What should I expect from child therapist?

  • 10 Replies
  • 281 Views
*

Free2Bme

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 132
What should I expect from child therapist?
« on: November 06, 2019, 11:38:42 PM »
 I would like to know what others have experienced with counseling for their children, concerning the process.  From what I understand T's will speak to parent  for 10 min or so at beginning or end of session to "check-in" with parent about current issues/concerns with child. So, I guess this is standard? (In light of the complexities of the PF family dynamics, post-divorce, single parenting issues, this hardly seems enough).  Recently I interviewed a prospective T and requested that if I did use her for DD, I would like to have a ~monthly one hour session to discuss DD, just mom and T.  She was unwilling and said that would be a conflict of interest and that she would only discuss with parent when a client expressed plan to harm self or others, but would not discuss anything else without DD consent, DD is the client. 

I envisioned working collaboratively with T but maybe my expectations are out of whack. 
Is it just certain therapists that have this approach, should I seek "family" therapy instead?
What have been your experiences?

*

hhaw

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3130
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 08:55:53 AM »
Right or wrong, most Ts share important issues about what's going on with kids.... but not all do so when the child isn't present.   

Most of the time Ts try to do so with DD's permission.... with DD in the room, with DD listening, and commenting if necessary.  The things is, Ts don't want the child to STOP talking,  bc they feel they've been betrayed, or can't trust the T.

T is supposed to keep all discussions private, just as the T wouldn't speak to anyone about your private sessions.

The T refusing to have a session with you makes sense, in that it would be a conflict, particularly if your primary desire is to discuss your child's sessions.   My T won't see my children, bc of conflicts. 

It's not personal.  It's how Ts gain their client's trust, IME.  The last time my youngest dd's T spoke with me in front of dd, dd felt T screwed her, and said too much.  DD ended those sessions, and won't go back.  We're looking for a new T at this point.

If you're relaxed about it, and not pressing in, the T might be very forthcoming about the important things in your dd's sessions that can help you help your dd. 

If the T feels you're going to sabotage the sessions by ratting out the T for sharing private things.... that T is never going to share anything with you, kwim? 

Sometimes I get bits of important information when I go in and pay the bill.  Sometimes I have phone chats that are helpful, but what I don't have are discussions I repeat to my child, or anyone really.  I think some of the Ts have chatted with me, bc they see things I'm doing that negatively impact dd... .speaking mostly about eating disorder T. 

You can approach the T with questions about your behavior, regarding your dd, and information to help you help your child, rather than insisting the T tell you everything dd is saying, and see where that leads... maybe?

I know it's frustrating, but I hope this T is a good one.







hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

*

athene1399

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 955
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 09:47:50 AM »
IMO that's the norm. Without the kid's permission, they won't report anything to you unless there is something major (the harm to self or others).  We took SD14/15 (can't remember her age for sure) to a T appointment. The T spoke with us about our concerns at the beginning before seeing SD. Then said she would call us in later with SD if SD was okay with that. So If SD was not okay with that, the T wouldn't bring us in later for a group session with SD. I can't remember the lengths of time, but she spoke with SO and I privately, then SD privately, then all of us together at the end.  That was also our only session because SO didn't like the T.

Hhaw is spot on with it being about earning the client's trust. They want DD to open up and she may not talk about certain things if she thinks it may be reported back to you.

Have you asked DD if she is okay if the T shares things with you? Do you know if she would give consent?

But if you want to be an active part of the T, then family therapy may be the better option. That would be you and her together.

*

pushit

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 96
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 09:42:17 PM »
All 3 of my kids are in therapy right now, they see three different T's in the same office.  Generally, I will get updates from the T's as to how things are going and where they might see concerns but we don't discuss anything specific that the kids have said.  I have also had sessions with one of the T's to get her advice on how I can handle things better for my oldest (D9), and manage the relationship with my exPDw without putting D9 in the middle.  exPDw is manipulating the kids and likes to put them in the middle of our disagreements.  I'm trying to navigate this crappy behavior and keep the kids out of it, so I go to the T for advice and also try to clue her in to what's going on for my kids' sake.

In my situation they've been very professional about it.  The kids started therapy right around the time I filed, the T's made it very clear to us that they weren't interested in any of the bickering between us and they were only there to help and protect the kids.  I liked that approach, and I like that they keep the conversations between them and the kids private.  I don't need to know about it (unless it's serious, which thankfully it isn't) and their sessions should remain a safe place for them to talk about anything with no fear of it getting back to mom and dad.

