Breaking up is hard to do – or, how to disengage from a therapist, gracefully

Ok, not exactly MY therapist, but Karen’s. For a while now I feel she doesn’t have a common “language” with Karen, but whenever we suggest cutting back on our twice a week visits, she tries to scare us about what damage we will do to K by limiting her to once a week.

I think the breaking point came when I emailed her to let her know it was getting expensive, and we also needed to consider Matan’s needs too. Instead of really understanding, she began giving me a breakdown of what she believes Moshe Elbaum is charging us, and comparing what we get with her. I felt icky after reading her email. I know she isn’t thrilled about Karen seeing him, but then she didn’t want K to see anyone except her. One of her initial “ground rules”, was that only she provides psychological treatment to K. When I asked her if therapeutic riding might be appropriate, she was very negative and clearly told us she didn’t want others “confusing” K by giving her different messages. So she basically cut us off from any other therapies. In fact, she didn’t even recommend we see a psychiatrist and wasn’t in favor until K had a particularly violent week at school last year, and then suddenly the therapist was hysterical about us getting an “immediate” psychiatric eval.

I blame her for us not getting a psych eval sooner. True, we are the parents, and we could have, and should have gotten a psych eval earlier, with or without the therapist’s agreement, but the very fact that she is so overwhelmingly controlling should have clued me in from the beginning that it might not be the best fit for us. I once asked her if a psych eval would be appropriate, and her answer, as with any request to consult or treat with someone else, was that she would let us know if and when she thought it was warranted.

The bottom line is that after almost 3 years of constant treatment, since the therapist would flip out if we ever needed to cancel a week, and somehow always managed to fit in an alternative visit so that during the years of treatment, K’s seen the therapist a minimum of 52 times a year. And still, the therapist has given us very little insight into how she works with Karen, and almost no suggestions for how we can better work with her. Of course, she’s always recommending that we insist that the school does more, but that’s not realistic, and when we tell her that, she goes off on how her son’s school does “it”, whatever it happens to be that month, so obviously either our school sucks, or else we don’t know how to talk to them properly. She manages to be both terribly condescending and to make us feel that we are never doing enough for K.

Knowing my daugher, if the therapist speaks to her in the same condescending tone she uses with us, then K definitely tunes her out, and I question how much value she continues to get from her appointments with this therapist. After 3 years, I feel like it’s time for a break from this overly controlling woman. It is further indicative of her manipulating behavior that she has threatened us with all kinds of dire consequences if we take a break from treatment. In addition, she made it clear that if she’s only seeing K twice a month, then she is not willing to talk to any of the staff/teachers at K’s school because she isn’t actively treating K, just maintenance. That is the biggest pile of bullshit I’ve ever heard, and was probably the last straw for me.

At this point, we are actually worried about what she will say to K at a final visit. She’s already told K that the reason they are meeting only once a week, instead of twice, is due to her parent’s limited resources. That is such a useless thing to say to a child. We told K that the reason she’s cutting back to “only” once a week is because of her outstanding improvement in behavior. Is it too much to expect a therapist to give her a positive message like this as well?

Am I crazy, or is it time for this woman to get out of our lives?

4 responses to “Breaking up is hard to do – or, how to disengage from a therapist, gracefully

  1. Lita,

    I know you’ve been struggling for some time over this and I understand but I can’t even believe after what you’ve written here that you are still even questioning whether or not you need to get rid of her. If she is saying things like this to Karen, she obviously does not have Karen’s best interest at heart. I understand why half a year ago, even though you had doubts about her why you didn’t do it, Karen in crisis. But now things have improved immeasurably and I fear this woman could be doing more harm than good.

    Of course you and DH have to make the ultimate decision but as a spectator I can’t see any reason AT ALL to stay with this woman. You, DH and especially Karen deserve much better.


  2. Totally agree with Dana. And you know it too, which is why you wrote it. I felt icky just reading your post. What kind of fucked up therapist would tell a child their parents can’t afford the treatment she needs? Ewwwwww. Run, don’t walk. And you are 100% right to be concerned about her final session. It’s important that there is one so that this woman doesn’t just disappear from Karen’s life, which might be confusing to Karen. But if I were you I would find a way to make sure you are in that session.

  3. Thank you both for the support. We find ourselves almost afraid to not have someone as backup to rely on. I know that’s ridiculous, but she plays on those fears.

  4. Pingback: Back on track – Zendette

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