I started working at CALM March 2013.
I am a Spanish speaking Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and primary do Therapy with (Great Beginnings Program/Early Specialty Mental Health) 2-5 age group. I also work with kids who have experienced physical and sexual abuse.
Little “Jose” came to therapy at 4 years old. He had witnessed domestic violence (DV) between parents. His mother was determined to leave the violent situation exposing Jose to a high conflict relationship and his father’s substance use. We started working with Jose and his mother, talking about what domestic violence is and creating a safety plan. Jose’s father wanted to continue contact with his mother. Jose’s mother obtained a restraining order and his father continued to violate it. A co-worker of mine became involved in case due Jose’s exposure to DV. Working together we were able to assist family in connecting with resources, advocating for safety, and getting his mother individual assistance. Jose would come to therapy weekly to talk/draw/play what he had witnessed, how his family changed, missing his father, safety planning, and most importantly, to reduce his trauma related symptoms. Jose was displaying aggression, had a difficult time following his mother’s requests, and calming himself down when upset. Jose would get easily startled when hearing loud noises/yelling and had night terrors. At the end of treatment, Jose was engaging in conflict free play, listening to mother, using coping skills to calm down, and sleeping at night without night terrors. Jose missed his father. In treatment, he was able to process his feelings of loss, and able to understand the situation in an age appropriate way. His mother was well connected with resources and is attempting to provide Jose with a safe, stable, and loving home. The family was supported through our services during this difficult time.
Every family situation is different. The cycle of violence can be ended. Jose and his mom were brave, had several resources, and working collaboratively we assisted this family.
If I could do one thing to make kids lives better, I would continue doing what I am doing. Being a strong advocate in the community, speaking up against violence, providing a safe place for children to express their feelings, thoughts, and help improve their home, school, and social functioning.
To not be afraid to pick up the phone and call for services. We all need help, and CALM has several family services to help improve the lives of children affected by parent’s high conflict relationships, or any other type of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual).