Ty’s Story: At-Risk Youth

Ty’s Story: At-Risk Youth

Before working with PfP’s Multisystemic Therapy program, even when they were both under the same roof, Ty and her mother lived in separate worlds.

Places for People MST SuccessTy kept to herself, spending most of her time in her room. She and her mother didn’t say as much as “Good night” to one another, let alone, “I love you.” When they did interact, it was almost always negatively, frequently resulting in explosive fights.

Problems at home were reflected in Ty’s behavior outside the home. “I was running away from home, and I was doing a lot of stuff like stealing from malls and fighting,” she says.

Her behavior eventually landed her in jail for several weeks, a harsh experience for the 15-year-old, who will be a high school junior next year.

“It was stressful. I was crying all the time. I didn’t want to be there at all,” says Ty.

To address Ty’s behavior away from home and her relationships at home, the juvenile court system recommended Multisystemic Therapy (MST). The goal of the MST program is to give youths with histories of behavioral problems, frequently involving the court system, the tools and the support necessary to develop personal, positive solutions.

Ty and her mother, Tandra, worked with Kathleen Murray on PfP’s MST team to resolve conflicts at home. After four months of creative interventions—including Murray’s version of a “Newly Wed” game for mother and daughter—progress is remarkable.

As distant as Ty was before, says her mother, Tandra, “Now, it’s like, ‘I want to be around you guys—the family, the whole household—and interact with you.’ That to me is the most rewarding part: that she is actually back in the family again.”

Ty has learned not to respond to stress by running away. “When me and my mom have a problem, we’ll talk it out so it won’t become a conflict.” She is looking to the future, as well, and is considering pursuing a degree in nursing after graduation.

Places for People MST ProgramTy also has a new—or, more precisely, newborn—motivation to build a healthy and happy home. Pregnant while in jail, Ty became a mother herself with the birth of her son on January 20, 2011.

As another sign of a progress, Murray says that Ty has been very responsible in caring for her baby, welcoming her mother’s insights, guidance, and support.

“I’m very, very impressed with both of them,” said Murray.