Owen had a long history of being bullied at school and often felt sad and lonely and isolated. At home, his mother suffered from a mental illness, further increasing his sense of isolation and worry. At only 14, Owen constantly worries if he and his mom will not have enough money to make rent or for food.

At the Children’s Safety Project, role playing with therapists has helped him learn to effectively express and communicate his needs, feelings and desires to his mother, as well as other family members. Through learning healthy communication habits, Owen is also starting to gain confidence, reduce his fear of rejecting and improve his self-esteem. 

  1. Ten year old Gabby came to the Children’s Safety Project after she was sexually assaulted by a family member.  She suffers from a mood disorder as a result of being the victim of that assault. Gabby developed uncontrolled mood swings, often becoming angry and frustrated. The goal for her CSP therapist is to provide methods for her to manage her thoughts and feelings of anger and frustration due to the trauma. Gabby is in the beginning stages of treatment and is receptive and engaged in play therapy. As well, she responds well to trauma focused therapy.

Paul was only 4 years old was referred to the Children's Safety Project after his mother was murdered by his father. He was temporarily living with a grandparent while complicated custody battles went on around him. This uncertainty added to the enormous anxiety that Paul already experienced. Too young to verbalize what he was feeling, he expressed it mainly through hyperactive and aggressive behavior. 

Paul came to see Greenwich House as one of the few consistent things in his life, and expressed feelings of being nurtured and "at home here". For Christmas, his therapist presented him with a set of Legos, just like the one he loved to play with during his sessions. She told him that the gift was "from Greenwich House." Paul took this to mean that the entire staff participated in choosing the gift-and every time he met a new staff member, he would thank that person enthusiastically for his Legos. 

After repeat sessions, Paul's behavior calmed down. Finally he was able to unburden himself in words, and he told his therapist his secret-that he truly believed himself responsible for failing to protect his mother. This began a long process where Paul was helped to recognize that as a little boy, he could not have possibly done anything to alter the terrible chain of events. Eventually he was able to express his grief at the loss of his mother. Nobody could heal completely from such a terrible tragedy, but Paul's treatment has made it possible for him to deal with his loss with as little permanent damage as possible. 

*Names and identifying details have been changed

About Greenwich House

Greenwich House is a registered 501 c(3) organization and a member of the United Neighborhood Houses of New York. If you are interested in learning more about the network of settlement houses and the work they do, click here

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Children's Safety Project
210 Canal Street, Suite 403
New York, NY 10013