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    The black box of therapy

    G had his first play therapy session today.

    I’ll be honest, in that I feel three things:
    1) underwhelmed
    2) lost
    3) proud

    Let’s go through them, huh?

    S and I met with our therapist yesterday. We took G along, mostly because I thought we should since we’re discussing HIM. The therapist was very nice, patient, and a good listener (hey, what do you know — job requirement). She listened to our concerns, validated our parenting approach to date, and told us about the play therapy she uses. She works with kids using sand-play, art, and chess. I’m excited about the approach, but a bit underwhelmed by not understanding how it works. A part of is was that S and I did not really do our homework before hand and didn’t really know what play therapy involved. Thanx to Wikipedia, now, at least we have the 10,000′ view of it, but for action item people such as ourselves hearing things like “Somehow this approach just works” goes against our core being. There’s no homework, nothing for us to address, stop doing or keep doing: therapy is just supposed to help. I’m into it, don’t get me wrong, I’m just not used to black box treatment so it’s going to take some time to acclimate.

    The lost was because while undergoing this process with G, I had hoped for also more guidance for S and I on our parenting skills. Yes, I can keep reading books, but I was really hoping for an ongoing discussion with trained professionals about specific situations and things to do or for us to stop doing. As it stands, I’m not increasing my parenting tool-kit, and I was hoping that would be a by-product of this process. I’m hopeful that the play therapy sessions will be helpful for G, but this only reinforces my drive to find local parenting courses, or perhaps seek family therapy for myself.

    The pride comes from the final moments of G’s session. S and I aren’t allowed to be part of the appointments. She doesn’t disclose what was said, I’m sure as part of patient confidentiality (although I’m interpreting this since she didn’t volunteer it). It’s weird to NOT know what my 4yr old is doing, and while I want to respect his privacy… he’s 4! I guess I kind of figured that as long as he was asking for my help in the bathroom, I was kind of entitled to know it all. She gave me a hand out on how to approach gifted children. She exclaimed he was really bright (and likely gifted), but couldn’t assess to what degree just yet. She noted that many bright children excel intellectually, but have difficult time developing emotionally, and that can be represented in more extreme tantrums and issues with adults/authority figures. She also volunteered that gifted kids often have allergies, and apparently seasonal allergies count. Check, check and check. I guess it’s left me feeling pretty good about a crappy situation: “Hey, it sucks to be you, but it’s because your kid is really intelligent!”

    She noted that he was not hyperactive. I didn’t even bring up the idea, I assure you. He can stay on task pretty well… when he wants to :). As a whole this is good. No ADHD right now. To be honest, if anyone had brought up the idea of ADHD I would have strapped G to a gurney and demanded an ANA-panel ran firtt. Kids with thyroid disorder present similar symptoms as kids with ADHD, and given my thyroid disorder, I would want that checked first: if I’m going to medicate my kid, I want to know it’s for the right thing.

    G himself had a pretty good time. He enjoyed being in her office yesterday and playing with the toys and sand. He was excited to come back. Our conversation preparing him for it was actually pretty amusing. It went something like:

    G: I get to go back?
    Me: Yes, do you want to?
    G: Yes! Why aren’t you going to come with me?
    Me: Because Dr. G wants to have a play-date with you, alone.
    G: Like when Big K comes over?
    Me: Yes, like when Big K comes over.
    G: So she’s baby-sitting me?
    Me: [snort] Uhmn… no!

    Our next sessions is not for 2.5 weeks. I’m bummed, because I want to keep building on this momentum, but the therapist is on vacation so we’ll wait.

    Therapy is covered by our insurance. Hoorray! Unlimited. We get to pay only our copay. This will make the process a lot easier to get through, as I see very regular visits to therapy for many months to come.

    Until the next one, I’ll leave you with this little sound tid-bit to share in my muzak experience:

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