Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care

How to Choose an Adoption Competent Therapist

February 23, 2022 Season 16 Episode 8
Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
How to Choose an Adoption Competent Therapist
Show Notes Transcript

Have you or your child faced adoption related struggles? Do you think therapy might be helpful? We discuss how to find and choose an adoption competent therapist with Kelly Raudenbush, a child and family therapist and the director of Sparrow Counseling, providing specialized therapeutic services for foster and adopted children and their families.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What type of professional can provide therapy?
  • What’s the difference between being adoption competent and adoption informed?
  • Why is competency in adoption issues important?
  • What do we mean be an “adoption competent therapist”? What makes a therapist adoption informed? 
  • Is adoption competence the same as trauma competence?
  • How can you tell if a therapist is competent to handle adoption issues? Are there specific trainings that provide adoption competency?
  • Creating a Family provides a list of ways to find an adoption competent therapist on our Adoption Therapy section. 
  • How to find a therapist with lived experience of being adopted?
  • Is one type of therapeutic model of treatment more effective for adoptive children and families? Theraplay, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), Narrative therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
  • Should therapy with adopted kids on adoption issues involve just the child, or the child and the parent?
  • How can a parent determine if the therapist is a good fit for the child and family? What questions should they ask?
  • What is home-based therapy and what are the advantages to this type of therapy for adoptive and foster families.
  • How can you find a therapist that will provide therapy within the home? (One source is
  • Is therapy via tele-health or via teleconferencing as effective for adoptive families? How to know if it will work for your family? Ways to make it more effective.
  • When to seek a therapist?


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Please pardon the errors, this is an automatic transcription.
Welcome, everyone to Creating a Family talk about adoption and foster care. I'm Dawn Davenport. I am the host of this show as well as the director of creating a Today we're going to be talking about how to choose an adoption competent therapist with Kelly Raudenbush. She is a child and family therapist and the executive director of the Sparrow fund in the Philadelphia area. She spearheads Sparrow counseling, providing specialized therapeutic services for foster and adoptive children, as well as their families. Welcome Kelly to Creating a Family.

Thank you for having me. I'm so glad to be here.

Yeah, this is a topic, it's an important one, it's one we get a lot of, it's a funny topic in the sense that we, we always recommend cheese, we always recommend therapy for first, for families who are struggling, and then a second, we will say that the therapist should have knowledge of adoption. Now ideally, now, if you don't have that any therapist is probably better than none. So so but so don't let perfection get in the way of good here. But anyway, but it's so it's a nebulous term, and it's one that we throw about a lot. So I am glad to be talking about it with you today. But let's start with just a really basic question. What type of professionals provide therapy in general? I'm not talking adoption, competent therapy. I'm just talking about what type of professionals can provide therapy?

Sure, yeah. Um, there's a lot of different helpers that can do like what we typically imagine is therapy. There's social workers and counselors and psychologists, some psychiatrist provide psychotherapy. So it's, it's kind of a wide range of helpers, which probably is why it's so confusing and hard for families.

Yeah, I know. And, you know, it's, there are just a an alphabet soup of initials that can follow somebody. And for sure, you can Google that and find out but that's probably not the, that shouldn't be where you begin and in choosing a therapist is what know what their initials after their name are. So let's, what's the difference between the word that we hear bandied about a lot now, adoption competence, and adoption informed when we're talking about mental health professionals?

Yeah, this is something that I've been actually spending a lot of time thinking about lately, in terms of a lot of things, not just adoption, but also thinking about like, cultural competence, versus culturally informed and feel like the word competence is a bit weighted in that it implies a bit. finitude, like completion, as if somebody has has something figured out. Like they've arrived. Like, they know what they're doing, they are not competent. And I wonder if using labels, like competency could create expectations that actually could be harming honestly, for both the helper and the one being helped in that, especially if we use the word competency as a helper. I feel like I am perhaps less free to be exploring and reflective and learning and growing. Like, it's expected of me that I need to know exactly what to do, if I'm competent in it,

or that I have become competent. And it ends at that point, because I know what it is. But would you agree that either competence or informed us? That's not even a word isn't about?

