These days kids are reflexively and routinely given stimulants like Ritalin if they are designated as having ADHD. Dave Keith offers an alternative perspective: He works with the family relationship patterns in order to treat the child. The side effects are good.
Good physicians take a clinical history in the interest of arriving at a diagnosis. While the clinical history is a review of ‘facts’, there are in fact, few ‘facts’ about human experience. Different examiners will get different histories depending upon what they ask about. Different family members give different reports of the same set of events. In my view clinical histories are a form of fiction pretending to be ‘objective’.
Teenage “cutting”: Teenagers are often seen in individual therapy for the self-mutilating behavior called “cutting.” Here’s a family therapy approach that stopped the cutting by revealing what was behind her apparent self-destructive behavior.
The modern Child Psychiatry perspective is limited to focusing on the child, without including the family culture in which that child lives. This narrow understanding contributes to the child’s isolation. That little person is usually worried about, and trying to help, the parents. No matter how it appears.
To fight or Not to fight? Sometimes NOT fighting is more of a problem for couples. Chronic conflict-avoidance can show up as extramarital affairs, or behavior problems in kids.
To be a parent is to know worry. There’s no escaping it, and there’s really no cure for it. As my blogging buddy David Keith says, “If you can’t stand guilt don’t become a parent.”
Kids instinctively “worry”, that is, feel responsible for their families. Don’t forget that. Children worry about their families. They are trying to help the parents become not only better parents but better people. But their therapeutic methods get diagnosed as mental illness.
For Amy and Dave, common psychiatric “disorders” are part of relational patterns, usually embedded in the dynamics of the family. You just have to know how to look.
When family dysfunction meets disease: How a therapy session transformed family patterns and helped a young woman improve her self-care.
Understanding and changing family relationship patterns can make a huge difference for kids diagnosed with ADHD.
Part of the appeal of the “chemical imbalance” metaphor is that it people don’t have to feel ‘guilty” about their depression, or problems with their kids. But it can keep both patients and therapists from getting to the all-important bottom of things.
Here’s the Grand Finale of a difficult, satisfying family therapy case. I think we all, patients and therapist, learned a lot.
In this installment of Case of The Mean Dad, the parents finally reintroduce their kids into the therapy sessions. Sometimes, indeed, children are the best therapists!
In this session from “The Mean Dad” (first installment on 12/4/16), the wife reveals the source of her resentment toward her husband.
In this session from “The Mean Dad” (first installment on 12/4/16), the wife has her self-image challenged. And she doesn’t like it.
In this session from “The Mean Dad”, I learned that I underestimated the degree of turmoil in this family. They set me straight.