Tony was thirteen years old and referred to the Family Solutions for Kids program because he was experiencing extreme anxiety that 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, he and his younger brother were regularly engaging in physical fights with each other and lashing out at their parents.

Tony’s case therapist immediately started trying to better understand the triggers for his anxiety and depression, but he 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 help them reinforce desired behavior from the boy sand respond to inappropriate behavior with consistent, natural consequences. The family also worked on developing routines, structures, and appropriate boundaries within the home.

After several weeks of therapy and relationship building with Tony, he finally opened up during a game of Uno. In the weeks that followed, Tony discussed past family conflicts, loss, and his own racial identity issues. He and his parents began to develop appropriate copings skills and experienced a decrease in his symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Subsequently, he was able to participate in an alternative school that allowed him to complete the school year successfully.

When his time with the FSK program ended, Tony reported a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression and his family experienced fewer conflicts in the home. Tony still had mild symptoms of anxiety, but he had acquired coping skills to address these symptoms so he could lead a satisfying social and academic life.