Therapeutic Interaction

Every Tuesday, Scott and I put on our wedding rings like armor. It’s easier than explaining, “We don’t usually wear them; they fall off. We won’t resize them. My grandmother touched them.” We dress in slacks and button down shirts. I strap on my ten dollar gold watch and poke through my golden heart earrings. He shaves as we drive Caroline to school.

Then he, Sam and I, jump on the highway for the hour-long commute to therapy. It’s exhausting.

We’re working with a graduate student clinic in Auburn. We’re very lucky to be there. The students, completing their practicums under licensed psychologists, have access to the newest theories, the things that might help Sam. Only right now, because it’s the first six weeks, the part where they have to see for themselves that the tried and true is useless for us, we’re trapped in CDI.

Those initials stand for Child Directed Intervention or some bullshit. It amounts to them thinking that because Sam has a lot of attention seeking behaviors, he must be attention motivated. They think that we can manipulate his love of people’s focus into making him act better.

I have explained point blank that if that worked we wouldn’t be here.

But they think they have a new way to go about it. Or maybe they don’t quite exactly believe us. Or maybe they believe us but think our perceptions are necessarily biased. Ultimately they will, as have all their predecessors, actually treat my child.

In the meantime, we have to deal with baby talk. “That’s a great tower.” “I love the patience you showed with those bricks.” Like what, maybe he’ll learn patience with people when he knows damned well Legos are inanimate objects?

CDI has a team based approach, so a pair of shrinks-in-training dissect our weekly interactions.  I’m pretty confident that once we get through the “getting to know you” garbage, they’ll be able to help us.

But while we wait this out, Scott and I become the psychologists’ trained seals, pattering out attaboys and hoping we’re wrong. We get on our middle class family act one morning every week and commute an hour each way to buy our son a chance to grow up human. We hold our wedding rings in the palms of our hands and wish for two generations of blessings as we ride into battle.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Therapeutic Interaction — 7 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. I was wondering how it was going. I’ve told you before, and I’ll tell you again. Sam and Caroline got two of the best parents in the universe. You keep fighting for him. My money is on you for the win.
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    • Thanks Andra. I keep reminding myself that he’s only six. He lost his shit at the ballet tonight. The time change has him all fucked up on his meds schedule, among other things, and I had to nearly kill him to get him to take them. But then, at the height of his screaming fit, when I seriously thought somebody might call the cops to save the abused child, I said, “Oh WOW, there’s this cool grasshopper at the top of the stairs, and you’ve got to see it before it flies off!” And “ZOOM” he was up there, temper forgotten, spiral interrupted. I want a psychological theory that teaches me how to do that, how to distract a spiral effectively and interrupt it completely so that he can learn the tactic for himself ultimately.

  2. It is like fortifying yourself for battle. I truly wish doctors would listen more to parents who know their kids and their behavior, rather than “poo-pooing” their observations. Good luck to all of you.
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  3. I know Sam will grow up human. Maybe in part, because you have found a clinic to take him to that has access to cutting edge theory – but mostly because you and Scott are so knowing and invested in your kids. I wish you the best on this journey – and I will be following along, of course.
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  4. Why, oh why, must clinicians underestimate children in their ability to manipulate situations? Of course Sam’s a smart kid and he knows how to work the system. But listen to the parents? Bah!

    I love the skins you and Scott adopt for the purpose and the way you describe them.
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