how do I find a good child psychologist? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-26-2007, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is not directly related to GD but I'm posting it here because I've posted here about my ds before.... and because I figured maybe some of the people reading this forum would have relevant experience.

I want to find a child psychologist who might be able to offer some advice and insight on how to support my son, who is very intense, super-verbal, very active, and.... pretty challenging

I'm not looking for a diagnosis or for behavior modification or discipline methods, I want someone to help me understand what's going on in his head and how I can most usefully respond to him. How do I even start looking for someone? How do I size them up before making an appointment? I just don't know. Based on my own experience of therapists, I'm very wary of the mainstream, but that may not be warranted....

Any advice??
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:15 PM
 
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Have you considered doing a phone consult with Scott Noelle, Jan Hunt or Naomi Aldort?

Scott: http://www.scottnoelle.com/
Jan: http://www.naturalchild.org/counseling/
Naomi: http://www.authenticparent.com/

My friend, Tracy Liebmann, provides phone consultation from a mindful parenting/consensual living paradigm also.

http://www.transformingfamily.com/

You also might check the AP Doctor Referral yahoogroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AP_Doc...guid=287472904

Or ask in Finding Your Tribe, or Special Needs, or Mental Health, or the Health and Healing forums.


ETA: if you have particular issues, we could help you brainstorm about looking at the situation from different perspectives. Also, I highly recommend the book The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children. The book helps families to create solutions and prevent problems, and to avoid many struggles. I highly recommend it! http://www.amazon.com/Explosive-Chil.../dp/0060931027


Pat

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Old 11-26-2007, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pat, thank you SO much for all those resources. I think a phone consult with one of those people may be a very good place to start, and perhaps they also would have ideas for people in my area if we need something more.

I have posted a bunch of times here about specific issues and had some helpful responses but I feel like we need some more focused advice on what may be behind his behaviour. There is a lot of wild but "good-natured" aggression (like, constant name-calling, hitting and pushing, all with a smile on his face, and absolutely resistant to every request, redirection, encouragement, taking a break, anything else we can think to do). And I feel there is something behind it that we're not getting to.

Example:
This morning, ds was in bed with me and dh, and he woke up early and was kicking and singing and wouldn't respond to any suggestions we had for calming down or getting up to play. My dh got up and went to ds's bed because he was losing his temper, and I stayed with ds and kept working with him to calm down, which he eventually did. A minute later he said in a small voice "I'm scared." I really regret now that I was too sleepy to follow up on that, but I think it might have been a clue to what is going on.

So I feel like maybe some of his wildness is a way of drowning out something else, or that there is some way in which his body feels hugely stressed and he is responding to that, and I'd like to understand what that is (if anything). I just really need some help with where to start trying to figure it out.
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Old 11-26-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mavery View Post
So I feel like maybe some of his wildness is a way of drowning out something else, or that there is some way in which his body feels hugely stressed and he is responding to that, and I'd like to understand what that is (if anything). I just really need some help with where to start trying to figure it out.
Wow, I think that's great insight. DD sometimes gets "wild" and now that you mention it, I think maybe that is what is going on for her, too - she is trying to distract herself from scared feelings or cover them up or something.
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Old 11-26-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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I would ask around. Personal recommendations from people who respect are helpful. While I can see the value of a phone consultation, you may want to see someone locally that can actually meet you and your child. If you do, I would just boldly call people up and feel free to ask lots of questions. Treat it like a job interview (and you are the boss making the hiring decisions). It may help to generally describe the challenges you are dealing with and ask - what kind of experience do you have with kids like this? what are some of the approaches you might try? what is your theoretical orientation? How do you involve parents in the process of therapy?

As far as your worry...yes, there are some lousy therapists out there. But, there are some incredibly good ones too. Asking plenty of questions and shopping around can help you find one of the good ones.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I think maybe a phone consultation with someone like Jan Hunt to get the perspective of someone whose philosophy I know I agree with and get some ideas of things to look into, and then getting a recommendation from ds's preschool (which is a wonderful place) for someone local might be a good combination.

Any more suggestions welcomed -- esp. about vetting possible psychologists. I have a really hard time with that, and I often find it very hard to look "beneath" at people's underlying beliefs, since I feel like I often hear lots of things that sound superficially good but then realise later the deeper implications or unspoken assumptions that I DON'T like. (I've had this trouble with pediatricians -- figuring out the right questions is tough for me.)
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:02 PM
 
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Try the local LLL or AP International for recommendations also. Also, inquire if they studied under the Gestalt approach. According to a psychologist on the Always Unschooled list "The Gestalt approach dovetails nicely with child-led living."

Personally, I have found counseling a resource for myself. But, I'd seek someone who may not *have* children of their own. My counselor didn't; and she was very open to hearing about alternative parenting, without "defending/imposing" her own beliefs. Since she didn't have any parenting practice in conflict with my own, it was easier for her to "allow" consensual parenting.

My impression is that parenting creates a lot of personal defensiveness, even among professionals. So, someone who understands the theory of respecting children without the "reality" of the challenges of doing so 24/7, may be more of a compassionate resource for your son. In other words, they don't bring their own parenting paradigm and baggage to the table. We all have our philosophical filters, and those who learned the theory of validating and reflective listening without dismissing the child's experience and trying to manipulate *him* to change, may be more effective at meeting your child where he is and allowing him to voice any wounds and fears openly.

How does your son feel about visiting a counselor? Have you all considered family counseling as a supported process of giving you the tools to support him? I really love the NVC tools of communication. This article about "Compassionate Connection: attachment parenting and non-violent communication" is a favorite of mine: http://www.cnvc.org/motherin.htm

You might consider printing off some articles from Jan Hunt's site at "The Natural Child Project", and sharing those with a potential counselor. And see what their reactions is. But, if you enumerate that you AP, coslept, CLW, non-punishment oriented (or whatever) and they were like, "Boy, I can help you fix that!", you'd know you were on different planets.

Pat

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