Found A Therapist, Things Were Going Swell. Then She Dropped the G-bomb followed up by the FTB.


I found a therapist here in the area. She seems like a perfectly lovely woman and very compassionate. I have met with her two times now and things seemed to be going well until the end of the last session. She said some things that bothered me but I didn’t want to be over-reactionary and so I have spent a few days mulling over how I feel about them and what it means for my therapeutic relationship with her.

To start with, she is married to another therapist who happens to be an adoptee. This is good, I thought. Perhaps this will help her understand my perspective a bit. Her husband was one of five children adopted through Catholic Charities into the same family. Uh-oh. Catholic Charities? It isn’t that I have any problem with Catholics at all, but Catholic Charities has a pretty terrible legacy when it comes to natural mothers. But still, just because her husband was adopted through Catholic Charities doesn’t mean she views me through the same lens that Catholic Charity does. When the siblings in her husband’s family all told their adoptive parents they wanted to find their “birth families” the adoptive parents were “supportive.” OK – this is good. Perhaps she has witnessed what adoption does to families and can help me?

As we were wrapping up this last session, she said to me, “Melynda, aren’t you grateful things have turned out how they have? I mean, both of you have such good lives. Maybe you should talk to my husband – he’s got a great perspective on this.”

Uh-oh.

She went on to say, “I mean, perhaps it was for the best that things happened how they did.”

I looked her dead in the eye and said, “Angela, I will never be grateful for what happened to me and my daughter, for what it has done to my other children and my relationships with my extended family. Losing my daughter to adoption was not ‘for the best’ and I will never believe that it was ‘for the best.’ ”

“Well, aren’t you grateful she was raised what appears to be a good home?”

“Yes,  of course I am grateful for that but she should have been with me and my family. I have a good home, too. There was no reason for her not to be with me other than the fact my culture dictated it.”

Do I really need to be spending $90 a week to have someone tell me I should be grateful for adoption? I already have 13+ million members of the LDS church telling me that for free. I could totally use that $90 and hour each week to get a facial or a pedi/mani instead, you know?

I have an appointment next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. At this point, I am still going to go so she can have a chance to redeem and explain herself. She really does seem like a well-meaning person and perhaps with a little education on my part she can become the kind of therapist I need but…but that won’t happen if she is firmly entrenched in the “miracle and blessing” thinking of adoption. And I don’t think talking with her husband would be all that helpful, but perhaps it would. I don’t know. What do you think?

At any rate, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with your family. You were missed here, as always.

 

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20 thoughts on “Found A Therapist, Things Were Going Swell. Then She Dropped the G-bomb followed up by the FTB.

    • Excellent point. That is kind of how I am feeling about the whole matter right now. I am just so tired of shopping for a therapist, you know? Why is it so hard to find one who already knows how to treat natural mothers and adoptees?

  1. Mel,

    I have to say, it took me a while to find the right therapist to help me because of such issues. Even when I would tell them from the start about my experience and my view of my experience, I too found they would make comments like your therapist that made me feel worse, rather than better, when I left their office.

    I finally was given the suggestion to look more into those who specialize in grief and trauma and look more for a licensed psychologist over a therapist and I FINALLY lucked out with my wonderful therapist (psychologist) Sonny and as she put it, psychologists are there to help you. They are supposed to help you through your feelings without interjecting their own opinions into the treatment.

    So, in other words, if your therapist is aware of how badly adoption has affected you, then trying to suggest you should be grateful is not about your feelings and helping you work through them, but instead about her own bias based on her own feelings.

    You’re better than I would be for giving her a second chance. But PLEASE remember, if she is truly worth the money you pay her, she will do whatever she can to help you with your feelings (Sonny, after I became her patient, began to research and learn more about the grief and loss us first moms feel in order to better help me) and she will be open and accepting of the fact that even suggesting you be grateful pushes you backwards, not forwards and that adoption is nothing any patient can ever be “counseled” into accepting it was for the best.

    Good luck, Mel. Love Ya!

    • Thank you, Cassi. One of Angela’s specialties is grief and trauma, but I don’t know if she has connected it to adoption (or if she can). We shall see. Thank you for the good advice –

      M.

