Therapist for Me - understanding G&T impt?

Posted by: Pinecroft

Therapist for Me - understanding G&T impt? - 09/29/21 11:06 PM

We're really struggling right now, as DS16 has had a slew of issues. I don't know how to separate any of this out anymore - what's gifted kid stuff, what's potentially something 'more' (he likely has ADHD, but is also being treated for Lyme and Bartonella, both of which could result in the brain fog and difficulty with paying attention; its quite possible he's somewhere on the spectrum, etc). He's always been pretty quirky, and we're really seeing how badly his social skills are lagging... He truly doesn't have any real friends, which is heartbreaking. He's lonely and isolated, and it is not just from covid (although I'm quite sure that made things worse). He's just started seeing a therapist, has a great medical doc, and we're committed to doing whatever we can to get him the help he needs. If we can keep him from breaking in the meantime.

I'm actually here to ask advice about a therapist for *me*. Those here who see someone themselves, how important/useful is it to find someone who has a knowledge of gifted kids? Given all the things (cuz of course I have my own stuff too...), I don't know if it really matters, but it might help to provide insight and context, especially with the guilt over the 'I should have dones' from when the kids were younger (DYS14 is incredibly intense, to put it mildly; but she's much more typical in almost every way, and has lots of friends). And who can at least understand how some of DS's issues might be from the neurodiversity we know he has vs another we speculate about... (and there could be many, from PANS to ASD or ADHD, etc.)
Posted by: cricket3

Re: Therapist for Me - understanding G&T impt? - 10/01/21 05:36 AM

Iím so sorry you all are struggling right now. I suspect many posters here can relate; our family can for sure.

I was watching this thread, hoping someone had some insight for you- mainly because I am not sure I have much insight! Though I can offer plenty of support, understanding and commiseration. I think this is a tough question, as there are so many different variables involved. One of the biggest, I imagine, is even finding a therapist with that focus. So, while I donít have that experience, I can share a bit of our own story in case that can help you make decisions going forward.

We feel very lucky in the therapist we see- she is family therapist, among other things, recommended to us by our wonderful pediatrician. She has seen all of us individually, and we have had family sessions together in various configurations, as needed. Right now she is working individually with you youngest (virtually while they are at college) and I see her individually as well. While she is not specifically trained in gifted issues, I have found her to be extremely helpful. It certainly helps that we have great rapport, and itís clear that she is very intelligent (she has a PhD, teaches grad students in psychology, is an author, etc). She has been able to connect well with each of us, and the fact that she knows my kid well helps when I am struggling with issues similar to those that you raise (guilt, intensity, uncertainty and anxiety about how to help your kid, etc). There has been noticeable improvement in our family communication as well.
ETA: She has helped me see different perspectives and gain clarity when my thoughts are muddled or disorganized. At this point we see her only intermittently, on an as-needed basis, but just knowing sheís available is deeply helpful.

So Iím a big fan of this therapist and her approach- but with the caveat that our kids are older (college age, though DS started with her in high school) and I donít have any experience with gifted-focused therapists with which to compare. Good luck, and I hope you find someone who works for you. Perhaps you could ask your kidís therapist for a recommendation?
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Therapist for Me - understanding G&T impt? - 10/01/21 03:34 PM

Knowledge of giftedness is, IMO, not at all important. Youíll need a bright therapist who can run with you, though.

What is important, in my experience, is the therapistís openness to new ideas, understanding of the experience of being an outlier, and a good therapeutic alliance. Therapists who work with patients with terminal diseases or disabilities have a special gift in understanding the outlier component, Iíve found.

I also tend to look at the list of therapeutic models they employ, but that comes from knowing how my particular mind works best.

You wonít regret therapy! Personally, I think itís a lifelong investment in good health, and it is a superb prophylactic against unhealthy habits.