A young boy with a brutal history of abuse was having difficulty adjusting to life at Thompson. He trusted no one, had outbursts and bouts of violent anger.
Yet very slowly, he began to build a relationship with his Thompson Clinical Therapist. After months of therapy, the boy asked his therapist to take a walk with him and to bring a black magic marker. The therapist agreed.
The two put on jackets, set off through the woods surrounding Thompson Treatment Campus and started to walk to a stream at the edge of the property. As they walked, the boy began to pick up big stones and put them in his jacket pockets. When his pockets filled, he asked the therapist to carry some in his pockets, too.
The therapist briefly considered that this boy was not unfamiliar with violence and stones could be used as weapons, but he pushed the thought away. When they reached the stream, the boy walked to the bridge over the stream and began to line the stones up on the handrail.
He asked the therapist for the magic marker and began to write on each stone. When the therapist asked him what he planned to do, the boy said, “Every stone has the name of somebody who hurt me. But they can’t hurt me ever again, and I’m not gonna carry them around inside me anymore.”
With that, he picked up a stone, shouted the name written there and threw it as far down the stream as he could, repeating the process stone by stone until every one was gone.
When he was done, the boy turned to the therapist with a huge, beaming smile. The two walked back to the Thompson campus with lighter hearts and renewed hope.