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Storytime

The Cocoon Kids difference

Supporting local disadvantaged children, young people and their families is close to all of our hearts at Cocoon Kids. Our team also has lived-experience of disadvantage, social housing and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), as well as local knowledge from living in our communities.

Children, young people and their families tell us how important this is to them.

They can feel this difference. They know that we fully understand and 'get it' because we've walked in their shoes, too. This is the Cocoon Kids difference.

 



 

 

A Cocoon Story
A story mostly to share with children and young people, but adults may enjoy it too.

And, as with many good stories, it's in three parts (well, Chapters... sort of!).
Then it rambles a bit and you may get a bit lost, but then the very best bits are all at the end when it finally makes sense.

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​Chapter 1

The magic that can happen inside a calm, caring cocoon

 

Or, the chapter that should be called, 'There's some very loose science in here, honestly'

 

 

Inside the chrysalis (which is also called a pupa), a caterpillar changes completely. It dissolves and transforms...

 

During this amazing transformation (science calls this metamorphosis), it becomes an organic liquid, a bit like soup. Some parts stay more or less as they are originally, but other parts change almost completely - including the caterpillar's brain! The body of the caterpillar is completely reorganised by imaginal cells. Yes! 'Imaginal' is the cell's actual name, imagine that? These incredible imaginal cells have been there right from the  beginning, right from when the caterpillar was a tiny baby larva.

 

These amazing cells contain its destiny, they know what is can become later on, as it emerges from the cocoon. These cells contain all of the potential for this future butterfly... all of the dreams of drinking nectar from summer's flowers, soaring high and dancing in the warm air currents, that it may have...

 

The cells help it to develop into its new self. This isn't always an easy process! At first they act separately as single-cells and are entirely independent. The caterpillar's immune system even believes that they might be dangerous and attacks them.

 

But, the imaginal cells carry on... and multiply... and multiply... and multiply...  and then suddenly...

 

They begin to join and connect with each other. They form groups and start to resonate (make a sound and shake) at the same frequency. They are communicating in the same language and passing information backwards and forwards! They are relating and connecting with each other!

 

Until finally...

 

They stop acting like separate individual cells and join together completely...

 

And incredibly, they now realise how different they are from when they first got into their cocoon!

 

In fact, they really are different from before, they're something spectacular! They're a multi-celled organism - they're now a butterfly!

Chapter 2

Memories, confusion and things that get so deeply stored that the butterfly can't forget them, even if it wants to

Or, the chapter that should be called, 'So yes, that's really interesting!

But, does a butterfly even remember when it was a caterpillar, though?

 

 

Maybe! Just like us, some experiences which butterflies learnt when they were younger caterpillars become memories that they seem to remember.

 

Scientists' tests show that caterpillars learn and remember things, and butterflies also have memories of things too. But, because of metamorphosis, scientists weren't sure if butterflies remember anything that they've learnt from when they were caterpillars.

 

But...

They trained caterpillars to really hate the strong smelling chemical used in nail polish remover (ethyl acetate).

They did this by giving the caterpillars little electric shocks every time they smelled it! It sounds awful, and I'm pretty certain that they didn't like it very much at all, and were probably very confused about what was going on, too!

 

Soon, these caterpillars avoided the smell completely (and who can blame them!). It reminded them of electric shocks!

The caterpillars transformed into butterflies. The scientists tested them to see if they still remembered to stay away from the nasty smell - with the horrid promise of the electric shocks. They do! They still have memories of the horrid smell and the painful electric shocks that they experienced as caterpillars,when they had their different brain. These memories stay in their nervous system, long after their bodies have changed.

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​Chapter 3

(And definitely NOT the end, really. We all have many, many, many more Chapters to come...)

 

What all emerging butterflies would love you to know

 

Or the chapter that's definitely now shouting out, 'Erm, so what's the point of this story now, again?'

 

 

Like many children and young people and adults too, we all have our stories to tell. Everybody's experience is different, and for some it's easy to feel like a soaring butterfly - but sometimes that can feel extra difficult to do, and you may wonder if it's just you that can't? Cocoon Kids' Directors have also had tricky starts and things happen in our early lives which were sometimes hard to make sense of. This was certainly my own experience...

 

Some of those things can feel a bit like electric shocks and horrid things we'd rather not have had happen, just in the same as they do for the caterpillars. These are the things that can get stored in our bodies, brains and nervous system, and can make us react without realising it in certain ways to things that remind us of things that were difficult to understand... just as it was for the caterpillars.

 

At Cocoon Kids we understand what it's like to be confused and unsure and not know how to change things, too. We know how hard that was for our families too, at times. We know that they were trying their best, but sometimes that can be extra tricky, because life isn't perfect. 

 

As we train we also have our own therapy and counselling and clinical supervision too. BAPT and BACP therapists have ongoing clinical supervision, and therapy sometimes too, once trained. This is a hugely important part of our work (this is confidential, just as the work that we do is, too).

 

Sometimes this is tricky, sometimes we may want to avoid this, sometimes it is confusing and doesn't make sense immediately, and we questioned it! But we also knew that to grow we had to allow our inside thoughts, feelings and sometimes even memories to change, as we reworked through some of these experiences. But, we did this within the safety and trust that we built together with our therapist and supervisor... and we learnt firsthand how transformative a therapeutic relationship can be.

 

We also learnt how different sensory regulatory resources and self-care strategies could help us to feel safer and regulated as we looked at things again. We discovered how these can also support children, young people and families, when we work therapeutically with them, too. (In fact, all of the person-centred child-led therapeutic skills, strategies and techniques that we learnt are well-founded and backed by scientific evidence.)

 

At the end of this process (this actually is called 'trusting the process'), we felt more like ourselves, and more like the person we are supposed to be. Previously confusing things make more sense, and we are often happier within ourselves. We know that what it is like to have counselling and therapy, and feel vulnerable in this as we think about some of those things that may have felt like the caterpillar's electric shocks.

But we also know that it has helped the real us emerge, just as Cocoon Kids will work together with you and your family to 'help the real you emerge', too.

 

With love from Helene and all of the Cocoon Kids CIC team xx xx

Cocoon Kids - Creative Counselling and Play Therapy CIC

'a calm and caring cocoon where every child and young person reaches their true potential'

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