Jason, an 8-year-old attending Vena Avenue Elementary School, has emerged as a success story in the realm of mental health services. Living with his mother, siblings, and stepfather in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriages, Jason faced challenges that manifested in aggressive behaviors both at home and school. However, through the Step Care Program and the dedicated efforts of Mental Health Clinician (MHC) Valdez, Jason’s journey took a positive turn.
Initially referred to mental health services by his school due to displays of aggression, Jason began therapy sessions in May 2023. Diagnosed with Dysthymic Disorder by MHC Valdez, Jason’s mother reported the divorce had significantly impacted him, leading to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and low self-esteem. School staff observed disobedience, aggression, and tantrums, painting a challenging picture for Jason.
Under the guidance of his therapist Valdez, Jason’s progress has been remarkable. Establishing open communication with Jason’s teacher and mother, Valdez formed a cohesive treatment team. Despite initial barriers such as focus issues and tantrums, Valdez employed play therapy, arts and crafts activities, and games to help Jason express his feelings about the divorce and address behavioral challenges.
As therapy sessions continued, Jason developed a strong rapport with his therapist Valdez, enabling discussions about his emotions, the impact of divorce, and school-related hurdles. Interventions extended beyond the office, involving Jason’s mother in the process. Assigning homework that focused on spending quality time, Valdez contributed to a positive shift in the mother-son relationship.
The results are evident in Jason’s reduced aggressive behaviors, improved ability to identify and discuss feelings, and decreased frequency and duration of tantrums. With progress continuing, Jason is on track to be discharged in the next 2-3 months. His success story showcases the transformative power of mental health services and the collaborative efforts of dedicated professionals and involved family members.