Could it be that we've

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
been to therapy ONE too many times with our difficult children?

I was at a psychiatrist appointment with kt this past Tuesday (therapy this coming Wednesday) & had a therapist appointment with wm this past Friday. I sat in the rocking chairs provided for parents (gotta love those creature comforts) just rocking & listening to my children interact with the professionals.

Really had little to add to anything that was going on - in fact, felt pretty detached from the entire situation with both of them. I kept thinking two things. One - I can do this in my sleep. Two - is this ever going to make a difference?

I feel like I've lost my "enthusiasm" for treatment. I'm in agreement that this level of treatment/intervention is necessary however, it's gotten old.

How many of you doze during therapy? Have you ever had a therapist hand you the EMDR contraptions because mommy needs this today or a psychiatrist hand you a script because you're so seemingly detached or depressed? And do you find that just a bit insulting?

Just curious?
There were times with Basset Hound when I felt like all the therapy was overkill. A couple times specifically, I recall being in the middle of a session with her, and out of nowhere, having to stop myself from shouting "WTF are we even doing here!!" When I got to the point when I was overanalyzing every little thing she said, every face she made, every eye she rolled, yeah, I got to the point where you were. I figured I had been in therapy with her so long that I did not know how to relate to a kid in a normal way anymore.

Then I started to second guess myself. Maybe this is all a bunch of hooey? Maybe she is just a brat! By then, she was much much older than your difficult children. Admittedly, I waited it out, and breathed a guilty sigh of relief when she turned 18 and moved away.

Pixie, on the other hand, started at age TWO. I'm this one for the long haul.

Anyways, yeah. I can relate.


Well-Known Member
You say exactly how I feel. Week after week I take difficult child to therapy and have almost never seen the slightest bit of difference. With our insurance we have a limit to the visits over difficult child's lifetime and I wonder if we're using them all up from age 4-11 and we'll need them desperately more when he's fifteen. I dunno.....I'm not detached IN the session yet. I feel like I know so much about it now that I run it and the therapist is the one sitting there listening. Last week difficult child said loudly, "I don't even know what you're talking about!!" And, ya know, I believe him. SO what good is any of it doing? I'm with you, Timer.


me, too. With Emily it never seemed to make any difference--she was so manipulative the therapist never got it that she wasn't going to "fix" this kid--I finally got it though! I think the therapy she had while in residential treatment was excellent but she never did anything with it when she came out--except, and I guess this is pretty big, she doesn't have rages anymore when she is angry. She also seems to have lots of insight into herself and others--doesn't cause her to change though...


New Member
Gosh Linda,

I think I'm sitting in the chair next to you right now, although they didn't provide me with a rocking chair. Wish I had one. The most I've been offered is some black, very strong coffee or some room temperature water in a cone-shaped paper cup.

I have spent a few sessions just sitting there. Only answering when I was asked a direct question, because the whole thing has definitely felt like an exercise in futility. And, the folks on the other side have no idea what it feels like to be us.

After so many years of the same old, same old, how many times can you say and do the same things? I think it's only natural to feel like that. I also understand that it's necessary for difficult child, but at the same time, I think why? And, has it really made a difference? And, I think, okay, so I've just burned 4 more vacation hours and nothing ever seems to change. It's like if someone could have recorded our most early sessions 7 years ago and our most recent one, would there really be any difference?

Gets pretty discouraging sometimes. I'm with you.

Rocking chair sounds lovely, though.

Hang in there.


Well-Known Member
I know I feel that for some of these kids this is an exercise in futility. However because we are their parents we have to try everything we can just so we can say we have tried.

I am convinced that nothing we did for my son really made a difference except maybe his stint in his locked Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Nothing else made one iota of difference. It was all a waste of my time.


New Member
So true. I always feel like I know more than the therapists. Most of them live in a bubble, have no clue how hard this life is. I have been through so many docs and hosps, therapists, programs, treatment centers etc.. Everytime we start something new, whether it be a program or new medications, I always have hope. I think finally this is going to do it. Yeah right. Then I wake up and pinch myself. Im like you now, everything is old, nothing has good results. I often think - why even bother. So disappointing. But what else are we supposed to do? It is very hard to keep the hope alive. I find myself just going through the motions out of complete desperation. All the while knowing in my heart It's never going to work!!!! But then I'm such a pessimist (sorry know i spelled that wrong). Can you tell? I am a big hypocrit (probably spelled that wrong too), I put on a good face for my difficult child and always tell her to never ever give up, It can only get better and all the other cliches that are all such C**P. So I'll tell you the same thing. It CAN only get better, NEVER give up!!! lol lol

Hang in there.


