Issue at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - Need your input - PLEASE

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DavidH, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. DavidH

    DavidH Guest

    Hello all, I have been around just reading, trying to take some time to think of this on my own and let me tell you it is confusing me I am back and forth and may be making a mountain out of nothing. I also want to be upfront and say I only have ONE side of the story.

    First Justin is doing fantastic, as of 2 weeks ago he earned the chance to have his medications reduced by 1/2 and he has handled it just fine. With one exception, he seemed to be depressed, not very active and very tired. Our therapist says she is not sure if it is medications change in his body or what, give it more time.

    Well Saturday was Family day he seemed to be fine much more like himself I really saw no depression or anything different, he was talkative and acted pretty much same as other family days.

    Well just a bit of background, as most of you know we are working with Justin on the BM issue. He of course does allot of discussing his feelings with his group and counselors. He has grown very close to one of the supervisors I have known this for a number of months, no big deal all the boys seem to attach to their own favorite counselor at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Justin has made comments to me the this one (known in this post as ms. h) She is nice, she seems to really care, she helps me with this and that, I hope she is there to check me in (from home passes) ect...

    He first a short time after I arrived was talking about ms. h and saying he would like to be able to keep in contact with her after he is discharged, I told him I see no problem with that then he said well they have a no contact contract for two years after discharge counselors have no outside contact with past residents for privacy issue reasons, would I be willing to sign a letter giving permission. I told him if they allow us to do this then yes I would. He said cool OK.

    Well Saturday later after lunch Justin came to me and asked if he could "take a risk" with me... (this is a new learned skill for him, he is open to asking/telling me something intimate to him, WONDERFUL to me as it shows he is growing inside to me)

    He expressed, Dad, I think I am seeing how my BM really is and am ready to give up on her. But when I am 18 I may find her and only to ask why, but more so because I want to see my half brother and sister. I said that sounds fine to me if this is what you want to do at that time I will back you up.

    Then he says, I feel very close to ms. h she has always been there for me, she seems to really care, she is different than the other counselors/supervisors. ---- I said, awhh you have a crush on her? --- NO, I feel she is more of a Mom to me than that, (now I know Justin's "Crush" on a female look, and this is very different. So I believe him

    He said it feels different I have never felt this from an older female before and only had this feeling from you and Grammy in my life. But now I feel it from Ms. h

    OK - so my minds is thinking fast and maybe my mouth opened to fast too (I am a man after all) ugh, I say.... Well Justin now you see why I have told you many time, you deserve the love of a Mom, now you see and feel how it could feel if your BM was what she should be, he just smiled and said yes. (man I think I messed up there!!!!!!!!!!)

    He had told me also that no one knows how he feels about ms h but that one of the boys did find out, and also one of the male counselors found out as well. And this boy AND the male counselor had told Justin --- She is NOT your Mom and never will be and you will not have contact with her after discharge!

    A bit later he seemed upset, I asked what was wrong, he said well I am concerned, I think that the counselor is going to make me talk in in front of the group about my relationship with ms h ... it is private to me Dad and I will not do it. I asked, well Justin is it not OK to discuss it with out going into details of your feelings, just explain that you feel close to her and that she is just someone you feel you can be YOU with and talk to? He said no - this is very personal and I will not do it if they make me. He said can I talk to the therapist and let her know that I do not want to be confronted with this. I agreed.

    So I go to the therapist, I tell her I feel I know why Justin has been seeming depressed and lethargic the past week or so.
    I told her what he said about ms h (she said oh really OK now this makes sense - he is always trying to find time with her and reaching out to her we thought it was just a "crush" I told her no, I can tell this is no crush like he has on his probation officer (funny I know, but she is HOT)) anyway back to the story. She asked me if I knew the counselor name that had told Justin this, I said he told me but I had forgotten his name. The more important thing at this moment is he does not want to be confronted about this at this time, and i feel his desire to have something private for him is OK and should be respected, she agreed and said she will watch the situation.

