Has anyone felt totally judged by a child therapist?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by PiscesMom, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    I am just curious. Is it just me?

    So my daughter agreed to do intake at a psychiatry/therapy practice. One of those larger places that take medi-caid. So it was like a parent interview w one lady, 3 intake sessions w this other therapist. My daughter agreed, because she wants medications. She, to be fair, does not want therapy, as it has been pretty negative for her. Therapists don't understand her, but teachers and psychiatrists do.
    The second appointment, near the end, the intake lady asked my daughter about therapy, she glared, and said she didn't want therapy.
    She walked out. This was after like an hour of personal questions.
    The intake lady was very withering, and kept saying I needed therapy, and needed to rethink how I dealt with my daughter.
    I mean ...am I just a completely ridiculous mom, or was she being mean?
    My daughter's school's principal said that practice had a lot of kids who just play games with their therapist, so they can qualify to see a psychiatrist. When I asked if she could do that ...OMG, did I get a very cold lecture.

    The reason my daughter doesn't like therapy, is they tend to see her fear as her being a brat. But you have to see a therapist to get medications. No teacher or psychiatrist ever sees her that way, but therapists always do.

    Has anyone ever had a very negative experience like this? My self esteem is very shaky right now. If I was wrong, how was I?

    I guess she just shouldn't have therapy and can't get medications.
  2. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Therapy is so so so subjective. No therapist would be that staunch and negative. Certain therapies and therapists work for some and. It others. Therapy is based on a positive trusting relationships. It would to me like the therapist you engaged with was an epic fail in that department. Please continue to try different therapy and therapists. It does help if you get a good fit.
  3. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Thanks. But I won't. I can't.

    She stays in her room a lot. She has bad anxiety and social anxiety.

    Two years ago, we had a therapist thru the county, that was nice. She sometimes found us free things to do, good ideas for outings w my daughter. We were new in town, so it was really great. Then, she went on long term medical leave, and my daughter was assigned a new one. My daughter glared at her at the first appointment, headphones on her ears. If you knew her, you would know that is just what she does when she is frightened. She is very very fragile. And obstinate. And extremely anxious and sensitive. Her new assigned therapist said she was a "narcissist" - after seeing her for like two minutes. She was so mean. She told me her ex was also a "narcissist" and showed me pictures of him.

    After that, her old therapist came back, but now she gave me a funny look, and told me I was unable to connect emotionally with my daughter. She sternly told my daughter not to wear headphones. Or draw.

    I still took my daughter to her again, because I wanted her to have her medications. I wanted her to be functional. Then I changed therapists, this time to a man, in the same practice. He wasn't mean and judgmental, but he had a superior attitude. He insisted my daughter's issue was defiance, not anxiety.

    This is not what her psychiatrist and school teacher thought. They understood her, and never took her fear personally.

    I quit the practice. So she can no longer see the psychiatrist that knew her, though she was great, thought I was a good, responsive mother to her. And honestly, I don't think the medications were quite right.

    So we went to a psychiatrist who I didn't know. He prescribed the prozac, plus Risperdal, which I was afraid to give her. He didn't see me as a pathological disaster or whatever, or her as a brat. He saw her as someone with runaway anxiety. But I didn't go back because I was afraid to give her Risperdal.

    And now this. A cutting insult from this lady. She is like the intake supervisor for a large practice for children on medicaid. She was very withering, very contemptuous when I tried to tell her what we needed. She won't let my daughter see a therapist who will promise to only play games with her, not make her do "therapy" which is a big trigger for her now.

    I have to give up. My daughter and I can't go thru this anymore. I cried, and my daughter said Remember this, mom, remember how mean these people are.

    She doesn't want another therapist.

    I am not sure what my mistake has been, what I could have done differently. Maybe just NOT bringing her to therapists, when she understands they don't understand her, and are not helping her.

    Honestly, I hate myself for putting her thru all this.

