A Future Made Possible:
Zeny & Karen’s Story

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Zeny & Karen, at home with each other

Something needed to change. At 13, Zeny became increasingly uncommunicative at home. When she did interact with her mother Karen, it was explosive. Initially, Karen thought this was typical adolescent angst, but then she discovered that Zeny had been cutting herself in secret. Several serious incidents of self-harm and suicidal thoughts led to six hospitalizations in the year that followed.

Around the time of Zeny’s fourth hospitalization, both mother and daughter knew they needed additional help. Karen lived in constant fear, thinking “Am I going to come home one day to something that I couldn’t even bear?” Their doctors recommended trying In-Home Therapy.

The Brookline Center’s In-Home Therapy program stabilizes families in crisis so that young people can live safely at home and function better at school. It provides intensive support, therapeutic mentoring, and strengths-based training through home visiting. Karen chose The Brookline Center for their care because it was where she and Zeny already received counseling. She wanted all of their supports coordinated and in one place.

Two clinicians, Kristen and Lilli, visited their home weekly. Lilli also served as a therapeutic mentor for Zeny, planning weekly outings where they could discuss personal concerns in a relaxed setting. The first months were still tough—Zeny was hospitalized twice more—but slowly, things began to improve. Zeny still has tough days, but she’s learned how to cope without cutting and she hasn’t been hospitalized in almost a year.

The biggest changes occurred at home. “Before,” Zeny says, “I was so wrapped up in being sad and my own issues. In-Home Therapy helped me recognize that I shouldn’t deal with it by myself.” Now, Zeny socializes more with her family and tells her mother everything. The change in their relationship was, says Zeny, “like a 180—from we couldn’t talk to each other unless we were screaming to, literally, my mom’s like my best friend.”