When I was asked to tell my story I thought it would be hard to convey everything Ryther has done to help my 13 year old son, “Teddy,” and I move through one of the most difficult periods in our lives. My son’s father, with whom I share custody with our son, was involved with CPS due to abuse. There was one day that I will never forget when Teddy wouldn’t get out of bed to go to school. I found out he was cutting. He was hopeless. He was running away. That was the bottom.
When I met Crystal Hynek, my therapist at Ryther, we connected right away. She worked with my son individually and also with the two of us since this was all about us learning skills to deal with these difficult circumstances. Crystal worked with Teddy to connect his thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We worked on my not engaging in power struggles when he was clearly feeling out of control. I learned to look deeper than the situation at hand to understand his underlying feelings.
After three months, Teddy wanted a break from therapy and I panicked because we were making so much progress. Crystal assured me that there were creative options and from that point on, it was Crystal and I meeting weekly. I learned the tools and modeled them for Teddy. What I learned was simple – when I changed my reactions and behaviors my son’s reactions and behaviors also changed.
Now, Teddy says how he feels when things aren’t going great and what he needs and wants in a respectful and effective way. After six months, he was ready to resume therapy and Crystal connected my son with Luke Sworts, another Ryther therapist, which was a great fit. They worked together when Teddy was being reunited with his father. Teddy did some pretty deep work with Luke and it truly helped.
As much as I lean on my family and friends, it’s important to know when to seek outside help. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Ryther’s expertise and support. Teddy’s personal successes have been both baby steps and monumental. Where we were a year ago seems like a distant place. Now, he comes home from school and tells me how he broke up a fight and about the letter to a friend who was very much in despair. We still have the age appropriate struggles of a family with a 13 year old, but they are manageable because of Ryther.