July 7, 2015
A Family & Children’s Place therapist’s story: About two years ago, I began working with a young
man in school-based therapy. He had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and was disruptive in class. With support from his school, which included school-based therapy and help from his pediatrician with medication, he was able to control his behavior and excel academically. Everyone was pleased. Then, a couple of months ago, his mother called to ask if I would see her son for some anxiety related issues surrounding visits with his father. For the last eight or nine months, the boy had refused to see his father, so a judge ordered family therapy with the father and she asked for me specifically because her son and I had a prior relationship. The mother was very resistant to the child seeing his father, out of maternal protection, but she knew her son was comfortable with me and would be more relaxed in family therapy because of our bond. Over three weeks of family therapy, I witnessed an estranged father and his son reconnect. The mother saw changes in her son, too, reporting he seemed happy after their family therapy sessions. The boy was able to share his feelings and concerns with his dad, and his father was receptive. The father apologized and discussed how he planned to be a better parent going forward. I was amazed to watch their relationship grow and to see them reconnect, and the boy just came back from his first overnight visit with his father, saying that he had fun and was comfortable with his dad. It is a privilege to be a part of this family’s happy ending.