Is therapy really working for anyone?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jody, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I keep going to these therapy sessions, and I am willing to do anything to help my daughter and our family life, but boy am I sick of it. It happens with every therapist, they get on my very last nerve. True there are not many left but now even fewer. I have a 12 year old that can swear worse than most sailors and she baby talks to her when we go to therapy. Today they talked about the tone of our voice when talking to each other. OMG, my tone of voice is not sweet,baby talk after I have been called a b several times and just got out of bed. Even later in the day, I have a harder time just turning the other cheek and talking nicely to her. She wants to do her **** and then as soon as she's done doing whatever they think everything just goes back to the way it was before the mouth started. Not. You might say get a new therapist, but I have done that before too, and I get the same thing, coddling, and some scolding or talking to but basically you shouldn't do that to your mom and do better next time. Years and years of this and it's not getting better. Does anyone have any therapist stories to tell me good or bad. Maybe there's hope, maybe not????
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    That's why I gave up on therapy for Miss KT. The "poor child" was always "so confused about why her mother was angry at her," plus the fact that it never seemed to change any of those behaviors, so I felt it was a waste of time of money.
  3. compassion

    compassion Member

    The most effective is with the behavior anlast on specifics: medication adherance,academics, out of blackmail. I do have to keep the focus on HER and have perservered and do see improvmvent but it is tiny baby steps. Comapssion
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it's different for everyone. Talk therapy was extremely beneficial for my difficult child. At his roughest times he was seeing his therapist 2 times a week. Now he sees her every few months but still wants the relationship.

    Talk therapy, just like medication, behavior mod, etc., works for some and not for others. It's the nature of the "beast".

  5. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Maybe I am just burned out. I am going to sit out on the next few sessions and let them go it alone. Maybe my daughter can work on some things she thinks is important. We'll see how that works out, and if it doesn't well than I had a break from talking about difficult child's issues/family issues.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Therapy is theory. It depends on what sort of therapist you find. I never found therapists helpful for my teen daughter when she was doing drugs. They did coddle her,e ven telling her I should let her do more stuff and trust her more :sick:. Sure, and she could stare me in the eyes and lie to my face...with tears, but I should trust her.

    When she didn't want to go anymore, I gladly let her quit. Therapy only works on SOME disorders...autistic kids don't do well in therapy usually unless the therapists understands the rare problem of communication with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I like cognitive and dialectal behavioral therapy, but you have to be highly motivated for it to work...for ANY therapy to work. And those therapies are hard for kids to understand. I personally found plain old talk therapy not all that helpful (not for me or my kids).

    What is your daughter's attitude about therapy? Does she know she has issues? Does she genuinely want to do better? If not, she won't.
  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Jody - my son was in therapy from age 6 to 18 (though those last few years were iffy at best, LOL). It was always 1:1, thank you and his therapist. We were never there for the sessions. We would touch base with- the therapist before thank you went in, just to update on what was going on, but that was it.

    Did it work? Not immediately. I think mainly he just learned to talk the talk and for us the short-term effect was that he was able to manipulate people (professionals) ever better. I asked the same question you're asking now - is it worth it? What I finally decided, with the input from the good folks on this board, was that at the very least, thank you was getting exposure to tools he might be able to use someday, if he ever decided to get invested in his life and well-being.

    We participated in "family" therapy only when absolutely necessary. We had to when he was in RTCs, and of course during his hospitalizations. After one particularly nasty session with- the whole family when he was 13, I stopped letting the sibs participate. They didn't need to be subjected to even more of his emotional abuse. But I even cut off family therapy with- just him, husband, and me when he hit age 16 or so. My take on family therapy is that unless you have a *really* good therapist who will cut the difficult child off fast, the sessions turn into parent bashing, endless regurgitation of how *we* messed up our kid, how *we* are to blame for all the behaviors, how *we* are the only responsible and accountable people in the room. I got really sick and tired of hearing that if I did X, Y, and Z, all would be rosy in gfgland. Bologna. And thank you got really *really* good at coming up with- X, Y, and Z, and then coming up with- excuses when I did X, Y, and Z, and he *still* was violent and out of control - it was my fault, of course.

    I think therapy did do him some good. He's a bit more aware of his moods and triggers and behaviors than the average young adult, and he knows what he should be doing to take care of himself. Doesn't do it, of course, but... that's not to say that someday he won't get tired of living the way he is living now and might actually start doing what he knows he needs to do.

