By Shmuli Falk, LMHC
(Names and details have been changed)
The tension and abuse at home forced Efraim’s mother to take all of her children and run to a shelter. They had to escape their abusive husband and father. The family eventually moved out of the shelter, and Efraim’s parents divorced. Now the family needed to put their lives back together. The mother’s low-paying job simply wasn’t enough, and Efraim’s father wasn’t paying child support. I will spare you the details of what was going on at home, but in short, it was hell on earth.
Efraim desperately needed a mentor who would act as a stable father figure and role model. The mentor and social worker would work together at helping him overcome his trauma and give him the tools he needed — not only to function, but to succeed in all areas of life.
Efraim was set up with one of our more experienced mentors, Moishe, who is smart, strong, and full of life. Due to Efraim’s father not being there for him, Efraim was very wary of any relationship. From the outset, he tried testing his mentor. He wanted to see how far he could push Moishe before he rejected Efraim, as well as whether Moishe had the backbone to handle him and his package.
With the guidance of the case manager, a social worker, Moishe began to see and appreciate where Efraim was coming from. The case manager helped him build boundaries, while building trust and connection. We knew that Moishe’s patience paid off when Efraim told his mother one evening, “I think that Moishe really loves me.” (When Moishe heard this, he couldn’t stop himself from crying!)
As Efraim’s mother related, the mentoring sessions became the highlight of his week. Efraim continued working with his therapist on both his anger and behavioral issues. Meanwhile, Moishe filled in the care, love, and security that a father is meant to give his child. He did even more, stepping in and relieving Efraim’s mother from her single-handed responsibilities whenever possible, even to take Efraim to buy new shoes!
With the help and support of his mentor, and EPIC Family’s dedicated staff, Efraim has a fighting chance to overcome, and even to thrive.