Her mother, an alcoholic, was physically and emotionally abusive towards her and, although she’d left the family home, when they met up they would fight and physically attack each other.

Stacey lived with her father who smoked cannabis to help his disability. He was also growing cannabis at home, putting their tenancy at risk after he was caught by the police.

"She was unhappy at home and would often run away. She finally hit rock bottom and tried to commit suicide."

stacey stock

The family was referred for Functional Family Therapy run by Action for Children’s Step Change service to try to stop the drug-taking and violence at home. Although Stacey’s father and mother had separated many years ago, they came together for group therapy sessions to support their daughter and develop their relationship with her.

Their therapist helped the family with emotional regulation – using art to explore emotions and writing bad thoughts down then letting them go. They were guided in using communication and negotiation techniques in their interaction with each other and they learned to build their self-esteem by doing positive things for each other and themselves and thinking positively.

Stacy was helped with writing her CV, which she then used to secure an interview with at college. She has stopped hanging around with the bad crowd, has reduced the amount she smokes cannabis and is focused on getting back into education.

Her father has stopped smoking cannabis and her mum is feeling much more positive about life and is now able to ask for support instead of drinking. She’s started doing voluntary work and is encouraging Stacey to do the same.

The relationship between Stacey and her parents has improved enormously, as has their self-esteem.

Stacey's mum says, “Step Change has been a wonderful change in my life, I have made a great bond with my daughter.”


"I don’t run away any more because my family are there for me now."


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