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Finding a Counselor

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Weatherly posted 7/2/2013 17:00 PM

How does one find the right counselor/therapist for their kids?

Even acknowledging this is needed is hard. I've went to counseling for a period of time 3 times in my life. Once, when I ran away from home at 13 I went to family counseling and that meant my parents literally screamed at me while calling me a lying bitch, while the counselor said they were just expressing their feelings. My grandma had to put me in therapy to get me through counseling. And, once we tried marriage counseling, where XH told the guy I was nagging and insane. I explained I nagged because he was cheating, then XH and counselor explained to me that making out with coworkers wasn't really cheating. So, yeah, I've been a little gun shy about this.

But, I think I need to get them someone to talk to. Every time I think my XH can't be more of an asshole, they tell me something new he has done, like threatening to throw their puppy off a cliff, then spanking them for crying. If I tell him they told me ANYTHING, he will punish them more.

*Background, long*
Years ago...6 I guess now. My ex threatened to run me over. He was on a motorcycle and I wasn't obeying as he thought I should. My oldest had left the house, where I told him to stay, and he heard this and ran over to protect me. Now, my ex knew I would obey, so, he told me to move or he'd run me over and he revved the engine and spun the tires. I picked up my son and ran into the house. It was never really brought up again.

Fast forward, my XH continues to own motorcycles, and he almost always stops owning them because he wrecks them, or because he has too many tickets. He is always after DS9 to ride with him, and DS will not do it. So, X makes fun of him, calling him names, etc. I've told him to stop it, but he won't.

On vacation last week, my H and I rented little three-wheeled scooters to drive. They seat two. I had DS7 and H had DS9. DS9 was actually the one who asked to rent them, and we were so shocked, we said yes. So, as we drove, H was talking to DS9. Apparently, he loved the scooter. And, he would really like to try to go on one small motorcycle ride, but, not with XH, only with H. H says this is fine, he would love to take him. DS9 gets upset and begins telling H "I can't, I want to, but daddy said if I ever went with you, he'd spank me and ground me and punish me a lot, because I'm not allowed to love you or go with you. But, I can't go with daddy. He always wrecks and he tried to run me over!" H is driving and has no idea what to say, and he says something like "No, Daddy didn't try to run you over. He was wrong, but he was mad at mommy." And, DS9 insists it was HIM. He doesn't even remember I was there.

So, now, of course I feel like shit. I did try to protect him at the time. I filed for divorce the next day. When it was time for the custody hearing, I brought that up, but the judge said I had no proof. so, I think I need to get the boys help, and I think I need a 3rd party to hear all the stuff they tell me.

But, how do I even go about finding this 3rd party? What am I looking for? I don't even know where to begin.

Ashland13 posted 7/2/2013 17:19 PM

HI Weatherly,

Often I feel as you do and I also spend time wondering who would believe some of the things I had to say?

I have a lot of trouble with counselors now as well. The background there is because STBX found an MC and we went separately, I for six months and him for who knows how long? But he filled her ears with the most awful lies about me and was trying to convince her that I am incompetent, an "emotional cripple" and other things that are hard to hear.

She pursued these insults relentlessly and some relatives think she was "at me" in that way to try to poke holes in his accusations. The last time I went she was standing over my chair, while I was in tears, shouting at me.

Almost a year later, I found another one, who is not flashy like the first one or out for a lot of money, but showed signs of really wanting to help me. She validated my feelings as a person, a wife, a mother and also gives help with original family members who are narcissistic. She also backs me up if I have an idea or something I want to do and I can call her if I have an emotional crisis any time and the other was not this way.

I think my long message is to say, that I think a good counselor is one who is validating and supportive and offers advice, but not in an overbearing way. They are out there but not easy to find.

I think it's really important that kids have someone to talk to and someone not a relative, which is also good for us as parents to know who may be hearing what.

One hard time we have is that my mother gets DD to confide secrets or information about us to her or grills DD when she is alone and that does not sit well with me-nor can I fix it, for I've tried hard.

You sound like a good mom, Weatherly and I'm sorry for your hard times.

We, too do not agree things for parenting and I can't stand some of the divorce and separation parenting terminology.

It's hard to see our kids suffer, isn't it?

STBX here said to DD during false R, "stop that or daddy will leave again."

Ashland13 posted 7/2/2013 17:24 PM

Also, I wonder about social services in your area and what they offer? Where I live there's an organization that helps women in particular when they come up against difficult times. Sometimes they just offer advice or other times open doors to other social services.

And a social worker comes to mind, as an idea for a third party who could maybe work with the counselor and you and your kids altogether or separately.

tryingagain74 posted 7/2/2013 20:09 PM

I asked the school counselor whom she would recommend, but maybe since school isn't in session, you could try the kids' pediatrician?


kernel posted 7/2/2013 20:25 PM

Ask the school counselor, your family doctor, your church pastor/priest and any family or friends and co-workers. Honestly, I think the more recommendations you can get the better. Ideally, they will be recommending the same person. Unfortunately, it's hard to find a good fit. My DS went to several when he was young and some of them were just ridiculous and off the wall.

Nature_Girl posted 7/2/2013 21:32 PM

Finding a good counselor for kids is not easy. So prepare yourself.

The first one my kids saw was recommended through MY counselor. She was wonderful & so helpful. We had to stop seeing her when school starting due to scheduling issues.

The one my kids see now was recommended via our pediatrician. He is excellent. Asking your pediatrician is a good place to start.

But let me tell you, finding someone who specializes in kids is not easy. In my experience you should find someone who has a Ph.D. and also is/was involved with social work. You want them to really focus on kids and families, not someone who just happens to also see kids as a part of their adult practice. Lots of counselors won't see kids at all, like my IC, as much as I love her and she's changed my life, she won't see kids.

Good luck!

hexed posted 7/2/2013 23:56 PM


we work with a family counselor with TG's kids. It seems to help.

I interviewed a few. I just googled counselors in the area. I filtered for ones with family counseling/children specialties. I called. I talked to them a bit. I picked 3 and scheduled in person appointments. I told them our general issues. I asked about their experience and training working with kids in the age range.

I ended up picking one that I felt most comfortable with. Its been good so far. We just focus with the kids that the counseling meetings are their safe time to discuss whatever they want with her. They seem to get a lot out of it. Its made a HUGE difference with TG's 13yr old DD. I don't want to kill her all the time now. She used to tell HUGE lies and she seems to have worked that too.

Give it a try. Let the boys know its their place to say whatever they want. We didn't focus on "OMG you've got issues!" We started with - 'hey we've had lots of big changes lately, lets just talk to someone who can make sure we're all doing good'

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