Yet another therapist sez they aren't qualified to help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Took difficult child 2 back to the university hospital where we thought we were meeting with a psychologist who specializes in kids with severe ADHD and mood disorders to discuss any possible behavior managment tips I could use to help smooth things between difficult child 2 and the rest of the family while he's getting his medications sorted out. He also needs help with his self esteem because he's constantly annoying everyone so he's the target of a lot of hostility right now.

    Apparently, this therapist says she could advise us on medications to try, but is just starting her training on behaviorial interventions as of TODAY! So she excused herself to go talk to her supervisor about what to tell us! Sheesh!

    In a nutshell, I'm not doing anything wrong with how I'm managing difficult child 2 (that was probably the best thing I've heard anyone say to me in a very, very long time, especially after mother in law was out here and decided that difficult child 2's problem was inconsistent and incorrect discipline -- since he's always just fine with her and only acts up when I'm around)... but the bad news is that there's nothing more I can really do that will change things for him until the medications are right, and that will just take pretty much the rest of the summer.

    She did talk to difficult child 2 for a bit, and gave him some good things to think about for himself -- like the fact that he'll probably always be better than most kids at seeing the "big picture" when he's on the field for soccer (although he'll probably also always frustrate his coaches because it will be hard for him to listen to them). He really listened intently to her on that.

    So I'm on to my list of other therapist possiblities after this second strike-out... left a message for another hopeful this afternoon.

    I took the advice some of you gave about scheduling more activities for difficult child 2 and signed him up for swim lessons which started today, and a sports/fitness camp that will be a good outlet for his energy -- he goes to that with easy child in two weeks when difficult child 1 is away for his Crohn's camp. I've also been trying to get everyone outside daily for a few hours of vigorous activities -- yesterday was biking in the regional park, today we hit the beach for body surfing in the late afternoon. I think it's helping a bit for all of us :smile:

    He's up to 750mg Depakote now and we'll probably do labs again at the end of next week and I'm pretty sure he'll need to go higher on his dosing. He is still soooo out of control with his impulses, still gets very angry sometimes, but that seems to be getting a little better. Even husband, who normally is fairly clueless about stuff like this, thinks he's seeing some improvements in him. I sure hope we're on the right path. Life is just too hard right now.
  2. Alisonlg

    Alisonlg New Member


    I know all too well the relief and frustration of hearing, "you're doing everything we would tell you to do!"

    I hope the Depakote continues to help and that as it reaches a theraputic level you start to see a marked improvement! And hopefully you can find an experienced therapist to give you some great behavior strategies.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Maybe I spaced out during reading this message ( I am at work, and did get interupted - how dare they?! LOL).

    I do not see why you need to find a new therapist. If difficult child listened to her, why not keep bringing him to her? So what if he needs different medications - if he can connect with a therapist and actually work on his own improvements - sounds good to me!! He will need other interventions than medications. He will still have to work hard to be all that he is capable of.

    Again, sorry if I missed something from your post. I am sure you can clarify for me if I did.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think the therapist is being honest. There isn't much you can do until a child is stable. You're doing a great job with what you have. Remember that Depakote takes at least EIGHT WEEKS at a therapeutic level before you see any real changes. It is unlikely to kick in before that. I know it takes patience but, in my opinion, a mood stabilizer is very worth it.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I know her lack of experience worries you, but the university is a TEACHING institution, in my experience I found better care there than anywhere else, when you've got a student who is prepared to ask for supervision. It takes longer because they need to be double-checked. You can be sure that someone much more capable was looking over that therapist's shoulder and will be overseeing difficult child's files.

    Getting medications right WILL take time, whoever he sees. And she DID give you some much-needed validation.

    If you feel that difficult child is not being handled with appropriate care, then I would ask her, "I am really concerned that my son get the best treatment and not be mucked around. I know you need to learn somehow, but given my concerns should I take my son to someone private and more experienced? Or are you being supervised as you counsel my son?"
    Be honest. She needs to know how you feel. You need to know where you stand.

    Back when contact lenses were still new and prohibitively expensive, we had a cheap option - we could see the final year optometry students for a consult, on condition we put up with their (supervised) ineptness. I actually found that despite their inexperience they were so nervous about getting it right that they were extremely careful. All measurements were checked by a fully qualified and well-practised professional and my first contact lenses were a fraction of the price as well as state of the art.

