Family and Children Center Counseling and Developing Services, is a place where several people can come to of or when they’re in need of help, whether voluntary or involuntary. Sometimes all they need is someone who will take the time to listen, and understand what they’re going through. That’s what the therapist and employees of F&CC aim to do.
When you walk in The Family and Children Center in South Bend, you may first hear the laughter of the employees and clients, or it just may be a day when everyone is stressed out and tired, just ready for their head to meet their pillows.
This the case on that Wednesday night as therapist Michelle Haas prepared for her final therapy session of the night.
Michelle had just come from a cigarette break with her coworker. Smoking seems to relieve them for a small period of time. The two women quickly smoked their cigarettes as they discussed the events that took place earl that evening, as well as other coworker. Realizing that their two minutes had quickly come to an end, the two quickly rushed back to their offices.
Michelle exited her office five minutes later headed towards the waiting room. She’s tired and stressed from the long day. Once she opens the door her frown seems to disappear and a smile comes in its place. She’s greeted by 7 of her ‘favorite’ clients who had at one time or another been accused of being substance abusers.
“How was your week, did anyone have any triggers or relapses?” Michelle asked the group. A woman in her mid-thirties did. We’ll call her Aubrey; she talked of how she lost her 6 and a half daughter to ex-boyfriend. She was supposed to get her back, but it’s hard for her to gain custody now due to her previous issues with substance abuse, which was led on because she was in a horrific accident
Michelle is hurt and sad as the woman vents about her everyday life drama, custody battles and court days. The woman then takes a picture out of her daughter and passes it around. There is a bit of a moment of silence. The other clients gave Aubrey what seemed liked thousands of encouraging words, once she admitted giving up faith.
To put a smile on everyone’s face James decided to make a joke, a change the mood when the time is right. Michelle laughed and talked to her clients as if they were old friends. Michelle talked about her job and the stresses of it just as her clients did. This opens up her clients more.
“I like this groups, it’s a breath of fresh air”Michelle seems to be feeling better now than before her group arrived.
Another girl; Amber who is in her early twenties is the group for smoking marijuana. She too had custody battles when it came to her daughters. She explains to Michelle that she has several relapses and triggers because of drama with her ‘babydady.’ Michelle and the other give Amber kind words and encouragement to keep her moving. This is basically what counseling there is about. Not only do they seek help from they’re therapist, but also people who has gone through the same thing as them.
Another topic comes up. “What can you do to get over your relapses and triggers?” Michelle asked.
“I like to BBQ” James said with a grin and the other five guys in room nod their heads in agreement
Several others discuss their problems and Michelle and the other clients present them with solutions. As the time comes to end, Michelle, again looks tired and worn out as she presents a man with a certificate for successfully completing he program. He gets final words of encouragement as he accepts the certificate and vows he’d never go back to his past.
“When it all comes down to it the things that matters most is that you all stay safe, and keep yourself and family out of harm’s way” Michelle say.
In the last few minutes they’re back to talking about everyday life. Michelle looks happy but you can tell she’s tired and stressed. She has sympathy for each of her clients and wants them to do well and succeed in life.
It’s time for everyone to leave now. “That hour went by quick” James says with a smile as he handed Michelle his weekly assignment. She too agrees. The group exited the room just as quickly, but much more loudly than when they entered an hour ago.
Michelle is now free to go home and she’s happier than usual because it’s the beginning of her vacation.