Writing to release the past

Writing to release the past

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Then and now, Whats-new | 3 comments

One of the more expected, but no less important, aspect of Ranch Ehrlo’s Family Treatment Program (FTP) is the treatment groups that families have the option to participate in weekly. Each group is led by one of the FTP’s highly qualified clinical supervisors or managers.

The groups cover topics from parenting skills, yoga, horse therapy, recovery, dad’s topics, and a group for parents to share and talk about their week.

One group that was recently created focuses on writing. FTP participant and mom of five, Felicia Kakakaway, has been a regular participant of the group since it began a few weeks ago.

“All of the hurtful (experiences) that you can’t get out verbally, you can write it down on a piece of paper and release it,” Felicia explained.

“In my situation I had a very rough start to my adulthood,” she said.

Felicia was a user of alcohol, suffered from depression and anxiety throughout her early adult years. She was also a victim of domestic abuse at one time of her adulthood. Her eldest child, now 13, was diagnosed with autism at four years old, and her 9-year-old is epileptic. After suffering a stillbirth six years ago, Felicia found herself in a dark place and contemplated suicide.

“And then I thought, I have two children here – what am I doing, what am I thinking? I thought, ‘how are my kids going to react, and who’s going to be here for them if I did that?’”

It was then she realized she needed help and began the process of reaching out to get it. She started counselling with a mental health therapist, took a suicide prevention training course and life skills, and got a part-time job.

But working on herself wasn’t all that Felicia needed to do – she worried her oldest son may be placed in a group home because of his autism.

“I didn’t want that, because no one knows him like I do,” she said.

Felicia learned of the Ranch’s Family Treatment Program, where families remain together to heal as a unit, through her social worker and knew it would be the perfect place for her family. They began the program in February of this year.

“It’s been really, really good,” she said. “I was a very angry person because of all the stuff that’s happened, and now I can calm myself faster and easier and I have the support of the FTP therapists if I need someone. I realized I celebrated five years of sobriety and plan to make it a permanent goal. Back home there was nobody to talk to.”

She is anticipating returning home in August and admits to having some trepidation, but says that FTP staff have been instrumental in helping set up aftercare supports to ensure her family can continue their road of success.

She continues writing about her experiences, and plans to share some of her work through our blog in the future.

“I feel like if I get my story out, it might help some people,” she concluded.