Well-Known Member
Staff member

I don't think that therapy ever helped my difficult child. She fooled most of the therapists and didn't like the one that actually saw through her manipulation so she wouldn't cooperate with her.

I think it was just money down the drain. The only thing that seems to have helped my difficult child is letting her go it on her own and find out things the hard way. Of course, that wouldn't work for the tweedles considering their age and the trauma they went though before they came to you.

Still, I wonder how many therapy success stories there are out there. Sometimes I think it is just a big scam. Can you tell this is a sore subject for me?


hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Add me to the group...I often have wondered "Why bother?". Most of the time difficult child couldn't care less if we're there or not and, in fact, I'm certain that she pretends that everything is just fine to the psychiatrist...meanwhile she's broiling under the surface with anxiety and mania/depression. It's been especialy frustrating this past year as difficult child has tried some negative attention grabbers and the psychiatrist does not call her out on them. In fact, she won't even let on to difficult child that she knows difficult child is fully of boloney and instead the psychiatrist speaks to me about it on the phone when I call HER out on it. Ugh. It's like a constant 2 steps forward, 1 step back. When I think of all the money I've pretty much pissed away on therapy for difficult child, it really annoys me. But, at the end of the day, if it helped her in any small way then I'm thankful for it.

I wish I could have back all those saturday mornings and weekday evenings though.


well, at least we are all in good company! difficult child 1's therapist was so awful--not that I think it really would have made much difference, but I wish I hadn't paid her all that money! I really disliked her, she was arrogant and bossy and spent at least half the sessions talking about her own family (she of course being the perfect parent). She kept telling me, "you get overwhelmed"--well, duh!!

difficult child 2 actually has a good therapist (recommended by difficult child 1's therapist, of all people). I think he is helpful but she also is serious about getting help with her problems. If she wasn't, I doubt he'd be any help at all.

You know, the advice is always to get your kid into therapy but after some point if the kid isn't buying into it I think it is a waste of money and you may as well stop.



Active Member
We started with therapy when my son was 8 years old and diagnosis'd with ADHD. Between age 8 and 20 we went thru too many counselors, therapists, in-house counseling, medications, medication combos, probation, juvie, jail, RTCs, hospitalizations, and much, much heartbreak.

My son will be 22 in three weeks. We have no relationship with him whatsoever because he "can't trust us." He doesn't work, has a beautiful son for whom he does nothing, etc.. He is just existing.

Yes, I did believe at the time that the "experts" were right. Now, years later, it has made no difference whatsoever and has fractured our relationship with our son.

Would I do it again? Never in a million years. Unless the child buys into them having a problem, you are dooomed to failure.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
In many ways I feel blessed - the tweedles haven't been able to manipulate the tdocs or the psychiatrist very often. And when they've tried I've corrected the situation & was listened to.

However, this has been so slow .... all the same thing each & every session.

Our tdocs are experts in the field of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), trauma & adoptive situations. They are partners & work well with our family. They also know just how burnt out husband & I are.

wm's therapist is an adoptive parent - a parent who knows the family of different addresses situation due to her own adopted child. kt's therapist is an adoptee - understands the situation from the child's point of view.

Yet I wonder, just how hurt my children are versus permanently scarred. I just do not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

by the way, I love those rocking chairs - it's comforting.


Well-Known Member
I stopped taking difficult child about 18 months ago because he just kept
regurgitating the same issues over and over again and the various
therapist kept acting like it was the most important thing they
ever heard. Finally I said to the new school therapist "I really
do appreciate your caring and concern BUT believe me difficult child has
already discovered that his past traumas draw attention. It is
my opinion that it is time for him to ask help in moving forward
and not rehashing the past." difficult child was present and kinda smiled
as I said that. I turned to him and said "Son, you and X can
meet as many times a week as he chooses but you know and I know
there is NO value in rehashing your childhood with your Mom and
her sorry boyfriend...NONE."

