If you haven’t already, you need to read part 1 for this to make sense.
So as well as talking to me about some of the challenges I may face as an adoptive mother the therapist also talked about the girls struggles, which I was glad about, after all the therapy sessions are for them, arnt they?!
He briefly talked about the ‘Freeze/Flight/Fight’ reactions that most traumatised children have developed for their own safety. My girls ‘Freeze’.
He talked about how my big girl wears a mask and nothing that we see from her is real, its all just a show she puts on for the world to protect herself from harm. She behaves how she does and says what she thinks she should, in order to keep the adults around her calm and her safe. He suggested that attachment to anyone whilst she was wearing her mask was unlikely. He suggested that we have a session with just her and I, so he can tell her that he knows she wears a mask as he feels once she knows that we know, she won’t feel the need to wear it. Im not sure how I feel about stripping her of her ‘safety net’?! Surely when she’s ready and secure she’d remove the mask herself, or is he right, is that’s what preventing her from being secure?!
My baby girl was a little more complex, he talked about her lack of attachment and how she must feel very alone and scared in the world. He talked about her need for control but how allowing her to be in control will be very scary for her, she needs the adults around her to be in control so she can feel safe. He talked about how he’d seen her quite hyper and in a state of anxiousness, I explained that this is also how I see her going in to and coming out of school. He suggested that maybe she was struggling to cope with the lack of structure that reception classes offer her and that maybe there was too much ‘free play’ where she was over stimulated and able to become very excited without having the ability to then calm herself, which would be scary for her. He didn’t seem to offer any advice on how to help her with this, but suggested I could perhaps spend a morning in school which would either be really good for her, or really bad?!
He didn’t really mention my middle girl much, but to be fair she is presently the least of our worries, we feel that so long as her feelings are addressed and not left hidden away inside then she’ll be just fine, so that’s something to be worked on.
I mentioned how I wasn’t sure how family/group therapy could address their individual needs as they were so enormously different and he said that if they felt that was the case further down the line then they’d look at individual psychotherapy for them.
When we got that initial call from the therapist a few months back he briefly mentioned that he’d be retiring in June so their care would be handed over to a different therapist. It wasn’t until recently that this struck me as being something quite major (yes I know, I should have questioned it more back then but I was so relieved to finally be off the waiting list). So I asked during the session what would happen in June. I expected to hear that the sessions would be phased over gradually to the new therapist in time for his departure. This is not the case. It seems there is no new therapist yet, there isn’t even an advertisement for the position. I got the impression that there wouldn’t be a replacement for some time?!
So what happens June then I asked. Well apparently IF there’s a replacement then we’ll go on to a waiting list, if there isn’t then we won’t?! So what about their therapy I asked. Apparently he hasn’t begun any therapy (this explains a lot), he’s merely been carrying out continued assessments and that’s how he plans to continue until June, he said he would envisage they would need around 2 years of therapy.
So what do I do now?!
Why is nothing ever simple or straight forward. Why is it such a fight to get my girls the support and help they need and deserve in order to heal. I’m not a therapist, I can’t do it all, loving them just isn’t enough, I wish it was.