IMO, it depends on what exactly you want to discuss with the T.  If you want your own sessions to get information about what the kid is telling them, then I think they should not allow that.  If you want to gain insight into being a better parent with a T who knows what your child is feeling, without them telling you private information, then I think it is a great thing and the T should be willing to meet with you.

*

Free2Bme

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 132
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2019, 07:51:24 PM »
Grateful to all for the feedback. It sounds like this is a normative practice, I can see the reasoning.

 I would never want to create distrust between DD and T.  I want to provide a place for her to be heard and equip her to cope with the situation.  DD has been expressing frustration that she doesn't think anyone would understand her family dynamics, she's tried explaining to friends at school and they don't get it,  "but your dad seems so nice/handsome/successful/etc", he is very covert.  She also doesn't have the benefit of an online forum like I do here, where there are almost identical stories to our own.

 I have never told her that her dad is "PD" or "Mentally ill".  When a response is required, I frame certain behaviors her F has as being healthy/unhealthy. (I'm referring to; rage, manipulation, lying, gaslighting, love bombing, etc.)  However, she has told me she believes he has "some sort of mental illness", she sees him clearly for what he is.  This is sad, but better than the alternative.

I want to have opportunity to add context to what DD would be telling T about family dynamic stuff, at least initially, and certainly to know what I can do different/better as a mom.  Maybe what I envision is more of family therapy, I would ideally like to bring in my 3 other kido's, but not sure if that will happen. 

Now to identify a T.  IME not all are equipped for PD-land.  I also have to get udpdxh consent, he has sabotaged all of my efforts to get T for other kids.  I feel I am opening up pandora's box once again, and this will put me back in his cross-hairs, this is so anxiety producing.  Nothing is ever simple.



*

hhaw

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3130
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 09:15:47 AM »
I would phrase the search for a T in a way that defines the goal as personal to dd....

dd is having trouble with peers, school, self esteem, learning to cope in a healthy way with daily struggles..... I would make sure the PD wasn't singled out, and the adult conflict wasn't referenced in any way. 

As for finding a good T.... one who specializes in trauma, perhaps has Buddhist leanings, and experience with addiction.

Good Ts come in all areas of practice..... LCSW, Psychologists, Psychotherapists.  My wonderful T wrote this about her style of practice:

"Speciallizing in anxiety, depression, trauma & addiction (13 years in recovery), I provide traditional therapy, intuitive counseling, EMDR, TRM, energy, spiritual & Buddhist psychology, & life coaching tailored to your unique needs. I facilitate you in hearing your own messages-mind, body & spirit to live the peaceful, heart-centered life of your dreams.
I use a strengths-based, intuitive approach and gently guide in quieting the mind and firing up the heart using mindfulness, meditation, etc. trained by wonderful teachers."

She went back to school to get her Masters, and her ability to identify trauma, address it, calm the brain and body to, teach US to calm our brain and body, and teach us coping strategies that provide more choice, and ability to respond in our lives, rather than react... is priceless.   

Maybe tell the PD T for dd is about something that embarrasses HIM.  Something he wants his child to get over, so it doesn't reflect poorly on him?

Not sure, but I wish you luck finding a good T.  They're hard to find, IME. Make sure you interview many, and don't choose one you don't feel good about. 
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

*

Whiteheron

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2638
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2019, 03:49:30 PM »
Both DD12 and DS16 are in T. Their respective T's have different approaches. Before meeting the kids, each T held a one hour session with me. Both T's are LCSWs.

DD's T sound a lot like what you mentioned. At the beginning of each session, whichever parent brings her to T goes in and talks about any issues/what's going on for about 10-15 mins. At the end of the session, the T will bring up anything I need to know about (with DD's permission).

DS's T does not speak to me at the beginning of the sessions, instead the T will bring me in at the end if there is anything that needs to be discussed (again, with DS's permission) or if there are additional steps I need to take to help DS at home.

That's it. The rest of what they say is private.
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

*

Free2Bme

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 132
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2019, 08:44:24 PM »
Whiteheron & hhaw, excellent and practical suggestions. 

I have anxiety associated with this and wish I could say that I was immune to fear of my ex, but it wouldn't be honest.  I feel so much guilt that I cannot separate this and put DD first, I also feel tremendous guilt that I was not successful getting T for DS's.  Here's why...

