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Program Profile: Eric’s story

At age 17, “Eric” needed a second chance…

Despite being adopted at age three by a strong, loving mother, his life took a turn for the worse as he became gang involved and started stealing and dealing. After a few failed attempts at outpatient treatment, his mother got him to Ryther’s Cottage B inpatient program.

It is not uncommon for depression to be masked by rage, and Eric was soon diagnosed with depression by Ryther’s psychiatrist, Linda Ford, M.D. At Ryther, when clients are not progressing or are close to failing, they are also given hope with a “Phoenix,” or a second chance to step up.

Eric had earned a Phoenix, and it was then that he realized staff were going to stand by him and be consistent and that his behavior was not going to distract from the work that needed to be done. After a particularly emotional argument with a family member, Eric was able to draw upon self-soothing skills he learned. He calmed down and acknowledges this was the turning point. When staff elected him community leader that same week, Eric had to set the standard for the other boys by being respectful and following directions. They began to look up to him, which boosted Eric’s self-esteem. He led a treatment group, succeeded on Ryther’s Challenge Course, and graduated from Ryther with his mother at his side, arm in arm.

He called a few weeks ago to let staff know that he is consistently attending therapy and treatment meetings, has enrolled in a GED program and that he and his mom are getting along well. Eric is spending a lot of time at home since he’s worried about running into old acquaintances, but there is a benefit to that: he gets to spend time with his little sister, too.


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