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Author Topic: DBT Therapist dropped my daughter  (Read 1910 times)
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Gender: Female
Posts: 164

« on: May 16, 2006, 03:19:17 PM »

You guys,

This is just unbelievable, incomprehensible, beyond imagination, etc.  I am fired up!

My daughter's DBT therapist called me last night w/ my BPD daughter in his office and said she "didn't want to be there" and "didn't want to do dbt anymore" and he couldn't make her, now that she's 18, so he was terminating her.  During the conversation, I understood without him saying it that my daughter had gone in and blown up and fired him, so to speak.

Well, turns out it was quite the other way around!  She wasn't doing the diary cards so he said "if you don't do the diary cards, dbt won't work and I can't help you."  Then she launched into a discussion asking him to "prove" that dbt works.  He referred her to go look up the evidence in Linehan's textbook!  (haha, as if an 18 year old could tackle the textbook!)  He then told me, "She backed me into a corner," which was why he terminated her.  My daughter has been religious about going to him and going to the group.  Sure, she's not done the diary cards as he has wanted, but for him to just terminate her one day cuz he'd had enough of that?  He never made a prior contract, like "If you don't have diary cards next week, that's the end, that will be your statement to me that you don't want to be in this therapy."  In Linehan's manual, it even says "not doing diary cards becomes a problem to be solved."  I brought this to his attention and he said he tried.

The other thing he did which I thought was so radically unprofessional, he told my daughter that "dbt is the only thing that works, and I'm the only dbt therapist around, so *sucks for you* that you won't becoming to me anymore."  Can you think of anything more damaging to a BPD person?  He also told me she was having paranoid thoughts that made it impossible for him to reach her.  I told him that being paranoid is a very scary place to be and EXACTLY the time one needs a therapist to go through the experience with support, and that maybe if he had tried to work through that she would be more accessible to the rest of the therapy.  That didn't occur to him or he was unable/unwilling to do it or whatever.

This man said goodbye to my daughter without even referring her to another therapist of any sort.  It was just "that's it, goodbye."  I am so shocked and so angry I can hardly even type straight!

All this is on top of my daughter's two previous therapy experiences, one in which the therapist to whom she was very attached left to move to France (abandonment!) and the next one who left her practice to have a baby (abandonment!).  Now a direct hit by a therapist, not just abandonment, but essentially "you are bad and get the *he##* out of here."

I know this is a rant, but am I seeing things anywhere near straight?  I would appreciate some feedback.

Thanks, SueH.
Our objective is to better understand the struggles our child faces and to learn the skills to improve our relationship and provide a supportive environment and also improve on our own emotional responses, attitudes and effectiveness as a family leaders
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2006, 05:22:19 PM »

Sue, before I make any comment or suggestions, ...

Did you find out all your information from the Therapist on the telephone? Was all this first hand information?

Or was this information relayed by your daughter?

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Gender: Female
Posts: 164

« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 12:23:34 AM »

I spoke with the therapist myself.  All of the quotes are what he told to me.  I totally realize the tendency of BPD people to exaggerate and to project things onto the other person...but that was not the case here.  Certainly my daughter being borderline is a hard person to work with.  I don't doubt that.  I experience it every day.  But for a therapist to just up and make a decision one day that "this isn't working" was just appalling to me.  There was no "termination process" which should be a standard part of any therapeutic relationship.  I actually have tried not to feed into my daughter's tendencies to trash the guy when talking with her, and to explore with her what she might have done that contributed to the end of the relationship.  But that doesn't change the fact that I believe strongly that he behaved in a very unprofessional manner all the way around.
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 12:31:54 PM »

This therapist sounds extremely arrogant and narcissistic, for starters! Actually, he may have done more harm than good, had your daughter continued with him. Obviously, she should have done the diary cards, but that seems like a small infraction compared with his cutting her off as he did, and in the manner in which he cut her off.

If you are absolutely sure you have the facts straight - and since you've spoken with him yourself, it surely sounds as if you have - you might consider reporting this episode to whatever oversight or licensing organization there is. If he is a psychiatrist, this sounds like malpractice to me, or at the very least, very dubious and unprofessional behavior that was far more likely to do harm than good. It certainly doesn't sound like DBT - instead, it appears that this man was on quite an ego trip.

Your daughter deserved better...

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