This was a wake-up call

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by halfquarter, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member


    I just got back with my son from an appointment with a new psychologist...She told us she could not help him and did not charge us. This was 15 minutes into the discussion. He was open and honest and told her everything he felt. I have never had this happen before, but she was almost twitching when he spoke to her.
    She seemed so kind and gentle...and said she had nothing to work with- with my 18 year old son as he focused on how awful everything is and what he cannot do.

    Now I have to let go and let him get the help he himself.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hint: get a MALE therapist. Preferably one who is used to dealing with extreme male depression.

    Honestly. In theory, it should make no difference. In reality, the approaches are or can be extremely different. Our son went nowhere with female therapists - and at least one of them was excellent. Progress came with an experienced male therapist.
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  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm just floored by this. I can't imagine a psychologist listening to a young man telling her he feels like life is terrible and he's ugly and worthless and within 15 minutes saying, "I can't help you." How does she justify that when, from what you've said, he's clearly got issues with depression and self-esteem?

    Am I missing something?

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My guess is he thinks the kid needs a psychiatrist not a psychologist and he won't go. Anyone with those serious issues needs medication and a therapist can't do anything for him if he won't comply.

    Of course, if that is actually what happened and he was not referred to somebody else, one has to wonder If he did not offer an alternative, I would certainly keep trying to find help, but I'd go with the psychiatrist and skip the others, whether the kid is medication-phobic or not. This young man needs medical intervention. In the U.S. that is basically what is used...if extreme sometimes ECT, but that is a last resort. If the young man said he would not try medicine, there is nowhere else to send him most likely.For pity sakes, in other countries kids use pot to self-medicate. in my opinion it's better to use carefully monitored psychiatric medication. There is no stigma in the U.S against that. If carefully monitored, you do not turn into a zombie. If it's the wrong medication for you, you switch until something clicks. Depression is a biological problem, usually inherited.

    Without my medication, I'd be dead. That is not an exaggeration. It might not be a bad idea to tell him he had to see a psychiatrist and try medication or you can't help him and he has to leave. He sounds very suicidal and that requires intensive intervention. He may also have other mental health issues, beyond depression, that needs diagnosing and treating. It is not normal for an average looking kid to think he is that repulsive. He needs an evaluation, not just talk therapy. That never helped me at all.

    Let the psychiatrist take charge of his treatment and tell you his diagnosis and what he thinks he needs, then let your son decide to try to get better or stay as he is. A ton of psychologists with no medications has not helped him. He needs to up the ante of his treatment. He can't keep living thinking he is is NOT true but it is a very depressive way of thinking...and dangerous.

    Interestingly, many medication-phobic patients have no trouble using illegal drugs to make them feel better. You don't want your son to go there one day.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Halfquarter, my personal reaction is that the therapist was unprofessional in her behavior. Certainly, she is not obligated to accept a patient whom she does not believe she is equipped to help. But to dismiss him 15 minutes into the session? In 50 minutes time she could have helped you both to develop a game plan; she could and should have given you specific referrals to other practitioners, who could help your son. And still not charged you. Her ethical requirements mandate this. (The issue of money received or not...does not abrogate her responsibility.)

    That this person revealed herself for what she is within 15 minutes...and never gained a position of trust and responsibility in your lives, is a blessing, in my book.

    In an aside, look carefully at specific recommendations of treatments for your son or diagnoses offered, from people who have never met him, and are not professionals. Nobody from afar can responsibly assess a specific situation. But there is help for your son.

    You are starting with a real advantage: your son is open to talk; and while it seems he resists the idea of medication, he is open to help.

    Why not get referrals from your pediatrician or family doctor of several possible practitioners and interview them to determine their qualifications, prior to involving your son.

    What happened with this Psychologist reflects only on her, not on him. He needs to understand this. Your son is a champ. And so are you.
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I want to add something halfquarter. A competent psychologist is equipped to handle negativity and hopelessness. After all, what is their job?

    You may want to read about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. These are short-term approaches that start where you are...and go from there. There are also spiritually-based therapies.

