difficult child's therapist - frustrated

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterby, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    We finally found a therapist that difficult child really likes. Me...not so much.

    I've never met with her by myself. She has the neuropsychologist report, but no verbal history from me.

    difficult child has moderate to severe paranoia, moderate to severe anxiety and depression - which she is flat out in denial of. In addition, she has a rather skewed perception of reality. AND she's extremely egocentric.

    difficult child has always been dependent on me for everything. The story I've shared in the past about how she could tie her shoes at the babysitter's for a year before she could tie them at home, is one example. She's gotten better as she's gotten older as far as taking care of some things for herself. But, she is completely dependent on me for her happiness. I have been repeatedly told I am the source of all of her unhappiness.

    So, difficult child goes into these therapy appointments and shares her journal. difficult child has shared part of her journal with me and it's all about how I did this and she's miserable or how I did that and she's happy. The thing is - besides the fact that she absolves herself of any responsibility - is that she forgets the happy times. She also has an art journal that she keeps and she told me she has way more sad pictures than happy ones. Until she went and counted them and they were even.

    So, there's the background.

    therapist calls me into a session, with no warning, and wants to talk about communication skills. :hammer:

    I have bent over backwards for this child. I weigh my words sooooo incredibly heavily (bad grammar, I know) because she is so hypersensitive.

    therapist asks us if we have any rituals. That we should say, "I love you" every night before going to bed. :mad: I do. I either get no response or a mumbled, "You, too", that is barely audible. I mentioned that and difficult child said, "I've told you I don't say that kind of stuff." therapist asks how we greet each other in the morning. Well, difficult child comes into the kitchen and doesn't say a word. I tell her "Good morning", and am either ignored or greeted with a glare. difficult child says, "I'm not in a good mood in the morning."

    And I'm called in to work on communication skills??? I live it everyday. I already know what it's like.

    You know what? I am sooooooo bleeping tired of being the one to make all of the concessions. I am NOT going to bend over backwards anymore when difficult child just completely absolves herself of any responsibility, yet wants to put all of the blame on me. I'm just not going to do it. I'm sick of it.

    And why are we dealing with this when there are *much* bigger issues at hand. I *did* address why we were coming to see her - which included the paranoia, anxiety and depression - at the first appointment.

    So, at the next appointment, I didn't go back with difficult child. The therapist asked me in the waiting room how I thought the last appointment went. I told her that I would have appreciated some warning and that it bothered me that I was the one that had to set the ground rules that "what is discussed in therapy stays in therapy" (because I was not going to rehash it or fight about it all night). That should be her job. She seemed taken aback. I was much more tactful than this, but she seemed shocked that it would bother me.

    I'm not doing the 'poor, wounded child' thing.

    And, yes, I'm angry. I'm angry, frustrated, drained and exhausted. I am tired of living the same scenario day in and day out.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I know with my difficult child's therapist I am free to make a "me only" appointment any time to discuss his progress/issues. What I find odd is that the first session was not with you. How does therapist know anything about difficult child? Was there any communication from anyone? Does she at least have any test results?

    Since difficult child likes the therapist so much you are kinda stuck. If you find a new therapist she will probably sabotage it, or not even go.

    I think maybe an appointment with just you at the appointment. It sounds like the therapist does not have the whole picture, and maybe you need to let her know it.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh, wow- this sounds like my frustrations with tdocs I'd tried with difficult child. I'll fill you in on what I have figured out so far. 1) If they are to be the difficult child's therapist, they like to get to know them first- I guess they think they can figure out the parents' perspective- but also, I can see the point in the primary "relationship" being between the therapist and the difficult child. 2) Most of them move next to bringing the parent in and addressing some "issue" that a parent considers inconsequencial and makiing the parent feel like they've been doing something wrong, when it's the parent feeling like the kid has been slack on that issue. (I have come to wonder if this is a strategy to get the parent to concede so when a bigger issue comes up the difficult child is expected to concede, if it serves to make it obvious to the difficult child that they are really the one slacking on an issue that they have complained about to the therapist or that the therapist noticed, or if it's just an "introduction" to family therapy that the therapist really believes is needed.) 3) In our case, it ALWAYS lead to more problems at home between difficult child and me- to the point that going thru this typical process became out of the question. Some families have had great success with this but I have no idea how. I always thought it would help me a great deal if the therapist filled me in on what these steps were but that never happened.

    I feel for you. Are you comfortable enough with the therapist to call and discuss it?
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    difficult child 1 hasn't been in regular therapy for a couple of years, since she was 11. At that time, I went in regularly either before her session or in my own session to tell the therapist what was going on.

