We have been through three rounds of Attachment therapy. First with Middle-one (not successful/no advancement), then with Ebear (very successful/healing) and are still in therapy with Bright-eyes (so far successful). Now we are also beginning again with Middle-one. I have decided to share it with the world ... well, at least with y'all ;o)
A brief intro to Attachment Therapy... It is very different than traditional talk therapy.
In traditional therapy or counseling, the counselor works toward building a trust based relationship with their client, they provide a private inviornment when the client can say anything they think and feel and not be concerned that the therapist will share that info. It is also client-led. The counselor will ask the client (in this case the child) what they have been doing, what they want to talk about, what problems they are having... they let the client introduce the issues and talk things out.
In attachment therapy the counselor doesn't encourage a relationship or trust with themselves and the client. In fact the client will often dislike the therapist. Instead the therapist facilitates bonding and attachment between the child and the parents. The therapist does not ask the client what the issues or problems are, they work with the parents and the clients history to find out what the issues have been and then present those to the client. It is totally therapist led.
Our 1st appointment: (10:30 AM - 2:30 PM)
We finished the intake paperwork with our Attachment Therapist who will be referred to as AT.
We had our "Family" session first. This part of the session is for Mr. T and I to discuss and work on our feelings and parenting. We usually talk about all of the boys and AT helps us to organize a plan to address the latest issues. She also works with us on our own fears and doubts... So at this session we discussed Bright-Eye's regression and fears. Middle-One's recent outburst at school and what that means to and for us. Which led to us discussing my fears of his return.
This was the first time in four years that all three of them were in the waiting room togther... alone. So we had a few interuptions to do crowd control and it took us a long time.
We brought Bright-Eyes in first. He sits between Mr. T and I. AT asked him how things were going. He admitted that they were not going well. She went on to discuss his fears and how he is trying to control everything in the house. She explained to him how he is the kid and not equipped to be in charge and that mom and dad can and are protecting him. We were surprised when he admitted that the reason he had begun sleeping on the floor of his bedroom was because he could see the shadows of anyone in the doorway and could watch... just in case Middle-One should try to get him in the night. It makes me so sad that he is so afraid. Then she asked him what his goals are and he told her his three goals (follow instructions the first time, make eye contact and talk about his feelings) AT dismissed him and asked him to send in Middle-One.
Middle -One came in and immediately took charge (not surprising for an anxious RAD)... He told us all that he was sitting in a chair to the side. He was told he wasn't, and that he needed to be on the couch with his mom and dad. So he sat on the edge. The AT asked him if he remembered therapy. He claimed he didn't (although he had been talking to us about it before the appointment). She asked him first if he wanted to get better and be a part of his family. He said he did. She then told him that in this therapy the kids are supposed to remove their shoes and lay across the laps of their mom and dad. He said
"I'm not laying on their laps, I'm almost 14!" ...
we LOL. She told him that some of her clients were 19 and 20 and they had to lay across their parents' laps too.... then she asked again
"Do you want to get better?"
He said he did and she said
He layed down in a silly way and she redirrected him to the correct position. He closed his eyes and crossed his arms. She explained that this was just a reintroduction to the therapy and that he needed to remember that this was how it was done. She then asked him if he remembered the three rules of therapy. He said no. She told him that he was expected to make eye contact with who ever was speaking, to answer questions with full sentances and he could not say "I don't know"... she asked him to repeat them. With eyes closed, he said
LOL... Great start! The second try wasn't any better and she had to help him remember how to move his mouth to talk. He did finally repeat the three rules and she let him get up and put his shoes back on.
Next week ought to be a lot of fun ;o)