Finding a therapist

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have googled and googled and I can't find a therapist (psychologist or other) who provides cbt to adolescents with bipolar. Actually, difficult child might not have "true bipolar", meaning he might not meet the criteria of it being a lifelong problem (although the signs are there that it could turn out that way). Anyway, right now, he needs a therapist to help him understand the cycling going on with him (which means the therapist needs to understand it himself), help with coping skills, help me with parenting strategies during periods of cycling, help difficult child understand that his father's choice to never meet him doesn't mean difficult child is "bad" and is a reflection on his father, not a "fate" for himself. It would be a great benefit if this person could also help with the school issue. Why is this so difficult? I have looked in yellow pages, gone through NAMI and BiPolar (BP) web links and everything else I can think of. I can find therapists in other cities in VA but they are 2-3 hours drive away. I'm not in a rural area. Everyone I try here is just another behavior management- kid needs to learn rules stuff. There is just too much evidence here that although difficult child isn't a saint, he is cycling and we need some understanding and strategy. Am I the only one facing this problem?

    difficult child has an individual counselor now- he deals with typical teen stuff, which is helpful, but not getting to the root of the problem. Then I found one who claimed "he could help" (wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that) but he spends half the time looking befuddled and saying things like "oh, difficult child REFUSED to go to sleep" and the other half the time trying to get difficult child to talk because difficult child can't stand him. (difficult child talks his individual couns.'s head off). SSOOOO, I need to find a therapist who can help a little here.

    Just frustrated- and wondering if this is a common problem for parents of kids with mood disorders.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm sorry you're having so much trouble locating the right CBT therapist. I do think good ones are few and far between. I live in a large metro area and know of only two therapist groups that deal specifically with CBT. And I have no idea if any of the therapists knows specifically about dealing with BiPolar (BP) teens, although I suspect some of their clients have BiPolar (BP).

    Good luck.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Im sorry you are having so much trouble. Have you tried looking for DBT therapists? That might actually help him learn those coping skills you are looking for. On the other hand, for much of what you describe maybe a good general therapist could work out just as well. My therapist deals with just about everything with me and we dont use any formal method...we just work on what is needed at the time. I have done one group on sexual abuse and hope to soon get in a group for DBT but that will be in addition to my regular therapy. Therapy can be slow to work on though so I dont know how much progress you will see in the short term...especially with a kid your sons age.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    What is DBT? I'll check the link that smallworld recommends also.
  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Totally with you!!! Ours is good with BiPolar (BP) and CBT... but she did not advertise it! So how would we have know??? When we move to Tucson I worry about the same thing, luckily people are much more open about these things, so I am hoping word of mouth?
    I do know our therapist took classes after meeting us, she said she wanted to learn more and also took classes on EMDT since meeting us. So I wonder if you met a great therapist if they would be willing to take classes on CBT??? Work on it together? I know it would take time, but better than nothing or a 2 hour drive!
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    DBT is Dialectal Behavioral Therapy. It explores more the whys of what you do and helps you figure out how to move into a more level plain. Basically there are three parts to your "mind" that we use to react to things. One is very emotion driven, one is very logical and one is a kind of combination. Its kind of kooky sounding when you read about it but it really makes a sort of sense.

    Sort of like this: A bad situation where a teacher is picking on your son. If he reacts off the cuff by mouthing off or refusing to do any work, that is not a good reaction. If he holds it all in and thinks...Oh she must be right, Im dumb and should do these things, then he is applying skewed logic. If he uses his "wise mind" then he can look at the situation, ask for clarification of the problem and attempt to work out a good ending to the situation.
  7. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    I don't know if this is a similar problem or not but for my difficult child, when she's angry, she's very stuck and can't get out of that emotion until it passes on its own. The dr.'s and therapists we've dealt with have a very hard time seeing that and want to give her more coping skills. Unfortunately, when she needs those coping skills, she can't access them. My analogy is to look it like a broken cd player. You can buy all the cd's you want, and some of them are probably the best cd's $ can buy, but if the cd player is broken, it won't be able to play any of those cds. Our in home support people just keep wanted us to retry behavioral plans that have already been tried and retried and retried. So, as we refused the latest retry(token system), they have now decided that husband and I are the problem. We're feeling kind of done for the moment and are going to go in a different route....which is another thats been tried and retried but we're willing to give neurology another shot.

    Good luck, I hope you find someone that will be helpful soon. If so, we'll all be wanting to hear:D
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    DBT doesn't sound that far off base from CBT- it could be useful for difficult child. Thanks!

    Smallworld: I looked on the website you posted- all I saw was a list of symptons for ADHD- did I overlook a link to find tdocs?

    I guess I could hit the phone book and start calling those who say they work with depression and anxiety, since none here list bipolar. That route makes me a little nervous though. It has been recommended by all involved (and I agree) that it would be better for difficult child to have a male therapist (just because of his specific issues), and that makes it even more difficult to find. I think I had a thread similar to this last year, or at least months ago, and people listed other links. I was having so many computer problems at the time that I couldn't access the links much. I'll see if I can find it now.