Talking to daughter's therapist

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Talking to daughter's therapist

Unread postby Claudius » Mon May 28, 2012 10:18 am

Hi, hope everyone's having a nice Memorial Day weekend (hopefully with your kids).

I could use some advice, if anyone has the time and a little wisdom. D5 has been seeing a therapist on and off for several months, to get help coping more constructively with her parents' marriage disintegrating around her. NJ takes her, by default, since I'm at work during business hours. I believe the therapist, a young woman, HAS been fairly helpful to D5. D5 likes her.

Recently I got wind that not only has NJ been taking D5 to the therapist, but that NJ has made appointments for herself with the same woman. Supposedly they are about what NJ can do as a parent to help D5 through this, and so on - not so much the therapy NJ herself badly needs. Without having the office bugged, but having known NJ for so long, I can guarantee that the therapist is hearing some pretty negative things about me, gross exaggerations at best, but spoken in all apparent sincerity. NJ has begun boasting and taunting me about it.

Apparently the therapist wants to talk to me. I would like to have that conversation as well. Even NJ tells me to go talk to her, because she confidently expects the therapist to "tell me off". (She kept expecting our marraige counselor to do the same thing, which never happened.) NJ's eternal goal is to make me realize I'll be so poor and lonely after a divorce that I'm better off accepting that she controls the kids and the money and I should keep my mouth shut except for saying, "Yes", "You're right", "We'll do it your way", and "Sure, we'll just take it from savings". If NJ has this therapist ready to say, These kids need to be with mom", then even with the excellent lawyer I've got lined up...that's going to hurt. Badly.

So how do I approach a meeting with this therapist? I don't want to come off as defensive, nor to I want to tip my hand as far as some evidence I've got. I can and will keep it kid-centric and find out what we can do to further insulate D5 from our problems. (Not that NJ will let that happen - since I don't give a hang what she says or does anymore, her only control over me is to thrust the kids into the line of fire.) But in an hour or whatever - any tips on how I can at least ease this potentially important woman out of the NJ camp without spending the whole time rebutting NJ's lies, recounting her own misdeeds, and looking paranoid? SHOULD I plant some seeds against NJ? My concern also is that D5, knowing how much the therapist talks to NJ, may be reluctant to say how much some of NJ antics have upset her. She may fear that the therapist will tell NJ, and then she (D5) will face the backlash.
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Re: Talking to daughter's therapist

Unread postby Fatheroffour » Mon May 28, 2012 10:29 am

Therapy for a 5 year old to help with coping with the parents divorce?

In the overall scheme of things the therapist will do absolutely nothing for the child and will most likely end up being a witness for one parent or the other.

If you cannot commit to being at every session for damage control, sending the child with mom is a huge mistake.
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Re: Talking to daughter's therapist

Unread postby BartSimpson » Mon May 28, 2012 10:58 am

I don't think there is any value in meeting with the therapist.

The fact that you are already considering how to manipulate the situation is a clear indication that it is a useless waste of time and energy.

I once was in the same position - asked to speak to the therapist - and it was dreadful. The therapist put off so many telltales that she didn't like men that I graciously excused myself. As I was leaving, she blocked my exit and demanded payment for that session and the outstanding balance for my daughter.

It's a trap.
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Re: Talking to daughter's therapist

Unread postby Trevor » Mon May 28, 2012 12:03 pm

[Blocked your exit, Bart? Bodily? Wow, that's sufficient for a person to get a restraining order.]

I agree that you won't get anywhere meeting with the therapist, but there might be some merit to "knowing your enemy."

Has the therapist stated the specific purpose for the meeting? Advised about what you might bring to the meeting?

What would you want to gain from the meeting? Merely a chance to say "every story has at least two sides, and you have heard her side, are you prepared to listen objectively to mine?" Or to assert that all you're willing to discuss are strategies to help the child, not rerun of old history, not batting practice with all her lies and allegations.

You have control of your words and behavior if you choose to attend a meeting. Bring a list of questions that target your goals, for example how she insulates her interviews with parents from each other and fromthe kids, in order to triangulate to some semblance of objectivity. Answer questions thoughfully and briefly. No narrative answers. And no answers to questions not related to strategies to help the kids.
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Re: Talking to daughter's therapist

Unread postby Claudius » Wed May 30, 2012 1:47 pm

Thanks, guys.

@FatherOfFour: That's what I want to avoid, the therapist as a witness for NJ. NJ keeps bragging that she has all these people ready to talk about how angry I am and how I'm neglectful of the kids (her family, doctors, dentists, our marriage counselor). For the most part I'm not concerned and in fact if she tries to get medical personnel to talk about common, minor childhood bumps and bruises, it may even backfire against her. D5's therapist, though...this one scares me. Not so much because I think she'll take NJ's garbage at face value, more because D5's words may be chosen carefully as she is astute and knows that what she says will likely be shared with NJ, who doesn't take disappointment well. At the least I want my lawyer to have some ammunition for the defense. Do you, or does anyone, know of a way I can prevent D5 from seeing this therapist?

@BartSimpson: I'm not trying to "manipulate the situation" but to prevent NJ from doing same. I do agree that NJ may intend it as a trap. Looking for a few jiu-jitsu moves here, if possible. I increasingly feel that the therapist is a trap whether I talk to her or not.

@Trevor: I want to gain two things. 1) A better understanding of where D5's head is and what I can do to help, and 2) to blunt this weapon that NJ intends to aim at me. Thanks for your ideas, I will definitely keep in mind.
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