Below is an interview with a real family who received services at The Center for Effective Therapy. Under the guidance of Sarah Gurney, one of our expert providers, the family was able to tackle a case of youth depression.
What do you like best about Sarah Gurney? How did she make the experience helpful for you?
While I was taking sessions with Sarah, I found that she not only helped me open up with my feelings and experiences, but she dived deeper into causes of these feelings and alternative paths to take. Sarah made each session count by introducing new strategies and coping mechanisms that were specific to what I was feeling in these moments
How has your life changed since seeing Sarah Gurney?
My life has changed in so many ways since the beginning of when I started taking sessions with Sarah. In the start, I found myself sad even when it was a fun situation and it truly felt like I wouldn't make it out of the bubble I was in. I have grown so much since then. Working with Sarah, I got to see strategies for the moments that I was at my lowest and they worked. My mood is so much better and I'm actually able to enjoy myself now. This could not have happened without Sarah.
What would you say to other kids and teens that are struggling with the same things you did?
Don't be afraid to speak up about your feelings. Go to someone that you trust and tell them what is on your mind. Sitting in silence with your thoughts trapped in your mind is a feeling that is horrible, so speak up. Find help and find at least one person to talk to, whether it's a therapist, a parent, a teacher or guidance counselor or even a close friend. Trust me when I say that will make you feel so much better. Secondly, believe that things will be better. The hard days will come, but they will also pass. You will find your happiness.
What made you want to contact The Baker Center?
Our daughter had hit a level of sadness that we no longer knew how to deal with as parents. She was having major trouble responding to social disappointments, regulating her emotions in response to negative situations, and at times, seemed incapable of pulling herself out of her negative moods. She was suffering from emotional outbursts that we did not understand and the strategies that we once successfully used to comfort our daughter seemed ineffective. As a result, she began isolating herself from us. At this point, we knew we needed to seek help.
How did Sarah Gurney make you as a parent feel seen and heard?
We had the opportunity to check in with Sarah Gurney at the end of every one of our daughter's sessions. Sarah began each of our meetings by asking us how things were going that week -- she allowed the time and safe space to speak honestly about our daughter's status and our experience navigating her that week. Put simply, Sarah is an unbelievable listener. She made us feel comfortable sharing absolutely any aspect of our week -- the good, the bad and the ugly! And, most importantly, Sarah used the information we shared each week to formulate specific strategies to help our daughter progress. Sarah would listen and present strategies on the spot that were so on point and a clear indication that we were heard. We legitimately watched our daughter transform into an emotionally mature teen before our very eyes.
Through a series of strategies, our daughter learned to regulate her emotions on her own and we feel confident she now has the tools to continue to do so into adulthood. Specifically, Sarah introduced understandable cognitive coping skills that helped our daughter assess her negative thoughts for accuracy and skills for engaging in more positive activities when she was disappointed or upset. Sarah also presented methods for effectively communicating feelings -- which served to decrease our daughter's emotional outbursts and resulted in more positive interactions with both us and her peers. At the end of each session, we would receive a handout that summarized the skills that they discussed so that we could continue to work on them at home. Over time and through repetition, we watched our daughter learn to regulate her own emotions. And, I genuinely believe that our daughter will benefit from the skills she learned throughout her life. We can't thank Sarah enough for everything she has done for our daughter and our family!