    If I were to send difficult child 1 to the therapist again, I would want to go in and tell the therapist what I thought they should be working on (anger management, in her case). I think what would happen is that I would go in and tell the therapist that but they wouldn't really stay focused on that as much as I would like. I did take difficult child there once last spring, thinking they could talk about difficult child 2 and the affect it had on her but I got the feeling they didn't really talk about that. Apparently, difficult child doesn't feel it affects her too much or she had a more important social issue at the time.

    All that is my way of saying, I don't really think we can control too much what they talk about in their therapy. Hopefully, your difficult child's therapist is able to see that difficult child only talks about the negative and causes a lot of unhappiness for herself and will eventually get around to talking with her about that. I would hope she is taking note of the fact that you do already say "good morning" and "I love you" and that difficult child is the one that needs to work on her communcation skills. Maybe she is talking to difficult child about that after you leave or in the next session.

    Short of ongoing abuse, even people that really are "poor and wounded" have to get past it and make their own happiness. Surely that would be a basic premise for a therapist?

    I do think some one on one time for you with the therapist would help you figure out what is really happening.

    You, but probably not difficult child, might be happier with CBT therapy. My difficult child 2 is doing that and it is very focused on specific issues and how to handle them. I have seen more results from that than all the years of talk therapy with difficult child 1.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You need to go to an appointment without difficult child. Go in just by yourself and INSIST on telling the therapist the history, things like the shoe tieing and her insisting on being dependent on you, everything. Let the therapist see how it REALLY is, including her perceptions about being happy (include the art journal, even take it if you can).

    Then INSIST on seeing the therapist for 10 minutes to give an update on how difficult child has been - 10 ninutes every session. Or every other session. But regularly. If therapist won't do this, change tdocs. The therapist NEEDS your input to teach appropriate skills to difficult child. She did difficult child no good service by not seeing you first. A difficult child has NO ability to impose real life on her behaviors. So the therapist cannot get a view of how things really are until you meet with therapist.

    Don't pay for any more sessions until the therapist has a session with you. You may have to force the issue. If therapist is unhappy, who cares? She is there to do a job, not to be insisting you make her happy. She still has a job to do.

    I think this therapist is irresponsible to not speak to you first. In a session confront her with this. Ask her WHY she didn't speak to you first. If she has a good reason, OK. If not, start therapist shopping. The therapist has to work for YOU and difficult child. Not just for difficult child. If she is just listening to difficult child moan and wail, and not keeping difficult child accountable for her own behavior and happiness, then she is no good and needs to be replaced. Even if difficult child moans and wails about having a new therapist. difficult child's total happiness needs to be placed on difficult child NOW, before she becomes 18 and truly unmanageable. So push the therapist to work WITH you, to set goals and let you know what tehy are, or find a therapist that WILL do those things.

    I am sorry that difficult child is not making progress in taking responsibility for her own happiness. I agree you need to put the responsibility for this on her shoulders. It would not be preparing her for life on her own if you didn't push her to take this on her own shoulders.

    Vent, Whine and Moan as needed here - we are here and we understand!!
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I know I need to schedule a one on one appointment with the therapist. I'm afraid that is just going to open a whole can of worms with difficult child. If it were up to me, I wouldn't tell her. She will feel like it's a betrayal of sorts. And I don't know how the therapist will feel about keeping it from her - or how diplomatic she would be about telling her.

    I'm just tired. So tired. Bone weary exhausted.

    She came home from glass class tonight with her PCA and was giving me attitude. The PCA told her to stop; told her she was being negative. Told her that she is always putting herself and everyone else down and that she needs to be more positive. difficult child says she can't help it; it's her personality.

    I'm soooooo tired of the helplessness she exhibits. "I'm not in a good mood in the morning." "I told you I don't like to say those things." "It's just my personality." Like that's that and there is nothing to be done about it.

    I've spent 14 years trying to help her realize that something can, in fact, be done about it, but she won't have any part of it. If it is going to take any effort on her part, she's not interested. I just see her living her life as a miserable person.

    And I don't want to live with a miserable person.

    Is that horrible?
  7. Hey, flutterby -- here's my rule for dealing with people who make everything your fault: The only way to win is not to play.

    Why should a teenager be cheerful and polite if she can make her mom juggle and dance by being a sourpuss? You're probably her entertainment.

    I like to point out that happiness is a choice. "You're as happy or as miserable as you want to be, but it's not my job to convince you to make the better choice." Yeah, I'm mean. ;)
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are NOT horrible. You are teaching her to cope with the world. She will eventually have people around her who choose to be. Not those who are paid to be, or who are bound by love. It will be a HORRIBLE awakening if you let this go much longer.

    She will be in shock, but better now than later. Be cheerful, demand respect, the "It is just my personality" is a cop out. Tell her so. Tell her that you EXPECT her to be nice, polite and cheerful and anything else will result in loss of your services and provisions.

