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Ana-Open to change

 Ana and Milka
 Ana and Milka helped each other practice their skills at Gracepoint’s DBT group.


Ana is not afraid to express herself in her therapy group. Now she’s taking those lessons home to her family. That is a leap of faith for this mother of two.

Four years ago, she ended her marriage because of domestic violence. Her ex-husband is in jail. Ana’s two teenagers have special needs. She realized she had be their advocate, so she began therapy at Gracepoint.

“I needed to build my own confidence, to open my heart and share what I need,” she said. Ana also joined a women’s only dialectical behavior therapy group at Gracepoint Seminole Heights that became both a haven and gave her a gentle push. The group met weekly for nine months over lunch. They practiced speaking up with love and respect. They shared food, they laughed and they expressed their feelings through art.

DBT gives people instruments they need to deal with situations positively. Seida Perez, Gracepoint therapist, coaches and reinforces the members as they talk through how they deal with crucial conversations they plan to have during the upcoming week. DBT helps clients select specific strategies to help address specific problems the client identifies.”

“If something bad happens, you learn to pull on your strength and resolve to continue. We work on ways to express yourself respectfully and still feel empowered to tell our beloved parents and spouses that perhaps we disagree with their point of view. Your spouse or parent may not agree with you and that is OK too,” Seida said.

“When we are in these classes, we are very open to say and do what we want. All of us spoke Spanish and we communicated in ways that maybe we couldn’t at home. We had good days and bad days. We laughed and cried,” Ana explained. The women practiced difficult conversations with each other while they worked on their art projects. The family trees were especially meaningful for these family-focused women.

“At home, we thought we’re the only one with these problems. Now we know we’re not,” Ana said nodding her head emphatically.

To enroll in a DBT or other group at Gracepoint, call 813-272-2244. Gracepoint offers group therapy in Seminole Heights.