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Client Profiles

We welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, and physical abilities.

CIP clients come to the agency from throughout Marin County, including underserved communities such as West Marin, East San Rafael, Marin City, and Novato. Similarly, they represent diverse ethnic populations, including Latino, White, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans.

We would like to share with you brief portraits of some of the people receiving assistance at CIP and the problems with which they are coping (the names and circumstances have been altered to protect confidentiality). All are being helped to overcome crisis, to heal from trauma, and to resume their lives in healthier, more productive ways. The welfare of each one of these individuals affects family, friends, and coworkers–in fact, our entire community.

Mariana

Although she has been clean and sober for over five months, Mariana finds that she sometimes has urges to drink and is plagued by periods of intense frustration with her social and work situations. In therapy, Mariana is developing skills that enable her to handle the anger she often experiences. Likewise, she is working to find ways to combat her depression and achieve work satisfaction while also strengthening her self-concept.

David

For David, a middle-aged man who had had many losses in his family due to substance abuse and community violence, alcohol became a way of filling the deep void in his life. When he entered Helen Vine Detox Center he was a man grieving the loss of loved ones and of himself to alcohol. Desperate to break the cycle but feeling helpless about his ability to do so, David signed up for a free one-hour counseling session with a CIP intern-therapist. With this support, David was able to understand how alcohol amplified his feelings of loss and separated him from the caring community with which he longed to reconnect. With renewed spirit, David decided to pursue ongoing therapy at CIP as one of several key steps to support him on his recovery journey.

Olivia

Olivia is a middle-school student who has just moved to San Rafael from Arkansas. She describes the move as “super tough.” Olivia was chosen for the six-session Wisdom Warriors group because the school counselors noticed she was having a hard time making friends. She walked through the halls with her head down, wearing the same gray sweatshirt every day.

Wisdom Warriors sessions enabled Olivia to interact with a small group of her peers who were also struggling with loneliness and family losses. She values the group for giving her a chance to “come out of her shell” and “talk about tough stuff.”

In particular, the brief mindfulness meditation used in the group allows her to “quiet my mind for a few minutes.” Olivia talked of one particular exercise that let her connect to the “wisdom beyond her thoughts.” She described being led on a short guided journey where she connected with parts of herself she didn’t know about. The meditation made her realize that she is strong in ways she hadn’t known, changing her perspective about life.

Last week, Olivia walked into group with her head held high, wearing a bright purple dress. Her group members commented on how she wasn’t wearing her gray sweatshirt. “I feel different today,” she said and smiled to the intern-therapists. “I am stronger than I thought.”

Manuel

Manuel, a 29-year-old young man, entered treatment at CIP in order to better confront and handle his frequent and disturbing memories of childhood sexual abuse.

In his first few sessions, Manuel also reported difficulties with both anxiety and depression, which have begun to severely interfere with his work and social life. Working with a CIP therapist has enabled Manuel to begin exploring the anger and grief he has had to suppress for many years. Gradually but successfully, Manuel is finding methods for handling his painful memories and looks forward to continuing his therapy work.

Jan

Jan, 28, is the single mother of a 9-year-old boy, Alex. Jan came to CIP because of her struggles with her son, who she reported was being very hostile, disrespectful, and "out of control."

Her increasing sense of helplessness in disciplining the boy had resulted in mounting conflict. Finally, she had resorted to physical punishment and she was terrified that this would escalate. Jan entered therapy feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Through the course of therapy she has learned to set effective limits with her son in a way that he has been able to hear. Alex, too, has begun therapy at CIP to address the issues that have led to his acting out. As a result, they report many fewer conflicts, and no further use of physical punishment.

George

George, 66, came to CIP in a search for an answer to the struggle with his adult daughter who is an active alcoholic.

George had tried for many years to help his daughter, but had just about given up. He was afraid he would spend what is left of his life and money bailing her out of jail, hospitals, and the jobs she loses due to her drinking. CIP has been a place where George has been able to begin to understand his feelings of responsibility for his daughter's substance abuse and has begun to set limits that are not only healthy for him, but important for his daughter. He also has begun to address his own depression and despair.

Francisco

Francisco is a 16-year-old young man who was referred to the CIP Schools Project at the beginning of the school year. His problem was his difficulty in school, being socially isolated, and acting out against his classmates.

Since seeing a CIP intern-therapist on a weekly basis, Francisco has been able to identify his anger with is fear about what is going to happen to him since his parents have divorced. This has been an entrée enabling him to talk about his fears of abandonment, rejection, not being loved, and sadness.

Therapy has given Francisco a chance to reach out to someone who has been able to listen and help him to understand his feelings. Francisco is becoming more interested in participating in school and having more open communication with his newly divorced parents.
The work CIP accomplishes brings about lasting, positive changes that allow people to live healthier, happier lives, thereby contributing to better and safer schools, neighborhoods, work environments, and communities.
– Steve Kinsey, Marin County Supervisor