Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trust and Respect

Last night we had therapy. I wanted to share some of the awesome suggestions (and homework) that Paulette gave us.

We have seen a real shift in our therapy sessions. When we first started seeing Paulette, the sessions were very traumatic and our goal was getting major behavior issues under control. Now that the major behaviors are under control, our focus has shifted to more specific issues. Last night, Paulette read Alyssa a book about personality traits. (The title was something about cookies, but I can't remember what it is). Alyssa was told that each trait that Paulette read, she should list either in a "Doing Well" column or a "Need to Work on" column. Based on Alyssa's list, we chose two traits that we were going to work on in the next two weeks. The first trait was "Trustworthy". The book explained "trustworthy" as if I ask you to hold my cookie, when I come back, my cookie will still be there. So Alyssa is to make a poster with the word "Trustworthy" on the top. Each time Jeff and I "catch" her being trustworthy, we draw a cookie on the poster and write a one word description of what we "caught" her doing. For example, this morning I asked Alyssa if she put deodorant on. She started to lie, but then caught herself and admitted she forgot. I congratulated her for being trustworthy and got to put a cookie on her poster! WAY COOL! Alyssa was very excited to see that first cookie!

The second trait we decided to work on was respect. Again, Alyssa made a poster with the word "Respect" on the top. When you show respect to people, yourself, and your things, it makes people happy. So every time we "catch" her showing respect, we will put a smiley face on her poster with a one word description. She seems really excited about this so hopefully it will make her more aware of how her words and actions affect other people.

I have to say that Paulette seems to have an unending bag of tricks. This latest homework project is really going to make Alyssa think. The coolest thing is that in Alyssa's mind, it is fun and almost like a game!

Just wanted to mention that whenever you are dealing with attachment issues, the rule is always "You need to have an attachment therapist". I don't necessarily agree with this. In my mind, an attachment therapist is someone who is trained in a specific "camp". For instance, either trained with Nancy Thomas, Daniel Hughes, Bryan Post, etc. These people do intensive therapy and only treat with one style. I have always recommended to people that they search for a therapist that specializes in adoption and trauma. Like Paulette. These therapists understand attachment disorders. They read EVERYTHING that is available about attachment. They suggest techniques and treatments based on a multitude of "camps". They are not afraid to try techniques from various philosophies and they are very hands on. They work with the family as a team and develop a strategy that works for the individual child. I think that the most important thing to look for when choosing a therapist is 1) The therapist does not meet with the child alone and 2) The therapist is willing to try various strategies and 3) The therapist is someone that you TRUST!

Back to our homework. Alyssa told Jeff & I that she is determined to fill up both posters before we see Paulette again. Awesome goal! I think she is going to work real hard to achieve it!


ali said...

good idea! how old is she? i havent seen how old she is anywhere yet. i agree about "therapists". we've had 2 of them. one told me "wow! hes doing great! he doesnt need me! you got one of the good ones!" (NO LIE)um.. then why was he climbing out of my car ON THE FREEWAY? she specialized in grief & loss in children. 3 years later we hooked him up with a RAD spe ialist. after 12 weeks all she wanted to do was play cards and talk, week after week after week..... i was done and to be brutally honest, the sessions were totally inconvenient, she would not budge on scheduled times, and all she did was "listen", never set him straight or helped him figure anything out... i saw no progression except for he loved the fact that it was a pain for me to get him there! "ha ha you have to take me to see so & so tomorrow. ha ha" crap like that. he loved that it was tough to coordinate, he loved that control he felt. the only reason he knew the hardship was because the shrink & i talked about schedules in front of him. one day she told me not to tell him to tei his shoes in front of people lol. "wow. thanks for filling me in, ive only been a parent for 20 years, i really needed that advice. now all my problems are solved!" LOL she was a joke and that was the last we saw of her. im willimg to try a new one, but.... UGH

Unspeakable Joy said...

great stuff! our AT is very flexible as well and i really appreciate it. and she reminded me today of the regressive stuff i need to get on with em. not looking forward to it, she's just so cold and abrasive that it's hard for *me*. i just have to remember it's not about me. i love the idea of working on specific traits one at a time though, might have to work that in!