Let's make it a word? Yeah. Okay.

Being an illicit Listen, let me go back, hearken back to my English days being informed or being informed about adoption issues. Would you agree that that's an important thing for a family to seek out when they are adopted? Either one?

Okay, good. Absolutely. Absolutely. Being informed is, is absolutely helpful, but informed in a way that the clinician that your helper is coming into your, your your life, with a spirit of humility, and not having figured it all out? Not as not as the expert, but with expertise. And I think that that is a big difference.

Okay, that that would make sense. So what makes a therapist adoption informed? Or what could make a therapist adoption informed?

You know, it from my perspective, and I'm, I'm totally willing to accept the fact that if you ask this question of different people in this field, you would get probably 100 different answers from 100 different people. But yes, I mean, simply put, from my perspective, I think it takes an understanding of relationships and the breadth of effects that trauma can have when it's experienced in the client. Text of relationships. So I think, you know, simply put understanding of relationships and understanding of trauma, as well as being willing to see the child in the context of a family. You know if that makes sense, no, no, that makes

very good sense. But that begs the question of what's the difference between adoption informed or adoption competence, depending on the term and try informed or trauma

competent? I guess that, I don't know if there's a super distinctive difference with that. I mean, some people could say, there are different types of trauma, there's trauma that's experienced as a single event, you know, that can blindside or overwhelm someone like an illness or an accident or witnessing an assault, even being a victim of assault could could be categorized like that. And then there's a different type of trauma that's experienced over time, in the context of relationships, and honestly, adoption can fall into both can be both a singular event that is traumatic as well as an experience of trauma in the context of relationships. Over time, it depending on a child's situation, it really fits into both. So trauma is a bit of an umbrella term and adoption informed may fit under that, if that makes sense.

Yeah, it I would add to your what I liked your definition, as far as what it takes to be and why it's important to be adoption, informed or competent. I would add that an openness to view adoption, outside to embrace the numerous losses that can be a part of adoption doesn't have to be but it can, depending on how the adoptee and the parents in the adoptive parents process it. But I think that's another thing. I think that in the, in the past, hopefully fairly distant past. The idea was, once you were adopted, any of the losses associated that was not a loss. That was a that was a gain, and again, only and that, that the focus needed then to be shifted folks into the future and not into the past. And so I do think that it's important that I think we have most therapists move past that, or at least adoption informed therapists should

have. Right, right, right, right. Yeah.

So how can you tell if a therapist is adoption, competent or informed? If how are they? How can you tell if they are up to the handling adoption issues? If that's what you're seeking therapy for your family or child or yourself for? Are there specific trainings? Let's talk about questions to ask later. Let's let's start by saying, Are there specific trainings that you can look for? And then we'll talk about questions later.

I mean, there are certainly some therapeutic models that tend to be accessed for serving adopted children and their families. So certainly, consideration of model is part of it. But to my knowledge, there really aren't specific trainings to become adoption informed. Clinicians, I think it has more to do with experience and sensitivity and how a clinician sees a child and a family, which makes it incredibly difficult.

Yeah, it does. A few trainings that you can look for. One is the Center for adoption support and education. They have a wealth and adoption competency initiative funded by a federal grant to increase the number of adoption, competent professionals and as part of their website, which you can find adoption competency Initiative, or just center for adoption, support and education, Google either of those, I will include links to them, as I say, where you can find links to them at creating a family's website, and that would be creating a, our Disco creating a Click on the horizontal menu, that adoption, click on adoption topics, scroll down and click on adoption therapy. And all of there will be links to everything we've talked about. We are talking about today there. So anyway, the Center for adoption support and education has some specific training, and then they list those who have gone through the training. So that would be one. Do you know of others that that provide any form of training that might be applicable?

Yeah, I mean, many adoptive families are familiar with the tbri model. That's it's not a therapeutic model. It's a parenting model. It stands for trust based relational intervention, which was championed by Dr. Karen Purvis, and now is championed by the Karen Purvis Institute for Child Development, and they have a program for tbri certified practitioners. That is not a be all to find a good therapist, there's plenty of good therapists who have not done. And there's a lot of people who've done that training who are not therapists, you know, there are teachers, other professionals who have gone through the tbri training just to learn how to serve families. So that is another resource to find maybe some people to connect with and some potentials. But, you know, I'm not sure if if such a program actually exists. I'm glad to hear that there are some that might be scratching the surface. But I don't know if there's a perfect program that therapists can go through to then have like a document on the wall that says that they're adoption certified or, you know, adoption. competent. I don't I don't know if that truly exists.

