The Mathews family came to Children’s Harbor on their own as a self-referral. When the mom called for help, she explained that her daughter was a junior pro tennis player who was struggling with anxiety. Her grades were declining, and there was a huge breakdown in communication within the family. During services, the mother would continuously remind the counselor and the client how important tennis was and how important it was for her daughter to bring up her grades so she could get into a good college. The pressure to be perfect, the pressure to go pro, and the pressure to get into a great college were all triggers for the child’s anxiety.
During intake, the mother expressed deep concern that Children’s Harbor wouldn’t be able to provide services based on their rigorous schedules. Rigorous was an accurate representation. For services to “fit into” the family schedule, our family support counselor had to schedule 7:30 a.m. sessions.
Using the NPP curriculum, our counselor focused on alleviating the child’s anxiety and strengthening communication between mom and daughter. During services, the client was able to learn the appropriate way to express and control her feelings. The client’s mother was able to learn the difference between “pushing her daughter to be successful” and “providing guidance to her daughter.” The counselor was also able to help the mother understand that the client needed time to herself and with friends and then develop a schedule that incorporated “free time.” The client no longer labeled her mother as the helicopter parent and started to see her mother as support.