Resident Success Stories
"Tyler"'s Success Story:
Tyler* arrived at Cornerstones in Spring 2020 on the heels of a Major Depressive Episode, anxiety, alcohol abuse, ongoing failures to complete his college degree, and a general lack of purpose and motivation. Within a few weeks, Tyler exhibited a struggle to engage with the programming that we see as a typical hurdle for new residents. Tyler's struggles appeared to emerge primarily from a self-defeating constellation of anxiety and depressive symptomatology that led him to question if he would ever be able to be truly independent. Implementing a modified exposure protocol to reduce anxious thought patterns and behavior patterns, Tyler was able to begin work towards finding a job and tackling the academic demands of an economics class at a local college. As Tyler was able to gain confidence, work through inertia, and begin to engage fully with the program, his therapist shifted to using Mentalization Based Therapy to help Tyler bridge his disconnected thoughts and emotions, which supported the reduction of Depressive symptoms. Tyler and his family also began to see real growth in his Family Therapy, which helped to heal relational fractures and support individuation. As he began to feel more resilient and confident, Tyler opted to focus wholeheartedly on relapse prevention and preparing for sobriety after the program.
At the end of treatment, after dipping his toes into academics, Tyler decided that he did not want to complete his college degree, but instead accepted a full-time position in the IT Department at a local firm in Portland. He also secured an apartment in Portland and has plans to start his new post-Cornerstones independent life in Maine. Congratulations, Tyler!
"Dana"'s Success Story:
Dana* arrived at Cornerstones in the spring of 2020 after completing wilderness treatment. Although Dana had completed college, she had never been able to find a meaningful career and had been struggling for years to find direction. Dana was paralyzed by severe anxiety coupled with depression and self-doubt. Dana struggled with the Cornerstones program at first as her anxiety proved to be a tough obstacle, but with the support of the therapeutic team using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mentalization Based Therapy, and some exposure work, she began to develop a greater capacity to regulate these paralyzing emotional states by identifying unhealthy thought patterns, dismantling negative belief systems, boosting her self-confidence, and intervening in her own “anxious process”. This allowed her to further dive into Cornerstones and find employment at a local bakery, where she has worked for the duration of the program. Dana also made remarkable interpersonal gains as she built a solid social circle of friends and worked hard to improve her relationship with her parents. Both she and her parents learned to set and maintain healthy boundaries, reduce rescuing behaviors, and establish healthy patterns of individuated functioning.
Approaching the end of the program, Dana’s anxiety is only a mild concern and her self-confidence and poise tells the story about a very changed young woman. Dana was recently accepted into a graduate program to study set design at a prominent university and will be starting classes in the fall. Congratulations, Dana!
"Brian"'s Success Story
Brian* is a 20-year-old man that was referred to Cornerstones of Maine after years of continuing failed attempts to complete his high school degree resulted in increasing depression and isolation. Upon entering Cornerstones, Brian immediately presenting with significant anxiety, profound executive functioning disorganization, persistent avoidance behaviors, and a general sense of defeat, victimization, and powerlessness. With all the potential in the world, Brian was a typical Cornerstones client who engaged in constant self-sabotage due to an overwhelming fear of failure and a persecuted sense of self. The Cornerstones life skills team coached and worked with Brian to build big goals and then convert them into smaller incremental steps. When Brian expressed shame and hopelessness over his past failures, staff seized these honest moments as opportunities to help him reframe his outlook. The therapeutic team helped him develop insight into his self-sabotage and begin to see the roots and underlying parts of the patterns he replayed again and again. Brian was eventually able to begin to recognize his struggles as a response to his fear of failure. Simultaneously, Brian was enjoying the daily and weekly victories of reaching his incremental goals such as finishing a resume, getting a job, staying on top of his weekly schoolwork, and showing up on time for appointments. He began to accumulate more ‘wins’ and enjoy a greater sense of self-efficacy, capability, and effectiveness. His self-esteem increased and, with it, his hopefulness about his future.
Brian graduates from Cornerstones of Maine with a completed high school degree, a job, an apartment, and a new career pathway. He also has a renewed confidence in his own grit, resilience, and self-reliance. He recognizes that there will be difficult moments ahead and during those times, he is ready to face the fear of failure and accept the risk of success.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our residents.