  2. I foresee a new therapist in your future…sorry. It is so hard to find one who doesn’t have the “adoption is wunnerful” mindset. Add in the fact that her husband is an adoptee with a “great perspective”, umm, well…bye-bye. I’ve been there. It is so hard.

    • Methinks you are right, Linda. I am actually going to send her the link to this blog and tell her to read the entire thing and then get back with me if she thinks we are a good fit with each other.

  3. Melynda, natural mothers may be somewhat of freaks to that therapist, understandable, but nothing of your concern. The wrong therapist can really f…, I mean : mess up your life, so save yourself..

    • Yes, yes they can, Teddy. Did I ever tell you about the time I was going to counseling for the abuse in my childhood and then my ex-husband left me for my THERAPIST’s daughter? That story is almost as good as the penguin eating your shoe. 🙂 Just kidding – it really sucked.

  4. Melynda:

    I echo a lot of what Cassi says- definitely find someone who has a lot of experience in grief and trauma and of course someone who’s willing to research and learn about disenfranchised grief, etc. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong about giving her a chance to redeem herself next week, I think you should be prepared to look again if she can’t. Good luck! I too would like to find a competent therapist….
    Sara

  5. I am only 9 months in to this and for this very reason I have not sought counseling. I’m not ready, im still very angry at the industry and choose to find therapy in helping others make completely informed decisions. If a therapist said that to me right now I would first punch them out and then hit cyberadoptionland even harder than I am now (which is hardly possible without quitting my job). New therapist,good grief (no pun intended) HE** YES!

    • Yes, WS. I think you might hold the key to some part of healing from all of this. I can’t undo what I did, I can’t make restitution or even apologize for the mistake I made. However, I can help other mothers avoid the same pitfalls and traps I fell into. It might be to late for me and my daughter, but it isn’t to late for them.

  6. That is awful. You should NOT have to educate her. She is professionally bound to recognize when she will not be a competent therapist, and to refer you to someone who WILL be. It might be helpful for her to hear how insulting she was, but don’t do anything that will cause further upset to you! If you really want her to realize what she did, send her an email or letter– don’t waste your time or money seeing her again.

    You should feel free to ask the receptionist if the therapist has any experience with certain issues. This is common, I promise. I hope that you can find someone decent soon!

    There really should be a database somewhere (First Mothers Forum would be willing to host the data, perhaps?) that lists helpful therapists and therapists working within the framework that adoption is not always shiny and happy. This information should be accessible! I’m so sad it isn’t. Perhaps this is a project a group of us are interested in…

    • Julie – Thank you so much for your comments. I was hoping you would give your (professional) opinion on the matter. I think I am going to send her an email along with a link to this blog. Maybe if she reads it, she will get a better handle on what I am dealing with and might be able to either (a) educate herself on how best to help or (b) refer me to someone more qualified to deal with my specific issues.

      I love the idea of a data base. Let me email Lorraine and see what she thinks about housing it over at FMF. Perhaps there might be some grant money available somewhere to help fund building it & maintaining it as well. I will cc you on the email so you are in the loop as well.

      Thanks again for your input – I really appreciate it.

    • Julie – I asked about this possibility during a twitter chat this afternoon (Sundays @ 4:00 p.m. EST, hashtag #AdoptionChat). The response was overwhelming and very positive. It is a much needed tool and I got some good ideas from some of the participants re: features. Thanks again for the great idea – I hope we can bring it to fruition.

      • Sorry I missed that! I’ll go back and read tonight. Seriously, please let me help however I can. This is something that I can easily do from home, and since I’m unemployed, I have plenty of time. I strongly feel that women deserve better than your therapist.

        Sending your therapist a link to this blog is a great idea; after all, it is what helped me understand adoption!

  7. Oh boy. I think she has a considerable bias that is hampering her ability to do her job professionally. Have you considered expressing that she should leave her own personal bias’ at the door before she goes into session?

    I fear going to therapy for these very reasons. Thinking of you!

  8. I’d also advise a different therapist. Took me quite awhile and I finally lucked out w/ someone who, interestingly, is not a member of the triad. I actually began interviewing them, beforehand, specifically about adoption, etc.

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