Keeping in mind that there can be multiple explanations for a single event, Chris’s progress following our Family Constellation sessions with Dr. Stern in July 2006 went like this:
In November 2006, Chris entered into weekly psychotherapy with Dr. Stern. That same month, Emily, the daughter of my university roommate, stayed with us for a weekend. She and Chris went skiing for a day. “How was Chris?” I asked her. “Quiet,” she said. “He was very polite and considerate, but only spoke to me if I spoke to him first.”
In February Emily came back for another visit and some further skiing. “How was Chris?” I asked her, hoping that I knew what she would say. “Oh, just great. He talked with me the whole time. I didn’t need to prompt him. What a big change from November!”
The magic had happened. Chris could now converse with people he didn’t know or didn’t know well. Sometime between November and January, seemingly from one day to the next, he began acting “normal,” despite the fact that he was still on low doses of two antipsychotics and had been on them for thirty-six months and in a day program for twenty-two of those thirty-six months. His day program had ended six months earlier. He left the day program still very much into his shell and not able to establish eye contact with people.
Using holistic therapies, he achieved social breakthrough after seventeen months of vitamin supplements, eight months after the assemblage point shift, six months after Family Constellation Therapy and after three months of seeing Dr. Stern once a week.
He began phoning up friends he hadn’t seen for years to suggest that they get together. He wanted to be around people. This was huge. For Ian and me, it was like a stone had been lifted from us.
From February 2007 on, Chris continued to improve. Dr. Stern and Chris’s holistic psychiatrist worked together over the next year to gradually eliminate his medications while continuing his weekly psychotherapy. His weight dropped as the medications were lowered. By March 2008, he was off all his medications. To illustrate the extreme caution that needs to be exercised when lowering medications, it took almost one whole year for Chris to come off 25 mg of clozapine. By June 2008 his weight was normal once again and he was able to exercise more.
Ian’s and my mistake following this breakthrough was to begin to build up our expectations of Chris. We became impatient for his moving on with his life.