Client presented with symptoms of PTSD, high emotions in the family, and maladaptive communication patterns. Cara* was sad and irritated most days, quick to be angry or cry, emotional, defensive, oppositional, and argumentative with others, most especially her husband. She complained that her husband always puts his family before her and their child, that she has suffered through being ignored, minimized, humiliated, and shamed by his family for years while he was away working in another country. She was recently laid off from work to reorganize the company as it was recently acquired.
Their now adult son relocated several months ago on a new assignment with the Navy. Cara would come individually, and sometimes with her husband, Bong* to her therapy sessions with Arlene Kauffman. Bong reported being torn by responsibilities to his family of origin and his own family. After years of conflict, he told his wife and his family members to never engage with each other. Cara was heartbroken not to be included in his family's affairs, their child confused, and Bong felt both angry and sad that all of his loved ones were not able to work things out.
Ms. Kauffman worked with Cara to address the stress from being laid off and the transition to an empty nest, how these events may have triggered past feelings of being helpless, having no control, and the hurt of being told and treated as insignificant. She was able to have Cara recognize her worth and contribution to the family, lean on her support system, and improve the manner in which Cara communicates with others. Ms. Kauffman also helped husband and wife improve their relations by replacing faulty learning patterns and habits with more loving, purposeful actions.
*not clients' actual names