CAMHS, Your fired!

Published September 4, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Well as some of you will know we’ve been having some a lot of issues with CAMHS, more so recently. So after many long discussions with my husband and talking things through with my mom, the placing authority and of course my wonderful network of adopters, we decided it was time to call it a day. We’ve attended around 30 appointment over the last 18 months and we’ve never received any kind of therapy or advice, well not that I’m aware of anyway. From what I can tell, we’ve just been observed, a lot.

So a few weeks ago we had a meeting with CAMHS, it was a very difficult meeting, you can read about it here if you missed it. Over the school holidays we received the letter they had promised and as I expected it infuriated me with comments such as:

‘It has consistently been difficult for Mr & Mrs Familyof5 to understand their own emotional responses to the roles of ‘mummy and daddy’ and to differentiate these responses from those that belong to the girls.’


‘It was a concern to us that the children did not appear to be fully aware of this planned move to a new school.

So yesterday I had a meeting arranged to discuss the contents of their 5 page letter. I wont deny being slightly very happy when I learnt that the psychotherapist, you know the one that left me feeling useless and intimidated, was off sick. So my meeting was just with the family therapist, whom actually I quite like. Luckily it was also the girls 1st day of school and my husband had booked the day off so he was able to take them to school with me, so he was able to come along to the meeting.

Now I’m not going to attempt to justify myself to you, my faithful understanding readers, but I wont deny that I did feel the need to consistently point out aspects of the psychotherapists letter that upset me and explain and justify my actions/intentions to the family therapist. I guess I must still be quite insecure in my parenting. I also pointed out on many occasions that I felt that if the psychotherapist had not joined us alongside her earlier in the year, then it was unlikely we would have been having that conversation. We pretty much discussed the contents of the letter start to finish and some in between.

We talked about how we felt we were no further along as a family today than we were 18 months ago when we asked to joined their service. We explained that there was nothing in the letter that we didn’t know 18 months ago. I explained that what we’d really expected and needed from their service was for the girls to be more settled, less compliant and feel safe to discuss aspects of their past with us. I also explained that I felt that Life Story work would have really benefited the girls and helped them to make sense of their feelings surrounding their past experiences. I explained that I felt the girls past was becoming a ‘taboo subject’ in our family, I really feel like the girls want to talk about things, but don’t know how, and we really don’t know how to help them with that. I explained that in over 30 sessions I haven’t once felt that the girls have shown them selves to the therapists, they find the whole experience very stressful and I don’t feel the benefits out weighed that, in fact I couldn’t see ANY benefits at all. I also said that I didn’t want the girls memories of our early years to be all about CAMHS, especially as they hated it so much. I’d really hoped that by now, 3 years later, we’d be getting ready to leave a therapy service with the girls feeling more safe secure and just able to enjoy being a family, well at least for a few years anyway as I anticipate they’ll need more therapy when they become teens.

The family therapist advised that Life Story work wasn’t something that CAMHS generally provided and that usually that would be undertaken by a post adoption service. She said she felt quite sad to hear that we felt the last 18 months had been a waste of our time and hoped that I’d at least benefited from our one to one sessions, which I wont deny I have. The one to one sessions I had with the family therapist gave me a great opportunity to off load, but as I haven’t had one of those since late 2012, I’m sure I’ll cope without them.


I informed her that the placing authority had offered to fund a commissioned therapy service for us. They will be appointing a therapist to delve back in to the girls files and read their full Life Story history and then help the girls, and us, to make sense of their past so they can start to heal and we can move forward. She took note of everything that we’d said and said the letter would be revised and sent back out to us, the placing authority and our GP. She planned to call the placing authority to discuss the commissioned service they’re preparing for us and I guess also to pass on her findings and thoughts from the last 18 months. She also said she would be speaking to her manager about the things we’d said about our experiences of the psychotherapist. She wished us well, and we left.

There’s more, the best bit was that we were there for 1hour………………….. and 20 minutes! those of you that read regular will know why I’ve put this! 🙂

So whilst it wasn’t quite as dramatic as my title may have led you to believe, in fact it wasn’t dramatic at all really was it, but our service with CAMHS has come to an end, for now at least.


13 comments on “CAMHS, Your fired!

  • Well done you. When we left CAMHS, it was mainly because my husband felt the same as you, & we had been with them for more than 3 years. I kept thinking that, maybe next meeting, we would have an answer/advice, but no. We did have progress, but it may have happened anyway over time. I do believe that we know our children best. We are their champions, & we should be more secure in our own knowledge & beliefs where they are concerned, & not follow the ‘therapists’. Things can & will improve, but we just cannot predict when. The love that we give to our ‘special’ children is amazing, & if I could, I would give you a big hug, & say ‘well done, & carry on’ ….

  • We to walked away from CAHMS…All they did was nosey into our private lives and pull me down constantly..They also repeatedly threatened to remove the boys from me unless i gave each boy a room of their own..When they worked with social work to remove one of the boys after they had been with me without any of their help for 21/2 years ..After they had removed the youngest boy they both then did not want to know us..The middle boy has behaviour issues and mental issues and my doctor has referred us back to them…I am at a loss as to what to do ….xx

  • We’ve had a very mixed experience with CAMHS. Our therapist once told me that he thought “I really didn’t know what I was doing when he first met me but had since changed his mind”. When we first met him we were in a very difficult place with the boys and things later improved but not due to anything they did. Our boys have never met him, the only thing we’ve ever received is sessions for us to talk with him and a dubious, in my opinion, ASD diagnosis. The talking has on occasions helped but not really enough. So I sympathise. Sounds like it was a bonus the therapist being off sick and I hope the other support comes through for you soon. Xx

  • phew – 18 months sounds like a long time – especially with you being left feeling so bereft and empty. I hope that you will feel affirmed for who you are and that confidence will return so you can carry bon with your family and get the help you need and deserve xx

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