Success Story #1
Meet Maria*(Name of client has been changed for confidentiality reasons), a married client in her early 30’s. She had four children and was a healthy and happy stay at home mother and wife. She had a traumatic fall and found herself in the emergency room of the hospital in critical condition. The result of the trauma was kidney failure. When she was stabilized and returned home, she began to suffer Agoraphobia (a fear of leaving your environment/home). She became a fearful mom. She also found that she had a strong aversion to being touched. She did not even want to touch herself. She was always guarding herself from any form of touch from her husband, four children, family and friends. The Agoraphobia made her a prisoner in her own home. Her Agoraphobia became so severe and traumatic; she would not put her hand on the doorknob. Even to the backdoor, which lay her beautifully manicured garden, which was a hobby of hers. The Agoraphobia and strong aversion to being touched by others and herself lasted a few months. She finally agreed to therapy, although it was not successful. She saw other clinicians and each session left her more alone and fearful. She found Family Service of Napa in 2012. She began to develop trust with her therapist from Family Service. She gradually learned to touch herself. She was able to open the door to her backyard and gradually want out into her garden. She was always good at understanding her boundaries, and would say at the end of each session, that is all she can handle. After her second session, she continued to trust her therapist and herself, she walked outside in front of her house to the street. During her third session, she crossed the street, and after her fourth session, she went to the children’s school for the first time in months. She began owning herself and her space. One year after her traumatic accident, her fears of touch were finally gone she was able to hug her husband and children again, and herself. She was no longer a prisoner in her own home.
Success Story #2
The client was 54 years old when he came to Family Service of Napa for couple’s therapy. His life was spinning out of control. He became an abusive husband and father, and an alcoholic. His children wouldn’t speak to him and his wife was ready to leave him. He grew up in Mexico the oldest of a large family. He suffered repetitive physical and mental abuse from his father who was an alcoholic and couldn’t hold a job. He had tried therapy two other times during low points of his life to seek help. Neither attempt was successful. He came to Family Service of Napa for couple’s therapy. He had become severely depressed and was excused from his job. He came seeking couple’s therapy, but due to his high levels of depression, one-on-one therapy was recommended for him. He began to realize for the first time that he withdrew from his family, because he didn’t feel he deserved them because he was so abusive to them and the alcohol. After 40 years his life began to unfold as he began to re-live his childhood. This was the first time his story would be told, since he left Mexico to come to the US at 14 years old. For over 40 years he hadn’t shared his traumatic childhood to his wife, children, friends, co-workers, no one had heard his traumatic childhood story come from his lips, even himself! The Family Service of Napa therapist had nine sessions with him. During the last session he said to his therapist “You are my angel and I will remember you for the rest of my life.” He also told his therapist, “When I came to Family Service of Napa, I came carrying a cross, and I am leaving without it!
Success Story #3
Victoria *(Name of client has been changed for confidentiality reasons), a young mother came to Mentis to find healing from trauma and suffering caused by her husband's abusive behavior. She lived in constant fear of her husband, feeling watched and unsafe at all times. Even after he had been arrested and placed in jail, she still didn't feel safe in her own home.
She recalls the day police arrived at her home to arrest her husband. Her 6 year old son witnessed it all; he remained confused for a long time. He constantly asked questions about his father; where was he? When would he be back? Was he going to make it for his birthday? Victoria thought it best not to tell him the truth due to his age. During the year after her husband's arrest, her son became angry, resentful, and even abusive towards her. He blamed his mother for his father being taken away and for not being present in his life; causing her more pain.
Victoria heard about Mentis from a friend and decided to contact us for help. Through initial sessions with her Mentis therapist, it was clear that Victoria was suffering from acute trauma. She began therapy a bit apprehensive, not knowing exactly how to speak about the abuse she had endured. Her therapist used animal assisted therapy as part of Victoria's healing process. Bringing a trained dog into a therapy session creates an environment that is affectionate, responsive, unconditionally accepting and nonjudgmental. Victoria gradually opened up and felt more comfortable talking about the abuse she experienced and the pain it had caused both her and her children.
During the sessions, her therapist was able to help Victoria overcome her constant fear and increase her self-esteem. She was able to get some help for her son and discuss with him the truth about his father. Now she is on a path to a better life for herself and her children. She has a new job, was able to purchase a car, has more money, a new, safe home and lastly, she no longer has nightmares.
Success Story #4
Jessica *(Name of client has been changed for confidentiality reasons), a woman living with mental disabilities came to Mentis in search of a program that could help her start and maintain a healthier and more stable life away from abuse, drugs, violence and homelessness she lived through as an adult.
She grew up highly dependent on her family, especially her mother. She was diagnosed bipolar, borderline IQ and didn’t function well, her mother was her protector – always keeping her under her wing. But unfortunately her mother’s death caused Jessica to lose control of her life, making her feel completely lost and alone.
Jessica began a series of physically and emotionally abusive relationships in which she hoped to receive the same kind of love and protection her mother gave to her. She became addicted to drugs and homeless in addition to trying to manage her disabilities.
Through time, Jessica was able to reach the point where she wanted change for herself in order to live a healthier and more stable life. She decided to do all she possibly could to meet the standards to be accepted into Mentis’ housing program. With the guidance and assistance from the Housing Program Manager, Jessica was accepted and began living in Mentis’ supported housing. She was given the structure she desperately needed and could not get anywhere else.
After 1 year, she showed a lot of progress by learning to socialize, learning to live more independently and learning to develop individual treatment. She continued to receive psychological support, case management and learned to build her independent living skills.
Now, several years have gone by and Jessica has demonstrated dramatic improvement, milestones to say the least. She is living a healthier and more stable life: she is sober, more social, learned to live independently, has reconnected with her family, has gotten a stable job, and moved into a new independent apartment.
In a sense, Mentis became Jessica’s secure base, the place she turns to when she needs to feel safe. Mentis has given Jessica a similar comfort and feeling of love and protection she felt when her mother was by her side. All in all Jessica is doing fantastic, living life and doing things she never thought she could do because of Mentis Supportive Housing Programs!