John: Better Beginnings

John was referred to Better Beginnings after being diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and bi-polar disorders. He left his apartment very infrequently. John’s psychiatrist provided him with medication, but he had been unable to leave home for therapy. John is married, and he and his wife have a son, Jack, who is in kindergarten.

At first, John was unsure about his desire for change. On the one hand, John felt safe living within the confines of his agoraphobia. On the other hand, he knew how his behavior limited his ability to be the father he wanted to be. In therapy, John became more mindful of his thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions. He became aware of how his illness was “robbing” him of his freedom and impacting his ability to be a father. Gradually, John began to expand his world. The week before our therapy ended, John took his son to a park which was several blocks from home. He was able to savor and delight in his ability to be free and to have fun.

John benefited greatly from the work of the Better Beginnings early childhood specialist who also came to the home weekly. Her work involved engaging both mother and father in play activities with their son. She provided a safe forum for conversations about parenting, discipline and child development, and provided John with another trustworthy adult with whom he could safely explore his difficulties around parenting.

Additionally, John’s wife, who had struggled with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years, chose to engage in therapy. Her mental health improved throughout the course of therapy. With therapy, she became more consistent with limit-setting and playing with her son. Before this family ended services with the program, they were connected with agencies where they could receive out-patient therapy. They benefited greatly from the comprehensive, family-focused, in-home expertise that Better Beginnings staff provided.