Isabella was angry. In her 17 years, she had witnessed domestic violence in her home many times. She was the victim of frequent abuse from her own father throughout her childhood. She would throw items at walls or people, flip tables, scream and yell at others and threaten to hurt herself or others. It was the only way she knew how to cope.
She often had suicidal thoughts and had attempted suicide multiple times. She felt hopeless and had crying episodes. She had intense feelings of guilt and shame regarding her relationship with her father, who was in prison.
During their therapy sessions, Isabella and her therapist Theresa were able to discuss her experiences. Together they made a “coping skills toolbox” giving her alternate ways to express her feelings. They role-played using an empty chair so she could process her feelings toward her father. During family sessions, Monica and Isabella’s mother practiced communication skills by expressing praise.
After several months of therapy, Isabella is now able to self-regulate her emotions, has built a solid support system and is able to use healthy coping skills when feeling angry and upset. She is finally able to move forward with recovery from memories of abuse.