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Restoring Peace Between Mother and Daughter

Clara and her mom had a volatile relationship. During their first therapy session, Clara, 15, physically attacked her 34-year-old mother. But the therapist didn’t give up. She continued to engage them in Family Functional Therapy despite their fights, and kept showing them her commitment to make things better.

Gradually, both Clara and her mother opened up. They talked about the underlying issues and traumas that were fueling their conflict. Even though they accused each other of causing pain, they listened when the therapist pointed out where their pain overlapped. Clara and her mother agreed to try to fix their relationship. Here’s how:

The therapist was able to get them to work on communication skills such as negotiating with each other and validating each other’s feelings. In time, they began to feel they were heard and understood by one another. The therapist also introduced them to emotional regulation and coping skills to cool down when their arguments got hot. In time, the physical altercations during therapy sessions ceased.

But there was other work to do.

Clara was a heavy user of drugs and alcohol, and ran away from home for weeks at a time. She seldom attended school. Our educational advocate helped Clara enroll in a credit recovery school, where she was able to complete the coursework for eighth grade so she could begin high school. This was another major accomplishment.

Thanks to treatment, Clara no longer runs away and has stopped using drugs and alcohol. She shares that she finally felt she can be open with her mother, who finds she can express her concerns to Clara, yet still support her. There are still some physical and verbal fights at home, but for the most part, they use their communications skills to keep the peace.