Breaking Bread

An ECH Client Story
February Edition

The following story was written about a participant in our Family Solutions for Kids program:

Tony was thirteen years old and referred to the Family Solutions for Kids program because he was experiencing extreme anxiety that had led to him skipping school. When the Case Therapist first met with Tony and his family, it was clear that he was suffering from both anxiety and depression. Additionally, Tony and his younger brother were regularly engaging in physical fights with one another and with their parents. Tony’s parents had begun to yell, which was not helping anything.

Tony’s Case Therapist immediately started trying to better understand the triggers for Tony’s anxiety and depression, but Tony was resistant to therapy and often refused to speak during sessions. The focus during the initial meetings with the family was supporting the parents in different ways to focus on reinforcing desired behavior from the boys, and responding to inappropriate behavior with consistent, natural consequences. The family also worked on developing routines, structures, and appropriate boundaries within the home. With Tony, all the case manager could do was work to build a relationship with him.

After several weeks of therapy, Tony finally opened up as they played a game of Uno. In the weeks that followed, Tony discussed past family conflicts, loss, and his own racial identity issues. As therapy progressed, Tony and his parents began to develop appropriate coping skills and Tony experienced a decrease in his symptoms of anxiety and depression. Subsequently, Tony was able to participate in an alternative school that allowed him to complete the school year successfully.

At the time ECH services were terminated, Tony reported a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression, and his family was enjoying fewer conflicts in the home. Tony still had mild symptoms of anxiety, but he had a tool box of coping skills to address these symptoms so that he could lead a satisfying social and academic life.


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