This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PTSD update - Friday

Recently we've decided to allow Kitty to stop EMDR therapy, even though she's nowhere near "done." While the EMDR "paddles" helped her stay calmer (versus dissociating and other meltdown behavior - crying, threatening, throwing herself to the floor, raging, complaining...), it was becoming evident that she was not addressing or processing her past anymore. She was using the sessions as an excuse to rage and complain about family members (adopted family), and claiming not to be able to "remember" any abuse or issues that she had discussed in great detail as recently as 6 months ago.

Our EMDR therapist, who is very experienced in working with kids with severe trauma, particularly in a residential treatment (RT) setting, said that when they had a child who refused to participate in group, they would often "forbid" the child to come anymore. Depending on the child, he or she had to sit outside of group, unable to participate or they might let the child just not attend. She said the child would eventually want to come back to therapy and ask for the "privilege."

We are a little sceptical, because while our daughter does have ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), she does not have it to such an extreme that forbidding her to do something will immediately make her demand to be able to do it (unless it involves taking away certain foods she is allergic to or movies she wants to watch - then she craves them desperately). She has been in therapy for probably half her life, and is VERY excited to not be going. (She will still see her attachment therapist every other week).

We have been making her life a little more "uncomfortable" though so she might be motivated to go back to therapy. Little things like, "I know you would like to stay home instead of having to do the grocery shopping with me, but dad is staying home with the other kids, and you have issues with dad and men, and you chose not to work on those issues in therapy, so you will be coming with me."

Because her issues are worsening, we are considering completely shutting down her world and removing as many stressors as possible. Just like when someone is allergic to an unknown food you put them on the elimination diet (- remove all possible allergens and add them back one by one watching carefully for allergic reactions).

These are some of the things we are considering:

No interactions with siblings,
No interactions with Hubby unless it is attachment related,
No being left alone with anyone but me, which means no Grandma's house on weekends (she will have to go to bed early so Hubby and I can still have our alone time),
I will be the one supervising her chores (when they are not done before I get home),
No PG movies or Y7 TV shows,
She can still have her Bratz dolls (bleech!), but no more playing with her sister - it becomes more like play therapy and her sister doesn't need to hear the attitude and behaviors, so she can only play dolls with me - the rest of the time they stay locked in my toy box,
Stripping her room more than it already is,
Go back to issuing one outfit of clothes a day (to reduce the stress of choices, putting away her clothes, and not being able to find socks or other things),
Reduce dramatically the number of chores (and allowance),
No more sitting in the front seat of the car (she tends to yell at Hubby and I),
I will make her school lunches and serve her meals,
4 foot rule applies whenever we leave the house (must stay no more than 4 foot away from me),
No playing with neighbor children or in the front yard without me or Grandma present.

Hubby is afraid that I will essentially become her jailor and the family's quality of life will deteriorate more than it already has. I am not ready to give up on her, and am not really sure what other alternatives we have. I partially approached the subject tonight in a 1 1/2 hour conversation with her Friday night. We ended the conversation with me feeling like she'd really listened (major eye contact!) and some of it might have sunk in. You are cordially invited to watch the fireworks!

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