach from their thoughts in pursuit of meaningful action. The goal is to support clients in acknowledging the impact of their past experiences on their present behaviour, whilst also validating their pain. The success of treatment relies heavily on fostering trust and building a strong therapeutic relationship. Helpful behavioural change is reinforced and practised in-session. Clients are encouraged to carry their pain, anxiety and challenges along with them whilst moving towards a value-driven life of their own creation.  

Working with the young people of Drive Forward comes with a high degree of complexity at times. The impact of being care-experienced on a young person cannot be underestimated. Attachment trauma often makes positive relationship building difficult, increases hyper0vigilance, and can contribute to ongoing mental health concerns. Some of the young people experience symptoms of complex trauma such as flashbacks, reliving, wariness of support, suicidal thoughts and poor emotional regulation skills. Building trust and encouraging engagement with the therapeutic process requires a high level of patience, reinforcement and compassion. To better meet their psychological needs, we have increased our own internal training, supervision and therapist support.  

Although working with care-experienced young people comes with challenges, it is also incredibly rewarding. They are courageous and willing to confront their difficult pasts. The young people are resilient, compassionate towards others and grateful for our support. Being able to help a young person feel accepted, empowered and prepared to take valued action is incredibly gratifying. As therapists, we also gain an opportunity to learn and improve our skills. In engaging with the complexity of and supporting Drive Forward’s young people, we too are challenged, changed and given the chance to make meaningful connections. We must also practice what we teach: the difficult emotions and thoughts are inevitable, yet we control our choices. Being willing is what matters.  

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is anxiety, one of the most common mental health difficulties. Anxiety is an emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. It can show up as a result of our jobs, relationships, social situations, finances, how we feel about ourselves and more. Anxiety is an important emotion that helps our mind and body to prepare for potential threats. However, when it starts showing up regularly, intensely and is interfering with our daily life, then it can become a problem.  

Struggling with anxiety can feel overwhelming, isolating and tiring. It can prevent us from doing the things that we want and need to do and get in the way of living our most fulfilling lives. Managing these feelings can be difficult, and there are some tips and tools we can use to help.

Here are some strategies from our Power to Live therapists for managing anxiety:

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