    Yesterday, we drove to her school to drop off homework I had picked up for her. She is too afraid to go to the school building. It is a therapy school, full of other anxious kids. Two teachers came up to the car, and chatted with her a little bit. She told me last night, as I cried, that she was feeling better about going to school cuz the teachers seemed so nice.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    • List
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    A psychiatrist can give medication without a therapist. Or a doctor can prescribe the psychiatric medications. My NP does.

    Those therapists sound horrible. They dont understand autism at all. None of them. Social anxiety, with various degrees of severity, is a part of autism. They are trying to fit autism into psychiatric issues. I am sorry.
  5. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Thank you! Still headachy from crying. I will have to look for an independent psychiatrist again, I guess. Her doctor can't prescribe. I think it is regulations cuz she's on medicaid.
    Yes, that is what I will do. I will talk to her school. Ask for advice. I am sure it will be a long waiting list. She was going to see their psychiatrist yesterday, but now cannot.
  6. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    Yes. I have had a couple negative experiences and several positive ones. The ineffective ones thought they had to split the family to support the child and of course you feel judged in that context.

    Splitting the professional judgment from family insight as in your case seems even worse! Judgment plus the kid distrusts the professional.

    The best ones could validate everyone while making sure the necessary messages were received and the necessary advocacy shown moment to moment. Hard to do with angry kids and traumatized, reactive parents. Truly a gift.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  7. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    I am now thinking about that - that for I have accepted placing us under the gaze of therapists who, even if they are ok, see us as somehow defective. Maybe I have seen myself that way too. I am so full of self doubt, and question myself way way too much.
    Maybe there is NOTHING WRONG WITH HER. Maybe the cure for her social anxiety is medications, and acceptance and reassurance, not therapy. A super nurturing school, like she has. Teachers that come to the car, say Hello, and take her homework. Message: You are ok, and we accept you.
    Neither of us need to be torn down by therapists who don't understand autism.

    I mean, honestly, we didn't want therapy, just medications. I mean, a gentle therapist that played cards with her would have been nice, but oh no, I guess that is too much to ask!
  8. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Yeah, that happens so much I hardly notice. They don't listen to me at all. I didn't notice because it was intake, all questions. I didn't know she was judging us so harshly.
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Therapy is usually not helpful for autism. Therapy requires a lot of back and forth communication and trust and autism stifles the ability to commuicate well or express feelings or to trust strangers. It never did diddly squat for Sonic. He didnt know how to answer the therapists questipns. It was "yes" "no" and "i dont know." Autism is a neurolical disorder, not a psychiatric problem. For us interventions for autism worked a lot and well. medications did not. Therapy was a waste gor Sonic.

    Sonics social skills improved with time and intervention. He will never be a social star, but he can be around people and with those he knows well he is very friendly. Less so with strangers. Still does not like to be in a room of strangers.
  10. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Wow...ok. Why don't I know this? It suddenly seems so obvious.
    She has a lot of anxiety. But I was thinking...we wouldn't have gone down this horrible road if not for medication. We have some stockpiled, so are good for awhile.
    Does he have anxiety, and if so, does ok with no medications?

    I guess I thought this lady would figure things out, and she would suggest interventions of some kind, that they would offer. I don't know what I was thinking.

    What does that mean, actually, interventions?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The psychiatrict community tries to trear autism as a mental health problem. IT IS NOT. IT IS A DIFFERENTLY WIRED NEUROLOGICAL DIFFERENCE! It can co exist with, say, bipolar, but the autism part must be addressed seperately and medications dont help all autistic people. They often (not always) tend to be super sensitive to medication. My son is. ADHD medications and antidepressants made him act uncharateristically hyper and Prozac made him crazy. All anti psychotics, like Risperdal, caused very dangerous side affects. Yes, he was medication sensitive.

    My son started early iterventions at infancy, helping him swallow. Helpig him suck. This was called speeh!

