Cindy used any sharp instrument to cut herself. Razor blades, safety pins, broken glass...they all worked. Cutting was the only way she knew to relieve her sadness. She couldn't cope with her emotions and the cutting offered some sense of relief and calm.
Cindy's mother was alarmed when she discovered the scars on Cindy's arm. She immediately contacted Child & Family Center for help. Her therapist established a safety plan. All sharp objects were removed from the home. Cindy's mom kept a close watch on her, and even slept with her to make sure she didn't resort to the cutting.
Over the next five months, Cindy's therapist helped her realize where her pain stemmed from. Cindy had been dating her boyfriend for a year, and during that time he had become increasingly verbally abusive. Afraid to lose him, Cindy tolerated the abuse and had begun to believe the horrible things he said about her. This broke down her already fragile self esteem and she resorted to cutting.
Cindy's therapist helped her regain a proper image of herself, and realize that she should not put up with the abuse. Cindy learned how to communicate her feelings, and the coping skills to manage her emotions without cutting. Today, Cindy is much more open, has ended the abusive relationship and hasn't turned to cutting herself in over six months.
Jeremy's parents separated when he was seven. His father moved out of the home. Jeremy became withdrawn. He stopped talking with his friends and family. His grades began to drop. He had difficulty sleeping. His mother brought him to Child & Family Center for help.
Jeremy began seeing a therapist named Debbie at the Center. He began to open up and established a trusting relationship with her. She helped him accept that his parents were divorcing. He learned what that would mean to his life. He learned how to cope with the change in the structure of his family. First he processed his sense of loss of a parent and the family as a unit. Through talking with Debbie, he began to recognize that he was not losing a parent, but adjusting to a new kind of family. Mom and Dad joined in the therapy sessions which helped him feel secure and come to terms with the divorce. He realized that he could maintain a healthy relationship with each of his parents, in spite of the fact that they would no longer be living in the same home.
Within six months Jeremy started to interact with his peers at school. His grades improved and his sleeping patterns returned to normal. His Dad remains actively involved with his school work and sports activities and Jeremy visits him every other weekend. With the help of Debbie at the Child & Family Center, Jeremy has become a well adjusted young boy.
Sarah was desperate. Though she didn't know where she would live or how she would care for herself and her two young daughters, she knew that she had to leave. Sarah had been verbally and physically abused for as long as she could remember; first from her step father, and now from her husband. Broken bones, black eyes, and feelings of worthlessness had become commonplace for her. Knowing that she didn't want the same life for her daughters, and afraid of the results if her husband found out she was leaving, she got up the courage to secretly pack her bags and take her girls on a bus from their home in Arizona to California.
After arriving in Santa Clarita, Sarah began receiving public assistance to help meet her physical needs. Although she wanted and needed to work, Sarah's severe depression, anxiety and fear made her unable to. She was referred her to the Child & Family Center's CalWORKs program. Sarah began meeting weekly with a therapist who helped her learn how to cope with her situation. She learned to recognize what triggered her bouts of serious depression, and what actions to take in order to prevent them. Sarah's therapist helped her design an action plan for the safety of her and her daughters, so that fear and anxiety would not control their lives. After working with her therapist to discover her strengths and abilities, Sarah enrolled in Dental Hygienist School. She participated in group sessions where she learned interviewing techniques. A case manager provided professional clothes for her to wear to interviews. After graduating, she was hired as a dental hygienist and is now able to support herself and her two daughters.
Stephanie's mom was a drug addict. She realized that she couldn't care for her daughter, so her sister adopted the 13-year old girl. Stephanie had a hard time adjusting to her new home. She was constantly arguing with family and teachers. She refused to listen to anyone. Her aunt called the Child & Family Center for help.
For the first 3 months in therapy, Stephanie refused to speak. When asked a question, she just shrugged her shoulders in silence. Finally she started to open up and began to trust her therapist. She talked about why she was so angry and why she acted out. She discovered that she was deathly afraid of being abandoned by her aunt, as she felt she had been by her mother.
Stephanie continued her therapy for four years. During that time, her behavior improved dramatically. She got along with her family and teachers. Her failing grades were now received A's and B's. She learned how to communicate her feelings. She even got a job, which seemed impossible when she first came to the Center.
Stephanie recently graduated high school and has plans for college and a career goal. Through therapy she's gained the coping skills to address anything that comes her way.