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Boys Town South Florida Helps Siblings, Family Find Answers

Oftentimes, parents don’t know where to turn when their children are suffering from behavioral or emotional problems.

Michael and Jodie Shechtman are grateful the turn they eventually took led them to Dr. Chris McGinnis and his staff at the Boys Town South Florida Behavioral Health Clinic.

“Dr. Chris (McGinnis) and Boys Town are 100 percent directly responsible for changing my daughter’s life, my son’s life and our family life,” Michael said. “Thank God we found Boys Town!”

The Shechtmans began their relationship with Boys Town South Florida several years ago when son Holden was experiencing some behavior and immaturity issues.
Jodie grew extremely concerned, especially when Holden would get upset and tell her, “I wish I was dead.”

Thanks to a referral from a family friend, the Shechtmans contacted Dr. McGinnis, who quickly scheduled an initial appointment with Michael and Jodie at the Boys Town clinic. He also met briefly with Holden alone to assess the situation.

Quickly, things changed.

Two nights later, Jodie and Michael asked each other if they’d heard Holden say anything about hurting himself.

He hadn’t.

Michael credits that 10-minute meeting with Dr. McGinnis for putting his son on the road to recovery. Several sessions later, Holden was more confident and dramatically better behaved.

“He became a LOT more mature,” Michael said. “Jodie joked around that Dr. Chris must walk on water because she cannot understand how he could have impacted our son’s life and our family’s life so dramatically. And literally overnight.”

A year and a half later, 10-year-old Holden was doing well and hadn’t made any more self-harm statements.

After the success Dr. McGinnis had with Holden, the Shechtmans decided to ask him for help with their older daughter, Delaney.

Since she was a first-grader, Delaney had shown signs of anxiety. Seeing a classmate become sick during class triggered her first severe stretch of anxiety attacks. These attacks continued as she got older, and usually were set off by the same occurrence -- seeing someone get physically sick.

During these bouts, Delaney didn’t want to go to school or eat. Michael and Jodie had their daughter see several therapists, but any improvement in Delaney’s condition was only temporary.

Then, after Delaney had an attack in band class at school and was unable to return to the class for two months, Michael and Jodie contacted Dr. McGinnis.

“I sat in the initial meeting with Dr. Chris and Delaney,” Michael said. “She was very shy and guarded, as she normally is. He read her like a book, though. As guarded and quiet as she was, when she walked out of the first session, you could see the tension just lifting off her shoulders.

“Two days later, she sat in her band class for the first time in two months! After the second session, she hasn't missed a band class once. The guidance counselor at school was amazed. She said she had never seen a turnaround with a student like that in her 30 years. Dr. Chris had gotten through to her like no other therapist ever had. Something clicked and she was able to understand and learn to deal with her anxiety head on.”

In the six months following her Boys Town sessions, Delaney showed remarkable progress. She was promoted to an advanced band class by her teacher and received an award for excellence in band. She also starting playing on a softball team and decided to learn how to pitch, a position that requires her to take on more responsibility and pressure.

Now 13, Delaney walks with an extra skip in her step and is much more confident.

The Shechtmans give all the credit to Boys Town South Florida and Dr. McGinnis.

“I don't want to say Dr. Chris has ‘cured’ Delaney, because I don't think anxiety is something that will ever go away for her completely,” Michael said. “It's just who she is. But she now openly talks about it. She now controls her anxiety. Delaney is now aware of the triggers. It is truly remarkable, the night and day difference.”

To learn more, call our Behavioral Health Clinic today at 561-612-6056.

This is a solicited testimonial from a family whose work with Dr. McGinnis and the Behavioral Health Clinic had concluded. The family provided their full consent to use their story and actual names.