As the director of a crisis center located in the emergency room of a large metropolitan hospital, I was in the position to witness and interact with many people in different kinds of crises. Incorporated in this book, these crisis situations are utilized to illustrate certain points. In presenting the case histories I have tried not to intrude on the personal lives of those who have shared with me some of the most painful experiences of their lives. These pages reflect the anger and frustration as well as the rationalizations of the people who have trusted me enough to allow me to take charge of their lives for a short time, until they were able to take charge themselves. My sincerest gratitude is extended to them.
Many people have assisted me in the course of my work at the crisis center and subsequently on this book. More than anyone else, however, I am indebted to the late Rose Mary Rivera, who had enough confidence in me and my abilities to place me in my position at the crisis center. I have dedicated this book to the memory of this vibrant, energetic lady who fervently advocated for her clients and in the process turned around many a dismal, hopeless situation. Many of the individuals whose lives she impacted owe her a great debt of gratitude, as do I.