CAMHS Part 3 – Session 6 & 7

Published June 25, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Today was session 7.

I didn’t write about session 6 because I came away feeling pretty bewildered about what was supposed to have been achieved, I thought it would come to me after I’d had some time to process the session…….it didn’t.

Todays session has left me feeling fed up, frustrated, confused and tearful. I really have no understanding of what these sessions are about or supposed to achieve.

I collect 3 stressed out girls from school, the journey there is full of nonsense conversations, when we arrive there is usually a rush to see who can get to the door first to open it, we sit in the waiting room, each girl chooses a book to look at whilst we wait, then they constantly compete for my attention to look at their books, all I hear is a constant stream of ‘look mommy’ from 3 different directions. Then when its time, they eagerly rush ahead to ‘the room’ where we’re greeted by the family therapist and psychotherapist. ‘The box’ is always on the table, they instantly open it and busy themselves with its contents ‘colouring’ ‘glueing’ and ‘cutting’ mostly. The psychotherapist talks the most, wondering if a sun is being drawn because they’re happy, or if they’re gluing the paper together because they feel things are falling apart, or if they’re cutting of the paper is significant in some way or if their choice of plastic animal relates to some bizarre feeling or emotion that’s not being met. Mostly the girls are just busy and ignoring him. 59 minutes later I take home 3 stressed out girls and spend the rest of the day calming them.

For me however, the sessions seem to mean so much more. I’m listening to him, I’m taking in everything he says. Is she gluing the paper because she feels like she’s falling apart? Does that plastic cow really represent a need I haven’t met? Is that black house she drew her dark view of our life? Is the fact that she sat in a different chair a sign of her insecurities? Did she draw food because she’s feeling empty inside? Am I missing this much? Am I really this inadequate and incapable?

Most of the things the girls do are just ‘playing’ I’m sure. I’m also sure that sometimes his random wonderings put idea’s in to their head. Like the day he asked, ‘I wonder if your thinking that the spare chair should be for daddy and where he fits in to all of this?’ Well I’m fairly sure they hadn’t even noticed the spare chair until he pointed it out and hadn’t even considered the idea that daddy might come to the sessions at some point. Most of his wonderings leave me feeling ‘rubbish’, and as though I’m missing so much, but am I really?

I’m not! I’m not missing it, I know the girls are struggling, I know we have problems we need to work through, we wouldn’t be there otherwise would we.

I just wonder when they’re going to stop telling me how bad things are and start telling me how to make them better!

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17 comments on “CAMHS Part 3 – Session 6 & 7

  • I’m not surprised you’re feeling anxious and confused. This process is leaving you out of the loop so you must be feeling very disempowered as a parent. I’m a trained counsellor and I know how easy it is to look for insights at every turn. You’re right though, sometimes children are just being children and not giving it any deeper consideration. I doubt you’re missing anything and i wouldn’t question yourself too much. This sounds like a very psychodynamic method of therapy which can bring up all sorts of issues. Maybe it’s worth raising your anxieties with them. Is it worth asking for a review meeting to chat things through with the therapist to explain your anxieties? Sending you a big hug as I’m sure this is very tough on you. Xx

  • You are right – you already know the issues. I have been in several situations where a worker or counselor “wondered” something that had NEVER been an issue and then boom! BIG ISSUE! Not cool, and if I had had my way those people would have never crossed paths with us again. But I don’t get my way in these things… I hope this actually goes somewhere helpful for you too, and soon.

  • oooh ouch – I really hope these sessions are helpful and that you get your voice heard in all of this – it is early days though if you are only at CAMHS session 6, surely? I am just embarking on CAMHS – and hoping it will be helpful. really. for us all.

  • Not sure I like the sound of these sessions either, very open ended and unstructured. We’ve never been offered therapy for the children through CAHMS only consultation and support sessions for my husband and I, so I don’t really know what should be happening. However I would hope to have a general understanding from the therapist of what the aim of the sessions is and how they might achieve this aim. Hope your feed back session can offer you more insight. I’m sure you are right to think that some of the issues being mentioned are not even being considered by your girls.

    Thanks for sharing on the Weekly Adoption Shout Out. xx

  • Our therapist worked only with Mr D and I apart from two sessions with our son when he was much older than your girls are. He believes that by working so directly with traumatised children it only heightens the trauma. I have to say that our experience has been 100% brilliant.
    As far interpreting gluing etc, I am no expert but it sounds like bollocks. Art therapy is something much calmer and more intelligent than this and carried out on a one-to-one basis.
    Sorry for my direct speaking – I get jarred off with the amateur approach to treating traumatised children.
    I really wish you well. You adn your children shouldn’t be made to feel worse, you are doing a really difficult job and that needs to be heard and understood.

  • Bless you, I have attended CAMHs with my son for almost 4yrs now. I hate attending, your sessions seem similar to our “chats” in the waiting room afterwards, the suggestions she puts in my sons head are constant and rediculous!! The difference is my son is whisked off for 50 mins, I have no idea of how things are going or wrnt, any issues arising or nothing. Everytime I ask how things are going, the therapist looks at me in disgust with a, “what the hell does it have to do wit you??” attitude!!!! CAMHs is a law unto themselves sometimes, but we take our kids session after session as we are told its “the right thing to do for the children”, it doesnt matter that my sons therapist taljs down to me, is sarcastic and condescending towards me!!! I put up with it as I’m told it is helping, I’m not so sure!!!
    Hope all turns out well for you huni, sounds like you are doing an amazing job! Keep your chin up, plod on, enjoy your children.
    Love and respect,
    Julie x

    • Oh my, im glad that im involved in the sessions, i really dont think i’d like for them to exclude me, and im really not sure what message that would give the girls either, i want to be seen as being involved in helping them heal. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  • Like Sarah, the only work we’ve had with CAMHS has been with the NC and I. I wouldn’t know what to expect if CAMHS were working directly with Mini. However, I do think you need a bit of direction from someone – not only do the sessions sound like unstructured crafting sessions with no purpose, it sounds like you haven’t got a clue what any of you are supposed to get out of them!
    I hope things change and that you get some more support and direction.

    Thanks for linking up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out x

  • CAMHS – I would love to say they are very variable – BUT – as far as CAMHS teams across the uk are concerned in the care and therapy provided to adoptive families with traumatised children – well, it is just rubbish. Hopefully in the next few yrs things may get better – there is to be a National institute of clinical guidance development group to be set up at the end of this year . Their remit is to come up with an Attachment and theraputic need guideline. Here’s hoping that they understand adoption in all that. It will be far too late for our family and yours as well I would imagine but here’s to the future – it can not be any worse than now.

  • From someone who went through years of Cahms , I understand how frustrated you are . I am not sure having all the children together will help much , I am sure they just see it as a bit of play . Initially we had family therapy , then Lauren and Amy had separate sessions . Lauren didn’t go for long as they felt they could only go so far due to age . Amy was in therapy for seven years and it was what has helped most in dealing with Anger management .Perhaps a meeting to review treatment would be a good idea .Good Luck .
    I once was told it cost £30,000 a year to put a child through Cahms , it’s vital it’s being spent properly .

    • Well i fear its all being wasted at the moment, after i wrote this things got much worse at our next appointment, i blogged about it Friday :/
      Thank you for sharing your experiences 🙂

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