Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not Impressed with the Therapist

At the end of last week we met with our new therapist for the first time. My reaction... I’m not impressed. He was nice and gave us 50 minutes which was great, but as my son said, “He went off topic a lot”.

Throughout our meeting the therapist would stop the discussion to quiz my son about his knowledge on stuff, such as the function of the kidney, then for the next five minutes go into great detail about the kidney, another time it was a lecture about doing homework, but ending with him discussing how in the future we will be watching tv with actors in our rooms outside of tv screens. The list goes on and the minutes slowly passed. Unfortunately when we finally got to what I needed to talk about, we were out of time and my son was terribly bored. I can understand that he may have been trying to connect with my son and make sure that he understood what we were discussing, but for our preferences he spent too much time talking about stuff we don’t care about.

What also bothered me was that he expected my son to just sit still on a couch, facing him and just listen. This seemed to be torture for my son, at least he could have let him build legos or color, he had the supplies around him, but it was off limits to my son. It was also annoying that he started to scold my son if he tried to hold his toy he brought. I think he would’ve had a better response from my son if my son could’ve actively done something while they talked. Our old psychiatrist was great about this. Usually he would play catch with my son while they talked, it was a great way to get my son to feel relaxed and willing to participate.

So at the end of the appointment, my son and I left feeling disappointed but we’re willing to give it another shot when we meet next week and he reveals his plans for us on how to help with homework triggers, explosive behavior and discipline. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my eye open for someone else if this doesn’t work out. I have to say, I really miss our old therapist, we had a good thing going.


15 comments:

  1. Hmm...I wonder if the therapist was in some way testing your son's ability to be still? Does that question make sense? I know that as an adult sitting for 50 minutes with no stimulation is excruciating. I can get bored to tears in times like that. I do hope that your next appointment is more productive and if it isn't...get outta there quickly!

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    1. I was wondering the same thing. I could see that my son was uncomfortable, but he wasn't bouncing away. I think more than anything he was bored and uncomfortable talking about his list of issues. But the therapist mentioned ADHD, then gave us a long lecture on it. But ADHD was ruled out a long time ago through our old HMO through doctor, teacher and parent screening. If you spend anytime with him, you'll see he doesn't fit into the ADHD category. It will be interesting to see what the therapist says next week.

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    2. I have a dual diagnosis of ADD and Bipolar and that situation would have made me crazy. The fact that your son could handle the sitting goes to show he probably isn't ADD but I am no doctor. On the other hand it is very common to have ADD and Bipolar at the same time.

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  2. Mama Bear....I would run as fast and as far away from that therapist as I could. Making your son sit there and listen without fidgeting with a toy he brought of engage in another activity is a huge red flag in my book. It seems this therapist wants to do plain talk therapy with your son. With the experience I've had with my son...that isn't going to work. I hope you are able to find another therapist that understands your son's personality better.

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    1. You make a good point about "talk therapy", it seemed that at times my son was getting lectured. I remember thinking... how is that going to help?

      What kind of therapy have you seen that works?

      I talked with one therapist last week that does lots of interactive therapy, she said it is what works best with kids, but she doesn't accept any insurance. Bummer!

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  3. Hi, I stumbled across your blog & think its awesome! I recently started blogging about similar issues and have been looking for other "mom bloggers" that share my pain! My son is ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, ODD....life is stressful, hectic & chaotic! Please come visit me at http://wts2011.blogspot.com/. I look forward to following you!
    Jo

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    1. Hi Jo Jo,
      Thanks for checking out my blog, I just joined yours as a follower! I look forward to reading more!

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  4. I have never posted before, but your words have helped me in ways you will never know over the past few months. I have also prayed for your family and cheered you on throughout it all. Today, though, I could not help but feel disheartened by the experience you had with the therapist. My son has ADHD, but I question a mood disorder as well. He lasts about 2 minutes, tops, just sitting there, and I have never had a psychologist or psychiatrist who didn't allow him to play, such as with the little kid toys in the corner. He is 10 y/o, so he isn't that young. Therapists are well-known for bringing in their own issues to the plate, and I think you should go with your gut feeling and start searching for a new one. For instance, my son/daughter's psychiatrist clearly has his own problems, as he is either extremely fidgety or extremely relaxed during visits, and he has horrible personal skills. But, he does what I need of him, so I look past it. Otherwise, I would move on. This type of person likely has his own attentional difficulties that will not get better with time (i.e., what lead him to the field in the first place). It isn't just your son, but you as well who needs to trust in his decisions, which are already wrong for you. I would also suggest seeing if you could work with a psychologist, rather than a therapist, who likely works with cases more like yours. I wish you luck, and I hope I am wrong.

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    1. Thank you so much for posting, I love hearing from readers. I agree that we have to trust our gut feelings. I think that is where my disappointment was coming from, in my gut it didn't feel right. In fairness, I think I should give it a second chance and see what he has to say after reviewing our case. But I will cautiously move forward. I do think I am going to call this week before the appointment and see if I can see where he is coming from. If he has ever worked with bipolar kids and how he plans to work with my son. Maybe that will tell me all I need to know.

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  5. Oh, that doesn't sound good. We need to find a therapist as well and I am kind of dreading it. There are so many bad therapists out there and so many who don't have a clue about how bipolar works. I really feel the bad ones can do more damage than they ever help - same with psychiatrists. It's tough.

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    1. You’re so right! It can also do damage to the parents who already are second guessing all we are doing. I’m curious, what do you look for in a therapist?

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  6. Run from that therapist. Do not give him the benefit of the doubt. He does not understand your son or your family.
    Please do not waste time...he sounds horrible. Look for another therapist. This one may lead you down the wrong path.
    From what i have read about your son you do not have time to waste, you have a complex and complicated situation and the therapist seems clueless.
    The reality is that you are interviewing him...go with your gut. You did not like him. Your son did not like him. Don't look for the good in this therapist...look for a therapist who knows how to do the right thing for your son.

    Could you ask the psychiatrist for someone he works with?

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    1. You make some very good points. We did get the referral from the psychiatrist, it wasn't someone he knew, just a person a client mentioned as being good. I talked to another therapist today, he sounded great, but again doesn't accept insurance. I’ll keep my search going.

      Has anyone worked with a Christian Therapist? One that brings God into the session?

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  7. I'm with a couple of your previous posters - RUN. Trust your instincts. Good grief, you've been at this for a while- you know your son, AND you know what will make a good therapist. Don't waste time being polite, get him to someone with skills. Besides the fact that I am in very similar shoes as you (children with extreme mood issues), I work at a children's hospital and I can tell you that ANY therapist, doctor, specialist, etc. who works with kids is supposed to know the basics of childhood behavior and be prepared to accommodate a child's needs. Toys to play with, not lecturing, discovering what the patient needs.....all Therapy 101. Good luck!

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  8. I concur, move on from this therapist. Therapy that doesn't engage your son will not do him any good. Any good therapist would see that your son needed to hold the toy he brought and would possibly use that as a way to break the ice. My son's psychiatrist also does his therapy and we had a talk a while back about how at this age, 11, he's probably not emotionally ready to handle talk therapy, even if he can understand it cognitively. And that this is an especially difficult age for boys to engage in a therapy setting. When you are interviewing therapists, ask if they have other clients in this age range.

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