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The Power of Family Therapy

May 23, 2018

A Clinician’s Story of A Family Reconnecting

I began seeing “Emily” in 2015 after some difficult years in her life. Emily has a history of leaving her children for months and going on spending sprees and was incarcerated for a while in another state. During that time her kids lived with their dad and step mom. Emily’s 3 children stopped talking to her because of her not being there for them and feeling she was dishonest.

In sessions, we talked a lot about her guilt and her desire to re-establish a relationship with her kids and her sister.  She had not talked to either in about 7 years. She would get an occasional reply to her texts to her son, but her daughters did not reply.  I asked her to write letters to her kids and Emily was very hesitant about the idea. Eventually, she agreed and in about two weeks he texted her to thank her for the letter.  I asked Emily to ask her son to join us in a session, and again she was hesitant. I told her the worst thing that can happen is that he says no, and it might be the start of something better. She sent her son a text to join us for a family session, but he was not ready to talk at that time. A few months passed and she tried again, and at last he responded that he would join us.  I was thrilled that by the end of our session, there was a desire on both sides for the relationship to continue.   

Over the next few weeks Emily and her son were talking a lot more and they began going out to lunch together. She decided to write a letter to her daughter as well, who then agreed to meet, and eventually start forming a relationship.   

During this difficult time Emily’s son was getting married. Originally, he was not going to invite Emily because he did not think everyone else would be happy with her being at the wedding. After careful consideration he changed his mind. Emily went to the wedding and everyone was pleasant towards her.  Now, many of those relationships are mended and communication has become much more regular.

 Emily and her daughter now talk every day. They talk in the morning to say hello to one another and often send each other quotes about mother/daughter love. They call each other to say goodnight every evening.

It has been a joy to be part of their success and watch new relationships form.