Two young ladies of Orchard Place reading - at Orchard Place Des Moines

Raynie and her family rebuilt communication that made a lasting impact

Raynie’s story began long before her journey to Functional Family Therapy (FFT) at Orchard Place Child Guidance Center. Raynie started living with her Aunt Shawna who she refers to as “Mom” and Uncle Rich “Uncle” when she was about 5 years old. Prior to FFT, Raynie, Mom, and Uncle acknowledged difficult circumstances from their past, however didn’t completely understand how their personal history and limitations was impacting their parenting and relationships. Raynie struggled with suicidal ideations, and her family was unsure how to keep her safe.

The FFT Model is a short term evidenced based therapeutic model that is specific to adolescents 11-17 years of age. Over three phrases FFT aims to improve mental and behavioral health through building a mutual understanding of individual members and improving familial relationship with a strengths-based approach.

Through the FFT Model the following key cycle plagued this loving family.


By utilizing the FFT Model, Raynie’s therapist showed how this cycle was playing out in session and the long deep wounds it was creating. Her therapist was able to provide tools to help them improve the family’s communication skills, and how to identify feelings and talk through them. Utilizing these tools would help improve the family’s ability to discuss their hurts in a manner that holds accountability while continuing to show love and support even when upset or scared. In addition to family therapy, working on themselves as individuals was crucial to the success of this family, addressing their personal traumas and stabilizing individual self-care. To do so, Raynie continued individual therapy, Mom began individual therapy and Uncle utilized a church support group. Where they all found great success and comfort.

 Through rebuilding this family’s connection and ability to communicate; Raynie was able to build safe and appropriate friendships, regain her privileges, and communication as a family improved drastically. Raynie’s suicidal thoughts became less scary, parents felt they had the tools to talk about why Raynie was feeling this way and how they could support her. Furthermore, FFT’s involvement allowed for Raynie to enroll with the Integrated Health Program, and Mom participated in the Trust Based Relational Intervention Parenting Course through Orchard Place PACE Center where she learned even more about parenting a youth with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Since ending FFT, Raynie has attended the school winter formal, and Mom is happy to report Raynie is doing great and they are “managing normal teenage girl stuff.”