    It will be hard, but this has GOT to stop. At least you must stop dancing to her sourpuss tune. Because the real world won't be so nice, and will mow her down if she is like this. Better she learns NOW that being ugly has ugly responses from the world.

    Hugs. I know this situation hoovers. Go see the therapist anyway. Let difficult child be upset about it. If you don't go see the therapist, the therapist will continue being unable to help difficult child. Just take the next appointment that is already set as yours. Be matter of fact with difficult child. If she is upset, oh well. That can be HER problem, not yours.
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I don't dance to her tune. And I tell her repeatedly that she is the only one that can make her happy.

    Parenting is a not a popularity contest and she *knows* how I feel about it.

    I can talk until I'm blue in the face. She has to make the changes. She's not interested. And I'm not interested in being miserable. So, I guess we're at an impasse.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm not sure what a PCA is, but if it's like a therapist, I can see a little about why it isn't helping if this is the typical approach. I don't remember how it came up, but several of us in therapy before were discussing this with a therapist and some things were mentioned that always stuck with me. (Actually, I think they came up as we were discussing effective communication and 'fair fighting'.)

    Pointless things to say to someone that will make matters worse:

    1) You are AAA, BBB, CCCC (insert anything negative here)
    2) You shouldn't think XXX or shouldn't feel YYY
    3) You need to stop doing SSS - (for the 100th time)

    I'm as guilty as the next person for not always following this- especially after being worn to a frazzle after a few days of difficult child'ness. And we all vent on here and need to be able to get our rants out. But any therapist should be doing better and advising better, in my humble opinion. Statements like that aren't constructive crticism. The same points can be made in ways that suggests what (and how) exactly a person could be doing differently that would be better. (Except #2 because disregarding someone's feelings or thoughts is never going to get a better relationship.)

    I just think it is going to take telling her to "say this instead of this next time" or "do X instead of A" or "try ZZZ" and a lot of positive reinforcement/feedback when she does make any effort and she needs reminders that if she keeps portraying the same, she'll keep getting the same results including feeling miserable. If she is reefusing to try anything differently, any therapy is useless. All you can do is make sure she gets uncomfortable results from negative behavior. All JMHO, of course!

    As far as therapist, some are pretty particular about discussing the difficult child with the parent due to the difficult child having confidentiality rights and due to the therapist needing to keep the trust of the difficult child. At some age- 14 yo here I think- the therapist requires the kid to sign a release form before the therapist will discuss anything with a parent. I can see both sides of this- I would never want to feel that anyone went to my therapist and said "I want you to change this about her (me)" and the therapist actually start trying to do it. However, I also see the side that as a parent, we need to be able to discuss problems and strategies with our kids' tdocs. And it's a big thorn in my side that any dr will discuss difficult child with me but a therapist might not- but a therapist has to discuss things with people in the legal system about difficult child since difficult child is ordered mental health treatment.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  11. compassion

    compassion Member

    I actually was dealing with this today. Since difficult child has been out of the hospital May 15 she has been to this pyshcologist, this is the third time. I have been 2-3 times a week. I am trying to get difficult child gradually adjusted, in short spurts. I told t-doctor the last time and today, 20 min. with her and then difficult child ( a lot of denail/focus issues) take a break and we all connect. After 30 min., I knocked on the door. difficult child had been dealing (for her) pretty deeply.
    It is important though that I communicate what is happening ( there had been much chaos/drama last night and this morning) I think it is essential to be on the same page,to focus on what is essential.
    It does take time. Focusing on coping skills to deal with the extreme impulsivity of difficult child is key right now.
    For me, it is has been a huge deal just getting her there. Transitions are huge for her. I want to keep expectations realistic. We are dealing with basic safety stuff with her. There has been progress but it is eeny tiny baby steps. I am focusing on basics like taking her medications, her contacting me more, and communication and basic self care/health issues. Transitions are huge for her. It is exhausting and husband and I are putting our rest as a top priority.
  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    klmno - PCA is Personal Care Assistant through MR/daughter. She is just a support person who takes difficult child out into the community and helps her with life skills. She has also spent *a lot* of time in our home and see how difficult child behaves with me, as well as with others.

    I made an appointment for tomorrow with the therapist. It will be me only. I'll let you know how it goes.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hope the appointment tomorrow is helpful. Right now with difficult child's immaturity we are usually in his appts. with him. We have been lucky that they don't suggest we make lots of changes. With easy child's therapist we get that every once in awhile and every time we've tried things her way it has come back to bite us, however, easy child likes the therapist.

    Hugs, I understand how tiring and exhausting all of this is.