    So -- I am not sure how this is going to pan out, I can see a huge heart break coming for this boy.... He finally is seeing his BM as what she is.... and (to me) is replacing bm with ms h

    Again.... I only have his side of the story.... however a kicker - she has been gone for about a week and will be gone for another week.. (vacation I think) well... she gave Justin a sweatshirt before she left, he was wearing it on family day... (they all seem to give one another clothes out there).. (out grow so they pass along to other boys)

    Does any of this make sense... what kind of explosion am I looking at ????????? or do I just accept that my boy is growing and maturing and seeing his mom as I see her?
  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Teens are volatile so it's anyone's guess.
    First, I doubt there is anything said in group discussions that hasn't been heard or discussed before.
    It is certainly not unusual for a resident of an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to have a "safe" person. It's their anchor during a tumultous time. (we actually called our difficult child's safe person 2 or 3 times after difficult child came home for advice and asked him to talk to difficult child)
    I wouldn't be surprised that dealing with feelings regarding b.m. could be entangled with his attachment for ms. H. If she is a professional she will handle this in an approved way. Be the support and wipe his tears. Let Ms. H be the bad guy. For most of the rest of his life, he will hit brick walls and fall apart. Our job is to help them pull themselves together without actually doing or being sucked in to fixing things.

    I don't think you should over think this one. Let him process and work this out. He is undoubtedly going to have a slip up. He may lose priveledges but that's part of the process of going forward.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It sounds like the counseling over BM has opened up all those feelings in him and now he has somewhat transferred those to ms. h. She'll become aware of this and should be able to deal with it appropriately, with Justin, not in front of a group. My guess is that he will end up a little "heartbroken" but going through that process with ms. h might actually be a part of going through the process of getting over the heartbreak from BM not being around- sort of "learning how to let go" in a healthy way. It is good that he told you what was going on.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It really is pretty common for kids to form an attachment to a counselor. That he's trying to keep it so private has me concerned. Most kids are pretty open about who is their favorite counselor and what type of relationship it is (unless it is a crush). It really is okay for him to feel Ms. H is a mother figure to him and to care for her. I wonder why he wants it to be so private, though.

    I'd talk to the staff about the no contact rule. It really can be helpful to have a staff member available when a child gets out of Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I know my daughter still talks to one of her counselors. I didn't like the guy, but that was my problem, not hers. She liked and respected him. He's helped her on occasion.

    In the meantime, as Fran told you, don't over think things. Some of it he really needs to work out on his own. It might be good to have the group try to force him to talk about Ms. H. If nothing else, he may find ways to handle a situation where he doesn't want to discuss something but others do. This is his issue. Let him do the legwork -- talking to his therapist, group leaders, etc.

    And glad to hear he is doing so well. Let's hope he is learning many tools to help him at home so that the next time he leaves home is because he is off to college or ready to join the adult world.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911


    My son has been in and out of a lot of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) facilities. The one that comes to mind is the one closest to our home that he spent numerous times, for varying lengths at. He first went there when he was around 9.

    When he got a little older he was back there again for another deescalation period and met "Barbie". I don't mean this in a bad way - the woman is stunning. Snow white blonde hair, thin, sweet, soft-talker, big blue eyes. And there was another counselor there - Short, heavy set, short died brown hair, not what you would say HOT, but pretty. My son developed an attachment to both. I felt the Barbie one he had a crush on - but it wasn't that at all - they just clicked.

    He's written her, called her over the years and at first I thought it was a little weird, but the I thought -He is trying to find someone he connects with. If it's her or the other one - who cares? If he has a crush on her? Who cares?? He could have crushes on worse women, who are NOT going to steer him in the right direction and give him good sound advice.

    I've never interferred in my sons relationship with ANY of his counselors past or present that were being a healthy influence on his life. In this world if you find ONE person you "get" and who get's you in a professional capacity - I think you are very lucky. There are SO many out there that are not even worth mentioning. In all the years - I can only name these two women as someone my son "understood".

    I think the place is wrong in their assumption of making a Mom connection - that ship has sailed. And while we as adults can get stuck on stuff like thinking he is searching, yearning, waning for a Mother figure - he may just see it as someone cool who, happens to be female, who happens to be hot - and who happens to GET HIM.

    Making him stand up in front of everyone is WRONG. My advice to him would have been that he doesn't have to discuss this at all. It's between him and her. BUT - I would caution him that while it's perfectly fine to have a professional relationship with this particular Hottie (not use that word), he also needs to understand, and accept the advice of the rest of the staff -

    Encourage him to get as much as he can from ALL resources - and if he has a special problem - go to her.

    I think I'd call her myself and explain this so SHE can explain it to staff. REally REally.

  6. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Sounds like classic transference to me and he should absolutely not be forced to discuss it in front of others.

    I would question the knowledge and professionalism of the counselor who said he would have to discuss it with the group.