Christie, a 17-Year-Old Boarding School Student Demonstrating Self-Harming Behavior
Christie began struggling during her winter semester in a California boarding school. She had been missing classes, demonstrated self-harming behavior, specifically cutting, and confided in having suicidal thoughts. At one point, the school administration and medical staff became so concerned they had her hospitalized for several days. Her parents rushed out to see her and were determined that they find an appropriate program to address her issues.
They had been told about the Connections program and how it provided support throughout the week in addition to traditional therapy sessions, but were hesitant to pull her out of school. After discussions with Connections staff, it was decided to attempt Christie’s therapy virtually at first. Through virtual sessions, Christie received her weekly individual therapy and family therapy as well as having her coaches check in with her several times a week at school. The coaches helped her organize her life, her planner/schedule and manage other daily life activities. Her personal trainer instructed her virtually two times per week, primarily in yoga.
During her first month in the program, Christie suffered a setback where she went into an acute depression, including suicidal thoughts, over a breakup with a boyfriend. She was sent to the hospital once again. The Connections team provided immediate remedial action, giving her daily virtual sessions until the depression moderated.
When Christie returned to school, she was very far behind. With overall organization and schedule-keeping being part of her challenges, the Connections counselor assigned to her spent the bulk of her time going over Christie’s to-do list and putting together a workable schedule. Christie even gave her access to her student portal on the school’s website so the counselor could keep track of assignments and due dates. Additionally, Christie’s coach put her through mindfulness training where she practiced deep breathing exercises and meditation to overcome stress and depressive spells.
When Christie returned home for her one month winter break, she began visiting her therapists and coaches in-person. Thankfully, her depression and sense of loss over her boyfriend had subsided. One of her coaches gave her an assignment to write a research paper on her experiences to simulate the school environment, deepen her understanding of depression and improve her working habits.
Once back at school, after another two months of virtual therapy and meetings with her coaches and trainer, Christie had demonstrated enough positive change so that the Connections program, in consultation with her parents, decided that Christie was making significant enough progress. Consequently, her program was ratcheted down moderately.
*All therapy sessions are 45 minutes and personal training sessions are 30 minutes. Coaching sessions is an hour. Family sessions are an hour.