    He was born with drugs in his system. Although nobody diagnosed him with autism until age 11, they must have suspected it because he received very early typical autism interventions. Yet they refused to say autism.

    For him he was put into Speeh, occupational therapy (for his sensory sensitivities), physical therapy to help him hold crayons and such and social skills classes to get him used to new children. My son had sky high anxiety. He could not transition from one activity to another without a meltdown and this was anxiety based. Busy places caused him to cover his ears and have a meltdown. New places freaked him out. Even a change in routine or a toy out of place made him nervous. Anxiety and autism go hand in hand. It is part of autism, not seperate.

    An advantage we had is that Sonic liked school. At 3 he took a bus to early education in the morning and Headstart in the afternoon. He gained so much from all this, but he still had challenges. So he got Occupational Therapist (OT), physical therapy, social skills and extra help in school. It all helped.

    medications never helped him. Never said all autistic kids dont benefit from medications, but Sonic just could not tolerate them. Yet his psychiatris keep saying he had bipolar and kept prescribing drugs that, for him, doped him up.

    At 11 we got fed up. The kid did not display moodswings or meltdowns anymore and we doubted the bipolar diagnosis and wanted to have a fresh diagnosis done by a different type of professional.

    A neuro psychologist, used by a friend, came to our attention. We liked that he did actual testing, not just fast observation and diagnosing that way.

    His ten hours of extensive testing was different from no testing at all from the psychiatris(s). They were unwilling to consider anything but bipolar, even if our son had no moodswings.

    neuropsychologist said son had high functioning autism and suggested changes in school and treatment. A year later he was off all medications and mainstreamed, doing well, and he never looked back. I am angry at me for allowing medications that didnt help him. medications are not the only thing autistics need, even if they meed medications. And i dont think therapy is always necessary or even helpful unless the therspist is dang informed about autism vs. just anxiety or social anxiety. Yes, if you are autistic, they are part of the disorder! I dont trust psychiatrists regarding autism.

    This is our story and my sons triumph. He grows stronger and, dare I say, less autistic acting each year. Autism is a developmental delay so they mature later. My son is 24 now, lives alone, works and is now looking for a computer job. He has exceeded everyones expectations, something I think he will continue to do.

    I thank his early intervention team, his Special Education teacher and marvelous aide, and his neuro psychologist and Sonic himself for his great life.

    I hope this helped in some small way. All autistic people are different. I think psychiatrists dont get that autism is not a mental health issue and they try to use mental health treatments for it. And overmedicate sometimes. You cant get rid of autistic behavior with medications. Some more violent autistic need medications to calm them down. That still doesnt chsnge them from being autistic though.

    Get a neuro psychologist to test her...that is my last suggestion. Forget the psychiatrist for now.

    JMO and experience.

    And tons and tons of luck!!
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  12. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    thank you so much! it has really been helpful.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Your welcome!
  14. ahhjeez

    ahhjeez Active Member

    I'm really sorry that you and your daughter felt so judged. That's not cool at all and I don't blame you for not wanting to go through it again. Both my son and husband are autistic. My son was in play therapy for many years from the time he was probably 3 to 10 or so. She worked a lot on social skills with my son. He was her first autistic kiddo and she became very interested in children on the spectrum and eventually began working exclusively with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids. She was really wonderful with him. Very nurturing and kind and was kind of winging it therapy wise. She did a lot of role playing, social stories, work on his anxiety and even brushing if she thought he needed it. This was all in conjunction with anxiety medications that we started at about the age of 3 or so as he began having issues with phobias and Occupational Therapist (OT) both privately and through the school. His functioning was quite impacted and the medications made a big difference. That being said, that's just my son. Every autistic person is different. We tried therapy again after a disastrous senior year of hs. It was not a good fit. The therapist didn't have a really good handle on autistic people and was intent on trying to force social interactions on B. Finally B just said to me "Mom why is he trying to change who I am?" That was it. We were done. I don't ever want him to feel bad for who he is because he's awesome. : ) He does see a psychiatrist for medications now. She works out of an autism center that is a division of a major hospital here in the Northeast. They only treat autistic children/young adults and so far it has been great. Prior to that his pediatrician was prescribing his citalopram and clonidine (for sleep issues). So you definitely can just have a prescribing doctor and no therapy. Again, I'm really sorry you felt judged and belittled. I know how hard anxiety can be and it's so painful to watch our kids struggle and feel helpless.
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Great post, ahjeez. Very important for autistic adults/kids to accept thrmselves. Therapists often try to turn them into someone they are not. Sadly some parents fo too.

