Friday, September 08, 2006

Deborah Hage Response to Question about Attachment Therapies

Almost every parenting intervention advocated by therapists works minimally for some parents, some children, some of the time. The problem is when a parent believes that a suggested parenting interaction works with them and their children all of the time. Parents and therapist need a vast array of tools from which to choose. Beyond Consequences is a tool. There are more parenting tools on my website. My suggestions will also work with some parents, some children, some of the time.

Another problem occurs when parents take general parenting guidelines written by therapists to guide most parents most of the time. Therapists have found that, in general, their suggestions and guidelines work. However, each family is different and so when these general guidelines do not fit the style of the parents or the needs of the child and family then the family must become engaged with a specific therapist who can then brainstorm with the family to come up with specific parenting interactions that will work with this specific child and specific family in this specific situation.

No book or article in the world is a substitute for that therapeutic relationship. So the third problem arises when parents turn to a therapist and puts themselves in the therapist’s hands with no results to show from it. The general rule of thumb is that if a family does not make any movement towards health after three months of therapy with a particular therapist then the parents need to seek elsewhere. I am not saying the child and family need to be “healed”, as sometimes years must be allowed for that. However, there must be some discernible movement in the direction of health. The parents and family must in some way be at least slightly happier…….happy enough for them to keep on the same track with the same therapist. When there is no movement towards happiness then parents must begin searching for another therapist. Unfortunately once a family exhausts their local resources they end up going farther and farther away from home at greater and greater expense. My work in Phoenix attracts people from all over the world who have not been able to find the help they need in their own communities. The double whammy is that by the time the child and family have exhausted local resources and made the commitment to go so far for help the child and relationship pattern in the family has deteriorated even further making healing even more difficult and expensive and time consuming.

A long answer to a short question, “How do parents balance nurturing and accountability?” There are some answers on my website. There would be extensively more answers from me if I entered into a therapeutic relationship with the family as an answer must be found that works for everyone involved….the parents, the child and the other siblings.

Good luck to the family, DEB


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