Veronica was just two years old when she was referred to The Guidance Center for therapy. She had been removed from her mother and placed in foster care due to allegations of neglect. Veronica was malnourished, and her previous living environment was deemed unsuitable for her well-being. When she was reunified with her mother, Jessica, after time spent in foster care, her social worker and mother noted many concerning behaviors that warranted an evaluation for therapy. Veronica would often scream, act physically aggressive, and destroy objects in the home.
Jessica was a young, first-time mother. She explained that she loved Veronica very much, and was devastated when she was removed from her care. Jessica wanted to be a good mother, but she lacked the tools and skills needed to create a safe, structured home environment. Jessica had her own challenges as well. She had a history of substance abuse and was a victim of domestic violence. She did not have the education or experience to obtain a job. She told Linda that she would do whatever it took be the mother that Veronica needed in her life.
Whenever possible, it is highly recommended that parents be involved in their child’s therapy. Even though Veronica was no longer living with her mother, Linda advocated for Jessica to be actively involved in Veronica’s treatment. The social worker agreed, and Linda suggested the Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) model – a behavior-based, family-oriented therapy designed to help improve the parent-child relationship through interaction – be utilized in order to address Veronica’s disruptive behaviors, teach Jessica appropriate parenting skills, and improve the parent-child relationship through strengthening their attachment. When Jessica learned about the PCIT model, she immediately expressed motivation and commitment to being involved.
Over the next 18 months, the clinician worked with Veronica and Jessica using the PCIT model. Initially, Jessica had some difficulty understanding and implementing the interventions introduced during therapy. However, even when she became frustrated, she never gave up. Linda utilized creative tactics to help Jessica grasp the parenting concepts and techniques being taught, and this helped tremendously. Jessica began mastering various interventions such as praising, reflecting, and describing Veronica’s behavior. Veronica was highly receptive to her mother’s new way of communicating with her and attending to her needs. As a result, Veronica began to understand her mother’s directions and the consequences of her own actions. Veronica was affection and playful with her mother. Jessica utilized the skills learned in therapist and quickly gained confidence in her parenting abilities.
As Jessica bonded with Veronica, their attachment grew more than ever. This motivated Jessica to make several positive changes in her life. She completed all of the requirements set by the court, and stopped using substances completely. Jessica eventually moved out of the sober living and secured her own apartment. Her commitment and hard work paid off. Veronica and Jessica now live in a loving, safe home together.
Linda assisted Jessica in requesting an IEP through the school district. Veronica is now in preschool, which she enjoys very much. Recently, Veronica graduated from treatment having successfully completed the entire PCIT model and met her treatment goals. Veronica and her mother now have a very close, secure relationship. Veronica continues to be compliant with her mother’s directives, and her dangerous behaviors have all been eliminated.
Veronica is a happy, thriving three-year-old girl, living with her confident, healthy mother. They tell us that they’re the happiest they have ever been, and are incredibly proud of how far they have both come.