No. And I would suspect neither of these would claim that although I think that case center for adoption support niche? Oh, absolutely, we would probably go that far. You know, I was glad you mentioned experience in one form of experience that I think that I want to throw out there is, depending on the issue that your child or your family is facing, the lived experience of an adopted person can be a very useful lens in which to help the family. And there is a list of adopt a therapist adopted people who have since become therapists. And we link to that, on that page I mentioned it is with the beyond words, psychological services, it is not a guarantee, either they wish they list by state adopted or therapist and you can look through and see if the therapist specializes in the issue that your family or your child or yourself is facing. So that's another that's another resource, and one that we strongly encourage. And you can also I should mention a number of those therapist or therapist of color. So if your child is struggling with some as a transracial adoptee struggling with some of those issues, speaking with a therapist who may have lived that experience may be helpful as well. Alright, so is anything else before we move on? I should didn't mean to hurry here. Is there any any other place that people could go specifically to find a adoption competency? Oh, you know, one other thing I would throw out before I is that word of mouth is of other

pair? Yeah. Yeah, go ahead. That's honestly that the next thing that I was going to mention is, you mentioned social media, as far as the connecting can go with other families, like, you know, reaching out to other families, you know, who are local, in whatever that social media may look like for you, whether that's, you know, Facebook groups, or some other form with other families and be willing to put out there to say, who have come along, you know, who have you used? Who has helped support your family? And why? What like, Why do you like them? Like, what, what made them helpful? I think that that's like a great way to find for your family? Because the reality is, is that not everybody is all things for all people. Yes. So, you know, there may be a really, really great clinician, for one family who just isn't the right fit for someone else. So I always like to add that question of what, what made them helpful to you, not just who do you recommend with like a list of names, but to get a little bit more color? To why that particular helper was appreciated? What what helped them move along? Where what was the presenting problem? You know, how did they do it? How long were they coming alongside the family? I think all of those things are really important to ask.

Very good point. One other source that I thought of is your adoption agency and asking them Now often, sometimes not oftentimes, sometimes the agency that places a child with you is not located in your geographic area. So another so if that's the case, another tip is to contact your county, or another agency in your area could be a foster placing agency could be your county social service agency. It could be another adoption agency, and ask who they have had success with, to get a name of who they're recommending for their families to go to. So I

know there's Yeah, I mean, even if your adoption agency is not local, adoption agencies, they know each other, you know, they connect with other colleagues. They go to conferences together. So don't discount their ability to help you find someone One good point, because I'm in a number of groups where I'll see someone post and say, I have a family in this state, who knows someone who might be helpful to them locally and things like that. You know, and

we should expect that that is a service that we should expect of those placing agencies placing children. So good point. Don't discount them if just because they're not local, as far as their ability to help you, sir. We hope you're enjoying this episode. Did you know that you could get more expert based free content, just like today's podcast, thanks to the jockey being Family Foundation, we have 12 free online courses available for you on our online learning center that's being provided free by jockeying family, they are focused on parenting courses, and you can use them for your see if you're a foster parent check with your agency, of course, but it could be used there. You can also just be used to make you a better parent. To get there you go to Bitly, slash j, b f support that is bi T dot L y slash J BF support. Check it out today. Is one type of therapeutic model of treatment more effective for adoptive children and families than another?

This is such a good question and one that I feel like I get asked a lot. And you know that there are some models that tend to be used more commonly for adopted children and families. But it's really more about the space between the helper and the one being helped rather than the model itself. When we're talking about relational work. What matters most is the relationship. So, you know, I want to see families. That's kind of why I asked families, what made someone helpful, I want to see a family. They felt like they mattered. I don't want a family to dread seeing the appointment pop up on their calendar. I want you know, it's hard work so I can understand if they're kind of like, oh, boy, here we go. Yeah, it can be hard work. But it shouldn't be dreadful, like therapy can be and should be fun. It should be connecting, you should leave the therapy feeling good and hopeful and moving forward. You know, so I, I, you know, we can talk about models. I think that's important. But, you know, always kind of remembering that caveat that, like, more important than a system or a strategy or a model is the person who's using it.

