Family Therapy

Family therapy is a wonderful supportive tool I use to help balance my life as a single parent. It benefits both my son and myself by teaching us to communicate, with each other as well as those around us. Matters which might have been difficult to manae in the past, are now dealt with in a more organized, non destrtuctive manner.

The releationship between my sons father and myself was never healthy. As teenagers, we brought our son into the world without thinking about the future in a realistic light. Our releationship was both mentally and physically abusive, destructive to myself and my son. I left his father when he was two, and didnít seek his support until my son began having behavioral problems in and out of school. My son was very angry, taking out his frustrations on schoolmates and teachers, verbally arguing, phycically fighting. I felt that my sons problems were rooted from his fathers lack of involvement, for he had not seen him for nearly five years. His father was never dependable, and I felt that did more harm thant good for my son. I sought family therapy to reintrouduce my son to his father, with hopes to incorporate him into my sons life once again. Given we didnít communicate well with one another, I thought a therapist could help us to work through our differences for the sake of our son and establish a commitment for his father to enter his life again. Several years prior, I was referred to The Family Institute at Northwestern University by a victim witness counselor at the Evanston Police Department. I never called, but kept the card for future reference. My sons behavior problems at school were growing worse, and discipline was not working. I believed my parenting was not enough and thought he needed his father, regardless of my feelings toward him.I contacted the Family Institute, and did an interview over the phone with a counselor before our initial appointment. The therapists there workied on a sliding scale, and I qualified as a low income patient, which made it more affordable to attend weekly sessions.

My first appointment was with a young female therapist, and I went alone, without my son and shis father to give background information as to why I was seeking therapy. We discussed my reasons for coming, and the goals I wished to pursue. She made me feel comfortable, not asking too much, allowing for me to direct the pace of the conversation. We agreed on what we would discuss at the next session, with my sons father, and move on from there. His father reluctantly agreed to come to the session. We sat face to face between the therapist and with her help, wrote a list of rules we would follow in order to keep peace and allow my son to spend time with him. We agreed we would meet for thre sessions without our son, before he would join in. That was the lat time I saw his father.

At our next session I showed up alone, and my therapist Sara, and I discussed his fathers absence. I learned that by by testing his commitment to therapy, I was also testing his dedication to our son. Rather thant disappointing our son by not showing up for a visit, he only disappointed himself by not being able to follow through with a promise. I protected my sons feelings by using therapy as a means for reentering his life. My son never knew that his father didnít show up for the session, and in turn was not hurt. I continued to see Sara and brought my son. Every week we made a trip on the L to Evanston. My son liked Sara. She was young, compassionate and spirited. Christian was the focus of our sessions, talking to him about school, and his behavior. At this time my son was in second grade, and demonstrating signs of attention deficit disorder. His teacher was urging me to have him tested and I was leery. I felt that Christian was just an active child, not a ďproblemĒ child.