    Your son is willing to work. That is the important thing.

    The point I want to make is this: Nobody goes to a psychotherapist's office because they are already happy and optimistic.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I've done CBT and DBT as I have mental illness. Both are good. I don't know if they could have done any good without my medication. But they are not short term. Nothing is. A person with a depressive disorder has to work on it and can slip. It is often, if not mostly, a chronic condition unless it is brought on by a tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one. I have spent forty years in the mental health community and getting and staying better and maintaining good health requires tuneups and continuous work. This is NOT a bad thing. It's just that when you start to feel down again, and few depressive episodes that have been intractable such as this young mans, never return, you need reminders to use your coping skills and DBT/CBT and whatever new methods will come out in the future. It is easy to forget them when are feeling down.Depression tend to be a recurrent condition so it is very positive to learn how to handle it, much like diabetes.

    I personally feel CBT and DBT (which a bias toward DBT) are very good, but unworkable if you are still in a state of depression. It is hard to explain unless one has actually dealt with this degree of depression. Mine started as a little girl, but really hit a bad slide at thirteen and continued until I found the right medications along with good therapy and a self-help group and a tremendous desire to improve. I hope the poster's young man has the same intensity to heal that I did. I still slip, but wipe off the seat of my pants, bo back for extra help, because I never did quit therapy, and I hold up my chin again. Therapy is not a weakness. It is a strength to ask for help. Like the diabetic example, it is a physical brain disorder and should be cared for lovingly by the person who cares about himself/herself just like if he she had diabetes or epilepsy.

    It is paramount for somebody with severe depression to be evaluated and diagnosed by a psychiatrist, the MD guy who has the smarts and knowledge to figure out if it is just depression or bipolar or something else. To be honest, psychiatry is an inexact science however and I have had many diagnoses...msot of them with some merit....unipolar depression, manic depression (I don't think this is so), anxiety disroder (yes), panic disorder (yes), borderline traits (this was one doctor and iffy), soft neurological signs that are NOT Aspergers but mimic some of it (yes)...lots of stuff that I had to learn how to deal with one step at a time. Oops...forgot disassociation/depersonalization, one of my scariest symptoms of anxiety. I spent ten weeks in a psychiatric hospital when I was 23 back when your insurance actually let you get well before you were discharged (although I'd say I was better, not well).

    I had a family that dismissed my mental illness as bad behavior and to this day, although I am functioning well, both my brother and sister do not forgive my infrequest and mostly early-in-life mentally ill behavior and my mother hated me all my life because sometimes I acted like I had a mental illness (duh), although usually I did not. Time and hard work were the key to getting better, but I refuse to back down and discount my medication. I always refused to take anything that fogged my brain or made me feel like I wasn't me...I was very proactive in my treatment. But I also refused to give up on me. Whatever it took.

    This is obviously my experience. I have been in so many self-help groups and have spoken to so many people who have had mental health problems and we struggle and we work HARD and if people who were not mentally ill knew how hard we worked, I think they would respect us more for pushing on so hard. Life is hard. Life is harder with a mental illness. But, if you are willing to follow treatment and also help yourself in other ways (exercise, good eating habits, sleep, extra therapy when you need it, reading great self-help books, self-help groups, catching a slide before you actually slide) you can live an awesome life. I feel my life is awesome with my only regret that my family of origin did not and never will understand the trials of mental illness. I have done so well that my real family (husband and kids) have not seen mental illness in me. I am able to ask for help and control it before it shows. At one time, I could not.

    Poster, in your son's case, I think you are compassionate not to make him leave your house. I do believe he is mentally ill and I also believe with all my heart that he can recover if he is willing to do the hard work it takes. I will let you and him deal with the medication question. It saved my life. But that is an individual decision we all have to decide upon.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Half quarter what do you make of her response? What did he say after the appointment? How are you today?