    So, I guess my answer is that 1:1 therapy, where the focus is strictly on the child, might possibly be worth it in the long run. I don't think it hurts. Family therapy, at least in my experience, was a waste of time and if I had to do it again, I'd just say "no, thank you".
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    difficult child has been in therapy since he was 5. Has it been helpful? Somewhat. The first few years not at all. I figure at least he is getting some coping strategies and hopefully in the long run it will pay off.
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    difficult child has been in therapy since he was about 5. For the most part, the only thing it did for difficult child was to teach him the code words, allowing him to become very good at manipulating therapists, teachers and others.

    In the last 3 years, difficult child has been seeing a forensic psychiatrist who is simply brilliant. He specializes in multiple diagnoses and complex cases, sees through ALL of difficult child's bs and discusses the bs in front of difficult child, so that he knows he's been caught out without a direct head-on confrontation, and he has been able to work with difficult child's medications to the point that we've found something that works.

    That said, difficult child participates and progresses in therapy only because he's supervised 24/7 at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The moment he's given any freedom to stop doing things the "official" way, he regresses right to square one, as though he's never spent even a minute receiving interventions.

    I think it really does depend on the person.
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    My difficult child started talk therapy when he just turned 11 years old. He had an anxiety breakdown, very deep, very scary, and was hospitalized for 2 weeks. He took ownership in the therapy working hard at learning and mastering the tools the psychiatric hospital as well as therapist gave him. It was a nightmare to go through but he did it!!!

    Through it, I worked with him to figure out what type of person he wanted to be (kind, respectful, ect.). He knew he did not want to continue in the behaviors that he had started to display - strong strong strong need to revenge any wrong - self harm feelings - disrespecting authority. I would tell him that these are choices that HE had to make for himself. I could not tell him to not be a bad person, he has to find it within himself to make the good decisions.

    difficult child is one of our best success stories. His success is because HE invested in the therapy sessions. I could provide the opportunites he needed to change but unless he wanted to, nothing would change. He decided to take control of his life. He decided to use the therapy sessions for what they were for, confidential discussions with his therapist, learning new tools, and mastering those tools.

    I think for a therapy to succeed on any level, the patient has to want to really listen, freely share, and truely try. Now, for many kids, you will not really see the listening, sharing, trying, but they are still being reached and over time that might show. The hard part is to know how long to give it and if your child is really getting anything out of it. They are picking up tools and hopefully someday will start using them.

    I wonder if the therapist would work more on what type of person your child wants to be and less on "you shouldn't do that to your mom and dad"? It is hard to explain but maybe just to say that a strong positive approach from the therapist instead of babytalking/scolding would help? The therapist can come right out and ask, "What kind of person would you like to be when you graduate?" and give some positive words such as, Respected, Strong, Trustworthy, Responsible, ect. Take those answers and see how her behaviors and actions the last few days have measured up. How could she have changed her behaviors to start matching those words? You can tell a child to stop his/her behavior all you want but some of those kids need to be guided into the replacement behavior. Like instead of telling a kid, "Don't run in the hallway" you say, "Use your inside shoes".

    However, I know it is hard to ask a therapist to change their approach. difficult child's therapy consists of him meeting with the therapist for about 40 minutes and then I join to recap any info I need to know. We went weekly (one hour drive to get there) for over a year and are now down to once every two to three months.

    When all this came to a head, difficult child was unable to leave my side and started to fear even going 5 miles to purchase legos. He has come from that to a trip to New York City this weekend with his aunt and uncle (no parent with!). He is now 13 1/2.

    Also need to know that each difficult child is different and my difficult child does not have many of the obsticles of diagnosis that other difficult child's have. Many of the behaviors we see in difficult children are a result of their diagnosis and also medications. My difficult child was on a medication that made his disrespect to authority stronger. As it was working at lowering his level of anxiety, it also pushed his level of boundaries toward authority below the acceptable line. Once taken off this medication, his level of respect returned. At that point I choose academics over socialization to get him through the school year so he was on the medication with the knowledge of the unwanted behaviors. He needed it to get through school that year and was taken off of it ASAP when Summer began bringing less responsibilities.