That's such a good point. And does it work? Does it fit with you? Have you connected? Right, right, right. Excellent. All right. But now let's talk about some of the different models that you said some have been shown to be more effective. Let's talk about those.

So do you want me to name some or do you want to ask about some, I would say to work exclusively with foster and adoptive theraplay DDP, which stands for dyadic developmental psychotherapy, and tbri, which we already mentioned, which, like I said, it's not a therapeutic model. But a lot of clinicians get, you know, trained and familiar in it, to help coach parents on on how to use strategies, other models that can be helpful and narrative work is really helpful. EMDR is is a model that's growing in popularity for help us trauma. Also, Animal Assisted work has shown to be very, very helpful for kids who struggle with giving and receiving affection, and letting other people be in charge. All and all of those things, a lot of our kiddos struggle with who have come from a background of trauma.

And we just mentioned EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It goes commonly by EMDR. So yeah,

though most people probably don't even know what it stands for. So I'm glad that you gave that information, including probably therapists, it's yes, yes. Yes. When I say most people I was including myself in that most Yes, yeah, exactly.

And it's something that that to also note, that, for instance, if you are looking for a therapist trained in therapy, like or trained in trust based relational intervention, tbri, you can go to their websites and likely find a resource, usually often broken down by state of therapists who have gone through their training. So that's another way Now they may not have experience tbri probably does have experience with adoption or foster theraplay may or may not. So they have to be additional questions, but you could very easily find a list in your state. So finding somebody nearby. I don't know about David pages that have a website that where you could go and have a list of practitioners who have trained to them.

Yes. So DDP also has a list of clinicians who are trained in it. I believe theraplay does, too. It does. theraplay is an attachment based model. And so I think that, that it's, I mean, it's always good to ask more questions. But if someone has a background and training and theraplay, I believe that they would be, you know, adoption and trauma informed, because that really is an emphasis of theraplay.

Okay, good. I stand corrected them. And they, yes, they do have a directory, or less than my look they did. Anyway. Are you enjoying today's podcast on how to choose an adoption competent therapist? If so, do us a favor and tell a friend about what you've learned, and how they can learn more about creating a family and our podcast. We are so grateful for your help in spreading the word about the podcast, most people learn about podcasts from their friends, so be affirmed and be a friend to us as well. Thanks. So you've alluded to the fact that that we can't just rely on initials or we can't just rely on being listed in a directory for having some form of training, we have to go beyond that. And and obviously, that that leads us to questions we should be asking. We, as parents, we as family should be asking or if you're an adult adoptee, but questions to ask a therapist to determine if they're a good fit for your child a good fit for your family, and especially in dealing obviously, with adoption issues. So that's what we're talking about. So what type of questions should should parents ask and it's awkward, I will add, it is very awkward to be asking questions, you feel like you're being judged just by asking questions sometimes.

Oh, that's not the case. I hope, you know, being on the helper side of this. I take very, very seriously that early communication with parents, because I recognize that by the time they get to the point that they're reaching out and asking about help. There has been a history of hurt that goes before that, that unit. So I I take very, very seriously those initial conversations. And I'm, I trust that that's the case with many helpers, that we recognize that a lot has transpired to even lead to that point. So I try to take whatever awkwardness is there, out of it. But I do hear you. And I'm certainly on the receiving end that that is hard. You know,

partly, it's hard, because as you so aptly point out, you're coming to as a family or a parent, you're coming to this, after having experienced something that is hard, whether you've experienced it, or whether your child is experienced or more likely you both have, and you come with vulnerabilities and a fear that you are the problem or the fear that Oh, yeah. Or fear that it's hopeless or a fear that you have screwed your life around royally. How are you going to get out of this? How are you going to improve the situation? So it's a it's a relationship formed out of fear, and sometimes or out of fear or desperation or whatever. So I think that's part of the what we call awkwardness is what we're what we as parents and families are bringing to the equation.

Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And I think I mean, one thing that I, I think is inherent, like you said, to the start of this relationship thing, like started in hard things, I think it's also a relationship that is not reciprocal, you know, and, actually, that's quite freeing. You know, the reality is, is that, you know, you're paying someone to come alongside and help you in different ways, like there is a cost to that. And that means you don't have to be like, their friend, you don't have to like reciprocate the help that they're giving you. And honestly, I think that takes a little bit of the vulnerability out of it to know that like, that is inherent and expected and normal in that relationship. And it's okay.

Yeah, good point. Yeah. All right. So what are some of the questions that you should ask as a parent to determine, is this a good fit?

I think primarily, you know, when I talk to parents, before they even fill out intake work, you know, before they ever fill out a form, if they express an interest in services, we typically offer a short call. Because what I what I say to families is, I don't want you to be sitting on a waiting list and not know you're waiting for what you really want. You know, like, if this isn't what you want, Then let's figure that out on this side of things so that you can find what you need, and not sit around waiting for something that may not fit your family. So, I mean, one thing I would say is ask for the phone call. Like, if there's a potential Helper, that you're wondering about if they would be a good fit, like, be bold enough to say, can I please have a phone call just a short 15 minutes to even, like, hear their voice? And try to test out if you would feel comfortable with them? You know, are they? Are they quick to say they're going to solve a problem? Or are they seeing your family more relationally? Or? No? Do you feel like you you could be comfortable sitting with them weekend and week out for a long time? You know, I think that's important, I would say two, probably the most important thing for adoptive families, is to ask how the clinician partners with the parents, is that priority? And what does it look like? Whether that's parents in the sessions or communication? Or how do they scaffold and come alongside parents specifically, rather than supporting the child? Only?

That's such a good, that leads me to a question because we get this question a lot. And there seems to be a fair amount of diversity. It should adopted it for therapies involving an adoptive family. Should the adoptive kid be just in the session? Or should the child and the parents be in the session together? Some combination of the two? How does that work? How do how do therapist scaffold in parents?

Yeah, yeah, this looks very, very different between practitioners. But I will say that these models that we've talked about, there are a play specifically, that's designed for the parent to be involved, DDP. Also that dyadic, developmental psychotherapy, the word dyadic, is that caregiver child part. So the model itself is based on the parents being actively involved in the sessions. Now, that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be good reason or cause to have some work done either alone with a child or loan with the parents. But a lot of these models are really structured around that relationship between the caregiver and the child. And so an essential part is that the parent is involved. Now, that doesn't mean, that doesn't mean that it couldn't be helpful. You know, like, if, if there's a therapist that you feel like could be a good fit for your family, but they say to you, oh, well, I will only see a child, I don't see families, that doesn't mean that we need to like, write, you know, write them off and say that they might not be helpful, there could still be good work to be done. But a lot of these models really are based on that attachment relationship. And so the parent involvement is an essential part of it.

If you had a therapist who said, I only want to work with the child, but the parent knows that they have information they need to share with the therapist, and they think that the therapist needs to share information with them so that they can be better parents of this child. How should a parent approach that?

Oh, that is such a good question. Because there's a lot of good good good clinicians, but who only work maybe with children, and I would say to that parent, click Make an appointment, just make an appointment for just yourself, you know, if if the clinician isn't set up or isn't comfortable, or just doesn't have experience working with the dyad with a with a caregiver and a child, they might be willing to work just with you as well. So maybe you do a pattern of like, you know, two sons with a child and one session with a parent only, and not with the family so that there is a partnership and kind of coaching and sharing and communication involved.

But that's only if the therapist is willing to to share information with you because some therapists That's right, well, not. They may see you independently. That's That's true.

But the communication really is essential. It's the it's not the child, it's not the parent, it's their relationship that is my client. And part of my consent form. children understand children over 14 Sign it parents see it is not confidentiality between children and parents, when we're doing this kind of attachment work. But But you're right, not everybody sees it in that same way. And that can that can get very challenging and complicated.