    You did a good thing in getting him there.
  9. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi HQ,

    We had a similar situation. When our son was at his worst, age 17, a male psychologist who had been seeing him now and again admitted that our son's problems were "above his pay grade" and to find someone else! I had thought so anyway, but was actually relieved and grateful that he was honest.
    We were referred to a male psychiatrist through our son's high school, and he was excellent. That doesn't mean my son had an immediate breakthrough and became well; it took a lot of time, patience and cooperation. My son is still a knucklehead most of the time, unfortunately.
  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    While being honest about one's expertise and level of ability is a good thing, and it is good that the therapist told you she would not be a fit, the way she seems to have done that sounds really unprofessional. 15 minutes to the session and without referring your son further to more fitting professionals, whose expertise is more r3elevant to his issues, may easily leave your son to feel that there is no hope for him or that he really is so bad or bizarre or something that even therapists can't deal with it.

    I too would find a competent psychiatrist to start with. Even though he is against drugs, he does need a diagnosis and treatment plan and psychiatrist whose expertise comes close to type of issues your son has, is a right person to make both of those. Psychiatrist is also able to discuss with your son about all the treatment options, also the drugs and the real pros and cons of those. That may change his mind. Or not. But he needs a diagnosis and treatment plan and latter can be done to respect his wishes about treatment. It's never 'only one possible choice'-type of thing.
  11. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

  12. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

    Somewhere out There,

    You sound so together, smart and brave. Your posts are always uplifiting, engaging, and right on. I am happy that you shared your personal experiences with me as I feel there is hope. My son has a 168 IQ, has skipped 2 grades, and researches everything. He is so bright that he overthinks everything which is what spins him into a depression. He just can't help it as that his how he is wired. All your conditions that you said previous counselors said that you had...same here. It is uncanny. I will not give up and I am happy that you found at least some peace in your life...after many years of trying to get help. That is what I want for him. The world needs great minds like yours and my sons!!!
    A lot of people don't get it...but you really do.
    I will keep up the journey with him.
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  13. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

    I am trying to find him another one today. Thank you.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever been tested for Aspergers by a Neuropsychologist? He so reminds of a super smart Aspie! And that is NOT hopeless. It does impede their ability to understand and read people and sometimes to converse well and often it gets in the way of making friends. It is often mistaken for Social Anxiety.

    This requires specific testing and in my opinion neuropsychologists and the best get-to people for Aspergers.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If he IS "Aspie", then ideally if he wants to start with a therapist, he needs one who understands Aspies. They do exist - harder to find. Regular therapists just end up going head-to-head with an Aspie because they think differently.
  16. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

  17. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

    Yes...he has been tested 4 times, and the answer is no..

    He has been so sweet the last few days because he says that he wants to change and has to do c.b.t to help with his depression. He even mentioned taking wellbutrin.

    When people are around him and he knows them, he is engaging and quite witty, and he can read their expressions....and he gets the joke and gets the innuendos. He said his problem is this: He has to uncheck himself out of society and check himself back into society. His body dysmorphia controls him. His loneliness and depression control him.
    The internet and computer only made everything worse as it became his lonely world. He has not been on those forums for people like him...he said he is done with that. All it is was was gloom and doom when he was posting to the forums for people that were depressed. He has been hopeful and I have been more understanding. However, it has only been three good days!

    Tomorrow, we see another psychologist...I just keep plugging away.

    Everyone wants to be so intelligent.I really think that high IQ people have it worse than high EQ people. It is a struggle to be so smart. Always overanalyzing and looking for perfection, which of course,doesn't exist.

    Thanks for your insight. You are always thinking and have great suggestions.
  18. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

  19. halfquarter

    halfquarter New Member

    Hard to get appts. so quickly, but am taking your advice and getting a male therapist. I think he will be able to relate to him.

  20. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    My son also has a high IQ and his intelligence can be his own worst enemy. He has never grasped the concept of tempering his intelligence with common sense.
    He thinks just because he reads a book on a subject and can retain and recall the information that he's an expert on the subject and yet his life is a mess.

    I do hope you can find a therapist that your son will not only feel comfortable but one that can really help him.

    Keep posting and let us know how things are going.