House of Ruth

Jenny’s Story

31-year-old Jenny* sought counseling services at the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) after a long stint of counseling elsewhere. Jenny felt concerned that her previous counselor was frustrated with her “lack of progress.” Jenny is a survivor of prolonged childhood abuse and neglect, and when she started services at the DVSC she was still living with some of the abusive family members she grew up with.

Jenny was suffering from depressed mood and panic attacks on a regular basis. She experienced extreme social anxiety (making it difficult for her to leave her home), and reported a phobic anxiety of driving. Jenny noted that overcoming her driving phobia had been a goal of hers since she got her license as a teenager, but her anxiety had only grown worse over the years. She also reported a less concrete goal of moving away from her family, but admitted to feelings of guilt and obligation were “keeping her there.”

Working with her counselor, Jenny prepared and executed a plan to buy a car for herself. She created and implemented a plan with her counselor to stick to a driving schedule to practice her skills and gradually become less anxious behind the wheel.

At present, Jenny is driving several times a week and is able to access more resources for herself and spend more time away from home, which she has reported is helpful to her mental health. Additionally, Jenny has begun talking more seriously about her long-term goal of moving out of her family’s apartment and living independently.

*Name has been changed.