Patty had an anxiety attack at school. She didn’t know what was happening but felt major pressure in her chest and anxiousness pulsing through her body. She told her school counselor about it and explained that she wanted to kill herself because she was so afraid. She met with a counselor at her school for a brief series of therapy sessions and was referred to Western Youth Services for family therapy that included sessions with her father, mother and sister.
During family therapy with our WYS Counselor, each member of the family learned new ways to communicate that encouraged Patty to work toward recovery. Patty learned some mindset techniques that included changing her thinking and self-talk to say phrases like “I feel overwhelmed” rather than “I want to kill myself”. Her parents realized they had high expectations of Patty and were placing too many demands on her. They worked together as a family to create a plan and then took one step at a time on their plan to help problem solve.
One of the things they uncovered together, was Patty’s desire to be more independent. She had fears and uncertainty about how to do that. Her mother helped Patty by taking her to the bus station on the weekend and letting her take the bus with her sister while she waited for them several blocks away. After practicing this task and increasing the distance each time, Patty was able to get onto the school bus alone, use her learned coping skills for anxiety, and now regularly rides the bus to and from school.
After feeling successful in this one area, Patty learned to use her coping skills in other areas of her life, increasing her confidence and independence. With the skills she learned at WYS and the support of her family, Patty slowly built the ability to face her fears.