    I've also had difficult child 3 assessed by university students (post-grad) who were developing a new assessment system for autistic kids. It was part of a uni research project and these girls were still learning, but they already had enough knowledge (more up to date than most therapists we had seen) to give difficult child 3 a careful, thorough assessment which gave us what I feel was the most accurate IQ score to date. You can't get an artificially high score, but if you assess a kid wrongly, you can score them too low. So I saw their high score for difficult child 3 as a measure of their care.

  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thank you for the hugs Alison :smile:
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!


    Now that I think about your post, you do have a good point about the therapist being able to at least get difficult child 2 to listen to her and so that could at least be helpful to him in working on his self esteem. This therapist just seemed to be apologizing the whole time and telling me she couldn't do anything and that we should go elsewhere (I had mentioned the associate of difficult child 1's therapist who we were told has experience with difficult children, but figured I'd at least give the university folks a shot at things).

    Apparently there has been a recent mass exodus of therapists at this teaching hospital, according to the therapist we saw, due to a bureaucratic issue. That's all I know about it.

    If I got nothing else from her, the validation that I'm doing everything I can was worth the visit!
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    MWM thank you -- I need to keep hearing that and remember it!
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    As you can see, I'm just as inexperienced with what to expect at a teaching hospital! You're absolutely right about this.

    QUOTE]And she DID give you some much-needed validation.[/QUOTE]

    That alone was worth the trip!

    I think she was very forthright with me about what I could expect from her and that's why she urged me to keep looking for a therapist with a better fit for what's going on right now with difficult child 2.

    Maybe I'll hear from the next one today...

    Thanks so much for the encouragement!
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gvc Mom,

    It can be frustrating trying to find the right therapist. I also agree with MWM about not being able to do a lot before being more stable. I know that is how it has been with my difficult child who has seen tdocs since he was about 5. It can be a long process-which I know isn't what you want to hear-remember we are here for you. I'm hoping the next therapist is the one! Hugs.
  11. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    I know how frustrating this can be !!! How long has difficult child been on the deptakote. Is this doctor nearby? Are you supposed to see him/her weekly for therapy for difficult child or just medication managment? If the doctor's close and the two seem to have bonded, I'd stick around for a little bit while you are waiting for the depakote to start working. Sending hugs !
  12. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    First, I am sending additional {{{hugs}}} out to you immediately. I know too well that feeling of hope you get, even though you try not to build yourself up, when you get to meet a new doctor of any kind. I always think "new eyes, new ideas". And then, I also know that feeling of bottoming out at the end when the "new guy/gal" tells us that they "are sorry" or that they don't believe they can be of any more help than we've already got. Very discouraging.

    I do agree that the Depakote may still be the right route - it just takes longer than any of us would like - to show itself, really.

    Be sure to take care of yourself during this time so that you can continue to fight the good fight. :warrior:
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, Sharon. It's comforting to know I'm not alone here and that we're doing all we can. :smile:
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I hadn't realised that she actually advised you to keep looking... that IS disappointing. It could be due to a number of things, not least being they've lost so many fully qualified therapists that there are no longer enough supervisors; or, they can't take anyone on for long-term management, they can only give you an initial assessment and an indication of what sort of specialist to look for.

    I remember the days of telephoning around Sydney trying to find someone, ANYONE, who would see my three younger kids all together, to try to find some sort of reasonable diagnosis for them. By seeing specialists individually, I felt they weren't getting a complete picture. I almost cried with relief when one doctor, a GP with a special interest in these sort of learning problems, said he could see all three kids the same day. I threw them in the car and drove like crazy to the other side of the city (Sydney is HUGE, in area) and the bloke just sat there. he DID say that a friend of his was a psychologist who could assess all three kids, she normally charged $x per child but at his recommendation she would only charge $y total and see the kids sooner. Nothing else AT ALL. As I left he shook my hand and said, "You really do have your hands full there. Do let me know if you ever find out what's wrong!"

    Although I was angry at being mucked around YET AGAIN, I still rang his friend the psychologist. Turned out they'd met briefly, once, she had an 18 month waiting list and he had NO RIGHT to tell me he could arrange a discount in any way. And she didn't assess kids like mine, anyway, Kids with learning problems, she said, needed someone more expert. She couldn't tell me who. And so our search continued.

    Something I DID do, which I recommend you do also, is document everything. Keep a more informal diary listing your own feelings as well as what was said. In years to come it will be a very useful tool.

    And you might like to do what I'm now doing, and write a book about it.