About 1-2 years ago I attempted to secure counseling for my other children.  I worked so hard while going through a nasty divorce and updxh undermined it every step of the way.  DS (scapegoat) was depressed at the time and self harming.  The week DS went into in-patient care, my udpdxh dumped younger two off with me and went skiing.   DS needed help and support, his dad told him he didn't need meds or his care provider,  all DS17 needed to do was "get his s#*@ together and get his soul right with God".  :stars:     Wow.

The following year, my other DS (GC), begged for counseling.  I found a wonderful T that specialized with boys,  Updxh would roll into town and make an appointment with T so he can present the loving supportive dad act, and try to make me look crazy.  He is a very polished exec and can play the part.  Afterward,  updxh would call DS every time we were in the car on the way to T to tell DS how he didn't need counseling, the T was incompetent, he (dad) didn't like T..... implying disapproval toward DS if he continued. DS15 refused to return to T and soon after updxh brainwashed GC son and took me to court for him. 

All of this really took a toll on me. I want counseling for DD but I feel like asking for his consent is like throwing blood in the ocean and jumping overboard. 

In our decree, my ex can refuse a T and we will have to go to court for an appointed counselor.

Yes hhaw, finding a way to frame it so it will motivate PD is ideal, but a challenge because I know he will ask me "why".  The only thing I can think of is if he were to look bad to someone he wanted to impress, this would motivate him to agree.
 To complicate matters, DD told him recently that she doesn't want to go on visitation anymore.  So, I anticipate that he would sabotage just to punish us both for this.  Because of course, he never did anything to warrant people wanting to get away from him.  :aaauuugh:

 If I say it is divorce issue related, he will decline it because he doesn't want anything about him to come out, if I say she's having issues at home/school (she's not), then he'll claim I am incompetent (I'm not) and take me to court for her.  He has sent CPS to my house before with a false claim, it was dropped. 

I plan to move forward on this, regardless. Hopefully, ex has moved on to something or someone more interesting in his life, and it won't be worth the bother.

Sorry for the mini-rant  :flat:


*

Whiteheron

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2638
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2019, 11:26:41 PM »
You're in a really tough spot. My stbx is also a smooth talking exec. When I first took DS to T, the only way I could get him to go was to promise to not tell his dad about it. By the time I had to disclose he was in T, I blamed it on "stress at school" (a lie). When stbx tried to interfere, the T had already heard enough about him to suggest to me that he may have a personality disorder.

stbx tried to block DD from obtaining T. Sabotaged the first few T's I had found and accused me of tainting them against him. Honestly, it's not like I had my pick of T's. I made appts with whomever was accepting new patients and had times available that would work with our schedule. In the end, he chose her T (who was actually someone I had called a few months prior but didn't have any openings at that time). He had no choice - the court was aware he was trying to block T for his daughter and it was starting to look suspicious. He didn't want me to meet with this T alone - we had to go in together and "present a united front." I called the T ahead of time and told her I would go in with stbx, but that there were things I was not comfortable discussing in front of him, so when these topics came up, I would remain silent. She then made an appt to speak with me separately from stbx, and offered him the same.

It was all a big mess. Now he doesn't even bother to take DD when it's his turn to do so. Now I'm the one taking her to all of her T appts, and stbx is blaming me for him not "being able" to take her because I have not disclosed DD's schedule to him (even though he knows her schedule and it hasn't changed for the last three years). It's always something.

Perhaps you could try to find a way to frame it such that your expdh thinks she is attending T in an attempt to resolve any issues she's having about going to his place for visitation? Make it all about him and how you care that your DD sees him in the best possible light, she just needs help getting through this "phase" etc. so that they can continue to have a loving relationship? You know him best and what would make him feel good about himself.
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

*

Free2Bme

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 132
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2019, 12:10:18 AM »
Thanks again Whiteheron  :hug:, you have great insight

I still struggle with disbelief about my situation.  It is so helpful to say these things here to those who have walked this road.  Thank you for sharing.

*

Penny Lane

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1026
Re: What should I expect from child therapist?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2019, 10:27:02 AM »
Free2Bme, interestingly my H had the exact opposite experience than everyone here. Both kids have been in counseling at various points. In both cases the counselor wanted the parents to be there. They shared strategies not just for the kids but also parenting strategies. Maybe it's because the kids were younger than those on here? I had kind of wanted the kids to have someone to talk to without BM there. Then the sad outcome was that she hated attending the counseling sessions so much that she canceled them and refused to give permission for the kids to go back.

I'm sorry about your anxiety. Sounds like it's founded. Always remember that you can just do your best with the situation at hand with the facts you know now. You're a good mom for persevering in getting your daughter this much needed help.