During the last five minutes of our previous therapy session, eighth-grader Andrea told me why she didn’t want to go to school.
I was running behind that day and had a new client waiting, so I couldn’t spend more time with Andrea.
I scheduled a follow-up appointment for the next day.
The following day, Andrea seemed more comfortable than in the past. It didn’t take much prompting for her to say, “I hate those girls who smoke in the bathrooms after lunch.”
I remained silent because I knew she had more to tell me.
“I feel so scared when they make fun of me because I don’t smoke. In a way I want to be pretty and popular like them, but I don’t want to smoke,” she sobbed.
“Are there girls in the restroom who don’t smoke?” I asked Andrea.
“Yes, but I don’t know them real well, “she said dabbing her tears with a tissue.
I thought for a moment and then asked, “Andrea, would it be OK if we asked your Mom in the room so we can tell her about the smoking in your school?”
Between tears, Andrea nodded yes.
When I told Andrea’s Mom about the smoking problem, her expression relaxed.
And Andrea looked relieved. It was good to have her problem out in the open.
Girls smoking in bathrooms was something we could tackle.