Therapy Helps Teen Get Back on Track 

Therapy Helps Teen Get Back on Track 

Sixteen-year-old Maya* was not attending high school on a regular basis. With her parents separated, the oldest of four became quite isolated and spent many hours online. She had very little contact with people outside of social media.  

Maya’s mother contacted JCFS Chicago’s Response for Teens to get help for her daughter, specifically to address the underlying reasons and causes for her social isolation and refusal to go to school. Maya started meeting with a therapist, who was able to engage her so that she felt connected, safe and understood, said David Lipschutz, Director of Response for Teens. 

“Once that foundation was set, (Maya) started to disclose anxieties around her future,” David said. “There’s a history in her family of people not doing very well after graduating high school, so she was worried she was going to end up like other family members who weren’t very successful or weren’t able to attend college and find their way in life.” Maya’s therapist also helped her uncover feelings she harbored about witnessing arguments between her parents.  

“The therapist helped her develop some understanding of how upsetting those arguments were and how they were impacting her life,” David said. “By doing that, (Maya) was able to get some emotional psychological distance from the past and start attending school on a more consistent basis.”   

David underscored how foundational this work is. The type of treatment provided by Response gives teens a place to heal, recover and resume development. Resuming development is at the core of this teenager’s experience at Response. 

Once she was going to school more often, Maya’s therapist collaborated with her school support team, which included a social worker and a teacher who was a mentor. The therapist worked with them to help Maya feel more connected and valued as a student at the school, David said. “It helped her self-esteem,” he added.  

Maya’s case also helped more students get help through Response. 

“The school really appreciated our work and to this day makes referrals to us,” David said. “They’ve seen the work we do, and they really find it valuable and helpful to their student population.” 

*Name changed for anonymity