Truthfully, noone seems to know how to help him move forward. I
don't know anything that I haven't already implemented. on the other hand I
change the subject the minute he begins to refer to the old days.

It cost me thousands of dollars. It's over. The future is sure
to hold many's time to prepare for growth. DDD


Active Member
Yea!!!! I didn't know that others felt the same way I did. I thought I was the only one who thought therapy was futile. I thought I was the only one ready to smack the tar out of the therapist for being stupid, petty, or patronizing!!! I thought I was the only one who felt like I had the degree in psychology, not the therapist!!! And I thought I was the only one who was burned up, washed out, and without hope for difficult child's future!!!

I think we are on our tenth therapist in difficult child's lifetime......AAaackkk...!!!
I am serious.........I just sit there and stare into space, as I watch the dynamics unfold of difficult child's antics trying to make this poor therapist squirm in his or her chair....and I try and disassociate - because if I don't I might act on my urge to throw my own, special, difficult child mommy tantrum (not to be confused with my own, endearing, Amber, tantrum).


The chairs at difficult child's therapist are wicker and not uncomfortable, but not incredibly comfortable either. However, she has a little fountain going and I've been known to fall asleep.

difficult child works on resource building in therapy. She does sand therapy so she doesn't even realize she's doing anything. I don't know how it works, but I've seen a difference. But I probably get more out of it than difficult child because it makes me see things in a new way and, thus, affects my response. It modifies my parenting which then has a big affect on difficult child.

Prior to this therapist though, I have often felt like it was just futile. We stopped going several times because it was getting nowhere. Either difficult child had completely manipulated the therapist or she was extremely antagonistic toward them. This is the first therapist that has earned difficult child's trust who doesn't fall for her crap.

ETA: It was difficult child's therapist that suggested seeing me individually from time to time because she could see how stressed I was.

I can understand how you feel sometimes like it's all a lesson in futility and the damage vs. hurt. We can only hope that repetition will make these things stick. I know that your situation with your difficult child's is much different than mine, but sometimes you just "fake it until you make it". On a much simpler scale, when you're feeling bad you make yourself smile anyway. Then all of a sudden you realize the smile is genuine and not forced. And you're not even sure when it happened or how for that matter. Am I making any sense? If not, we'll just blame it on the medications... :grin:

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
It's a comfort to know that I'm in good company. :angel: What can I say - we do what we must; everything available for our little wonders.

Maybe just maybe, it's time to start scheduling naps during these therapy sessions. Can any of you sleep with your eyes open? :smile:


New Member

A nap during sessions sounds good. Or, it would be very nice if we could all meet somewhere for a cup of HMJ while the younger set enjoyed their counseling.

We'll set up a quiet room somewhere - bring your rocking chairs. I'll bring the coffee.

Over they years, we have been fortunate enough to have a great outpatient therapist whom difficult child loves. Problem with that is that nothing ever changes - and because difficult child really likes her and deep down is a people pleaser, he will often tell her everything is going great or gloss over the not so glamourous details - completely defeating the purpose, as far as I'm concerned. Then, when I join them, she tells me "difficult child has said everything has been going great - is that your take on things, too?". And there I sit - choosing my next words carefully.

UGH. I don't think the therapy he has been through and continues to get is harming him in anyway, but I am also not too sure he's gleaning anything useful out of it either. Truthfully, I think easy child is getting more out of her weekly lunch meetings with the school psychiatric where she gets to talk about living with difficult child and problems with her fellow 8-year-olds.

So, who wants a latte before I sit down in this rocking chair?


I don't go in with difficult child. Don't know what they talk about, or are working on. Once therapist called me, to inform me that difficult child hates me. Other than that, if I were in the room difficult child would not talk at all. difficult child likes him, and that is rare. I think all the time that it gets us no where. Feel like the medications get us no where either. But on the other hand, it gives difficult child someone to open up to, even if he is not completely honest, (I believe he is honest) gives him an out-put. Someone he can say things to that he would never say to me. I did not invite therapist to IEP today, however HE told me SW invited him. If he shows up without me inviting him, I will tell him so. Will also not continue seeing him. We will then give up on therapist's.
medication's ...somedays ready to call it quits. Deal with what we need to deal with.
Other days worried about how difficult child really feels, and if medications help.
yet still otherdays, want to drug him with everything they've got. lol (just kidding)