    My son is comfortable in his skin. So is yours. I cringe when austistic kids have parents who try to change them and put them in therapy to stop their autistic manifestations...worse when a therapist doesnt know better and complies. Its not possible and must hurt the child very much and make child feel different in a bad way.
  16. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    SOT, I totally agree and feel bad for taking her. They pressure us to take kids to therapy. That intake lady kept saying medications and therapy work together. By now, I wasn't going to make my daughter go to a therapist, I guess I was hoping for understanding, and maybe a more casual approach. Like a friendly, affirming therapist that just makes my daughter feel good about herself. Or a social skills group that she enjoys. Maybe just once or twice a month just so my daughter could also see a psychiatrist.

    It is the way medicaid is out here, because research says medications and therapy work together. Sigh. But I will find an independent one. Maybe it is what state you are in, and what insurance you have?

    I wish professionals, teachers, etc, would tell parents of kids w autism that they didn't need and won't benefit from standard therapy.

    This weekend was emotionally intense for me, and you all helped so much. It is so easy to trigger my mommy shame, and her withering look, mean tone of voice, and all this "you need therapy" really did that to me. I was at a very low point self esteem wise when I posted, and now I feel so much better about myself, about my daughter.

    aahjeez and sot, I read parts of your answers to my daughter. She said "they are so nice." I feel bad, cuz I am the adult, I should protect, but both of us have been kind of battered by the system. But no more.

    We have been thru stuff, our family, lots of trauma w my son. But we love each other, and are not defective in any way. And that will be my attitude from now on.

    She is doing homework, and her teachers seem happy to pick it up from her at our car. Her teacher emailed me and invited her to drop it off next time after kids go home and see the classroom. Perfect! Acceptance, patience, and understanding, which is what she needs!
  17. ahhjeez

    ahhjeez Active Member

    Thanks SWOT. It broke my heart when he said that. I made sure he knew that he is amazing and that he needs to be who he is and that is what he is supposed to do. I'm so glad your son is comfortable in his skin. That is hugely important.

    PM please thank your daughter for me :) Her teachers sound great and that makes a big difference as well. I firmly believe that our kiddos are wired differently. They process information differently. Things that I can filter out in my environment my husband and son cannot. If your daughter has never had a neuropsychological evaluation I highly recommend one. B has had 3 and they are an invaluable tool in putting together a plan for moving forward. I wish you and your daughter the absolute best. : )
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    medications and therapy work together in bipolar, depression and mental health problems. Autism IS NOT a mental health issue. So it doesnt work for them. You hsd a clueless bunch treating autism as if it were a behavioral problem due to a mental health problem, but her behavior is due to an inborn neurological difference.

    It is a shame that so many uninformed psychiatrists and therapy try to treay autism and try to make autism fit as a mental health problem.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  19. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    I am wondering if I should let her drop out of school if she wants. She really is just so fragile. What if I gave her the option? She is sixteen and a half. Nothing has changed really since she started eloping at her regular school back in seventh grade. No "interventions" have worked.
    Maybe I should let her make that choice.
    Maybe she should get assistance for being disabled, and can have help later getting a job if she wants. I don't know. I just know this is not working. I don't want to get in trouble with the law, but I don't want to push her. What if I just accepted her?
  20. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    She doesn't want to go to any more appointments.