    Your mommy instinct is the very best thing to use in uncertain times. Do you see any glimpses at all of your child benefitting from the therapy? Are you hearing anything you think would be helpful to your child if your child were to start putting it into place? If so, it may be o.k. to continue and hope that although you are not seeing a change in behavior at this point, you can be assured that the right tools are being given for your child to internalize the information and maybe some day use it?
  11. change

    change New Member

    I HATE going to therapy but we keep going because I don't anyone saying that we haven't done everything possible to help our difficult child. We have tried several therapists and several different tps of therapy. All end in the same way...difficult child refusing to say much, the therapists asking me if she's low IQ at some point, and in the beginning, she usually "works them" until they finally ask me for some information about how it's going at home and school. She never denies any of what I say bt also isn't forthcoming until I call her out on things.
  12. vja4Him

    vja4Him Guest

    My youngest boy was in therapy for about two years. It really did wonders for him. My oldest son was in therapy for about 18 months. I'm not sure if it really did a whole lot for him .... However, the oldest was very obstinate, resistant to help, closed, not willing to really open up. My youngest boy did open up to his therapist, but still is holding so much inside ...

    I am going to get my youngest boy back in counseling, and possibly therapy too. Since he started junior high school, he has been going downhill ....
  13. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Yes. But only with the right person who doesn't take **** from difficult child, yet still manages to connect with her. And only if difficult child participates and buys into it.
  14. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I guess it can't hurt to continue. Maybe she will eventually use some of these things when she gets older. I sure hope so. I am definately going to request that she go it alone for awhile. I need a break from the drama it creates. Once in awhile I walk out thinking it did some good, but not shortly thereafter, am I proven wrong. Thank you for sharing your experineces with me!!!!
  15. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    difficult child goes alone. Every once in a while we'll go in together, but it's rare. I have a separate appointment for myself - both for me and to talk about difficult child.
  16. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it's important for you to get some time alone with the therapist occasionally, to be able to speak frankly before or after a session. We didn't do a lot of total "family" therapy, I found it worked best when it was a combination of (1) time alone for difficult child, (2) time together, and (3) time for me. Not all in the same session, necessarily (not enough time), but a mixture of that over time. I will say it took several tries to find the right therapist to "connect" with either of my children. With Oldest, quite honestly, it never did happen... we probably went through 4 or 5 therapists. She was simply unable to be honest and unwilling to work on her behavior. With Youngest, the therapist that worked best for her was a woman who was a combination of kindess and firmness. She was quick to call B.S. on Youngest if she thought she was being manipulative, yet was also supportive and empathetic. I also made it clear with each therapist we tried that I was looking for concrete suggestions on how to handle things in our household, particularly in a crisis situation (which sometimes was a daily occurrence). I was fortunate enough to find two that would do this with me.. one in particular, at teh end of a session with Youngest, would meet with me privately and we'd come up with a "game plan" until the next session. If (a) happens, Mom will do this. If (b) happens, Mom will do that. It was enormously helpful.

    I know it's a pain to search for new therapists, and starting over each time is downright draining. The ones I lucked out with were recommended by other people who knew my kids' specific issues and which therpaist's personality would work best for them.. the psychiatrist was particularly helpful, as was a therapist that simply wasn't working for Youngest at one time.
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Therapy only works if a) the child will go - willingly and b) the child will TALK to the therapist.

    We gave up on Onyxx and therapy because she learned the code as someone said, and just spouted all the right things. And then later laughed because she had "told them what they wanted to hear". Later she flat refused to go. And given her propensity for physical violence - yeah, not forcing it.

    Jett? Loved one of the therapists. But... Insurance didn't cover him. So we tried to find another one, but after more than 15 people told us he was "too young to understand", we sort of threw in the towel. He was 10 at the time. Ummm... Not too young, did not want to. BM's current insurance MAY cover the old therapist, which would just rock. Hmm... Now that that's occurred to me, I'll have to check it out!!!

    For me? I ADORE my counselor. He pretty much just has a conversation, tells me what he is hearing - and that gives me something to work with. Like... For a while... I was like a tomato... On the vine, not being watered, just wilting... Well... I haven't been back for a while, but I'm in so much of a better place I don't worry about it.

    If I need him, I won't hesitate.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry, Jody.

    We are luck in that our therapist responds quickly and clearly when difficult child complains that we do horrid things to him: "So, what do you think would make your mother that mad at you that she actually used a swear word?" (Knowing full well that difficult child uses them all the time but it's unsual for husband and me.) :D

    He always throws it back in difficult child's court.

    If he didn't, I'd be out the door.

    I like CrazyinVA's idea, that you need some occasional time alone with-the therapist to set the record straight.