We are honored to be part of so many personal stories of healing.
Here are a few to highlight the courage and hope of our clients:
An Emotional Wake-Up Call for One Man
Mark is a single dad in his 30s with an unresolved history of anxiety and depression. He ignored his needs until he was required to come to counseling as part of an Operating While Intoxicated charge he received (his first). The OWI was a wake-up call for him. Mark had constant worried thoughts, and was very guarded at the start of therapy, being careful of his word choices and only referencing that bad things happened in his life, but he did not want to address them.
Mark has a good job in the construction industry, but work like that does not come with health insurance. His therapist at Foundations has included both mental health and addiction in his treatment plan. Mark quickly connected with his therapist, and he is invested in the process. His young son as his primary motivator to be healthy and stable. He is addressing the physical abuse that he incurred at the hands of his own father, and how that has impacted his mental health and alcohol use. He told his therapist that, while he is ashamed of the OWI, he is glad that he got a wake-up call to address his own mental health and his son’s future.
Finding Dignity after Divorce
At 25, Amy was the mother of two young children who had divorced from her husband. She felt alone and unsure of her worth. After discovering Foundations, Amy was grateful for the opportunity to receive therapy even without insurance. Her therapist worked with her on her own validation and feeling of importance. She was able to come to terms with the loss of her marriage, and learned to look toward the future with excitement.
Amy is now in her 30’s with a career she enjoys. She still returns to therapy as part of her self-care routine to get through the highs and lows of life. “I am a better mother, friend, and employee because of therapy,” she says.
From Homeless to Hopeful
Freddie came to see the onsite therapist from Foundations at a local shelter. He had been struggling with depression, as it was his first time experiencing homelessness after the recent loss of his brother. Freddie reported trouble sleeping, frequent crying, and thoughts of suicide. He broke down crying in the therapist’s office. His therapist assures him that crying is not a sign of weakness, but a symbol of his values. For months, Freddie attended weekly sessions with his therapist. His mood gradually improved, and then he suddenly stopped attending therapy. Freddie came back to a therapy session a month later, and was overjoyed to share his new sense of pride. “I wanted to come back to thank you and show you how I look with my pride back!” He had found employment and an apartment, in large part because of the inner work he had accomplished in therapy.
Healing Through Group Art
At one of our satellite mental health clinics embedded at homeless shelters, one shelter resident in her early 60s has been attending the group therapy provided by a Foundations therapist consistently for some time. The client is chronically homeless, and this is the most stable she has been in her adulthood. For the first time in her adult life, she recently transitioned to transitional living associated with the shelter. The consistency of group therapy has been an incredibly successful support for her in her transition to eventual stable housing. The Foundations therapist and shelter staff work together engage her in a structured program. She is a role model for other residents to attend the group consistently. Therapy using art is an important tool for our therapists and clients. Art helps client communicate through their emotions and barriers. It helps clients gain insight into themselves, and helps with emotional regulation.
Getting Unstuck After a Suicide Attempt
Joan is single mom of four children who came to Foundations after attempting suicide for the second time. Joan is a hard-working woman, who lost her job to circumstances beyond her control. When she started counseling, she was extremely guarded, with stuffed emotions, and gave her therapist yes or no answers. Joan did not have a good experience in therapy before, so she was reluctant to start again. She has classic depression with low self-esteem, deep sadness most days, and feelings of hopelessness. One item that stood out to the therapist is how physically rigid she was during counseling sessions. She sat straight as a board, looking tense and pained.
After 5 sessions, she broke free, opened up, cried, came to trust the process of healing. She is starting to love herself, and express herself. Joan and her Foundations therapist are working on coping skills, which Joan practices between counseling sessions. Over the coming months, they plan to unpack and address her childhood abuse.
Joan sees the value in therapy. She went from repeating words like “I’m stuck” to “I can do this”. She updated her resume, and has a part-time job. She is using exercise as a coping skill, taking a walk almost every day. Now Joan sits comfortably in the chair in her therapist’s office, and her body appears calm and comfortable.
Breaking the Language and Cultural Barriers to Healing
At our main clinic, one of our therapists started working with a teen client, 15 years old, two months ago. Her trauma history includes sexual abuse as a child. She struggles with anxiety and panic in groups, trouble breathing, cry, tense, sweaty, overwhelmed, and nauseous. She felt anxious when she was not in control. She had symptoms of sadness when she had reminders of trauma. She struggled in school, and have trouble sleeping, irritable, low energy, low motivation and trouble concentrating. Her mom doesn’t have health insurance that covers mental health therapy. Our Foundations therapist works with her individually, as well as with mother individually to help mom understand her daughter’s trauma effects and how she can assist daughter in coping. Due to language barriers, our therapist uses interpreter services when working with the client’s mom. Working with the teen client, our therapist has been using Brainspotting therapy interventions to work on her specific fear drowning while swimming. Two weeks after the first Brainspotting session, the teen went swimming, enjoyed it after having some fears and physical reactions, used the coping skills she worked on with her Foundations therapist. The client is excited about the possibility of going swimming again, and is doing the tough work to persevere through her trauma.
One of our child therapists works with a 9-year boy from Laos. While the child speaks both English and Hmong, the mom only speaks Hmong and is taking ESL classes. In this case, an interpreter is critical to developing trust with the mom, who is a single parent. The interpreter waits until the mom is finished speaking before interpreting for the therapist, so the therapist can focus on the body language of both the mom and the client. The interpreter helps provide cultural context and reduces layered stigma associated with both mental illness in general and any cultural barriers that exist. Without this interpretation service, some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in our community would go without mental health care.
What stories of HEALING can you help us create?
Note: Personal information has been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.