Yeah. Which may indicate that that's not the best type of therapy if you're seeking and, and but it's a good question to ask at the beginning. Right?

It doesn't mean it. You know, like we said, it doesn't mean that that helper cannot be of help? Because what we haven't mentioned yet, is the impact of just logistics. You know, we were talking about how to find like the best clinician, the best helper. But what we haven't mentioned is like, do you need insurance to cover it? You know, who, who has a waiting list? And who might be able to get you in faster? You has a what is the cost? How far away the distance wise? How practical? Is it for you to get there? Do they see you once a week? Do they see you once every two weeks, you know, those types of things really matter to busy families. So it might be that you are limited to, you know, who you can work with because of these logistical concerns. And it doesn't mean that that clinician is is a fail, if they say no, you know, we're going to honor confidentiality, and I will see you but I can't share with you what your child said or something that may not be ideal. If you're working on it. I will say that it doesn't mean it can't be helpful.

Yeah, and I'm so glad you brought up the practicality because that frustratingly in the mental health professions is so it's so prevalent, do they cover your insurance? And if your child is covered by Medicaid, do they accept Medicaid? Will they? Yeah, what's their waiting list? Right. All just a lot of very practical things that do. Yeah, good point. And so sometimes it goes back to you to perfection gets in the way of good. Yeah. Which is sad in both in frustrating, you know, one type of therapy that I have in the last two years, I've heard more and more about and that is goes by different names. But home based therapy, what are some of the advantages of this type of therapy for adoptive and foster families?

Yeah, home based therapy is actually been around for a long time. It's come

it's kind of having its moment now. Yeah, a lot of our you know, or brussel sprouts are now having their moment. Like, and I feel like home based therapy is kind of having its moment. It not not so much this year, exclusively. But in the last couple of years, maybe three or four years.

Where Yeah, yeah, I do wonder how COVID has affected that. But good point, yes, no. And I do get the fact that maybe it's, maybe it's coming back into popularity. And I think there is good value to the idea of having a helper come into your real life space, with things like the way that the space is set up, that may be causing some increase in escalation, or parents like in your real life space. However, I would add that there is also really good value to leaving your space and going or else, there's value in in the commute, there's a value in like that, that time that you spend in the car together, as you're going and coming home, there's value in having a dedicated space that's set up for relational work, that you know that when you enter that space, it's safe, and it's calm, and peaceful, and hopefully, all those things. And I and I think that families really appreciate, like having that dedicated attention where a child knows like this time is for me. And this time is for us. And sometimes with home based services. You don't get that if you're dealing with like phone calls and other children who may, you know, need attention and pets and all the things that can happen in your home.

Yeah, such a good point. Yeah, there is value to both. Yes. And and, and the same family could benefit from both. Let's be honest.

Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Now let's talk about something that again, is having a moment and probably directly as a result of although I think it was around before, but it's certainly around more now and that is telehealth are teletherapy. Yes, using any form of teleconferencing to perform to work with therapy with a family. How effective is that? First of all, how common is it? And second, how effective is it?

Well, how common is it? Gosh, you know, in 2020, it was 100% of the help, right? I mean, yeah, before COVID. Telehealth was something that a lot of Assam professionals really believed in, and some really didn't believe in and insurance companies didn't believe in you know, most insurance companies would not cover telehealth services prior to COVID COVID. Has has dramatically changed that, in that not only is there an acceptance of telehealth, but people have become much more comfortable in that space, much more comfortable with with the idea of zoom calls and engaging with people over the screen. Now, I will say, you know, up to what 90 93% of our communication is nonverbal. And, you know, our ability to pick up on all of those little idiosyncrasies of like a whole body of the way someone's foot is moving, or a glance or, you know, a stiffening of muscles. At least I do. Maybe there are people who are really good at that over zoom and other.

But yeah, no,

that is, it is really hard for me to pick up on that over zoom. So I feel a bit handicapped, doing zoom calls, but I recognize the fact that like, we're on a different cultural space. And now people not only are more comfortable with it, some people are realizing that it's a lot more convenient. Sure, including, including the clinicians themselves, there's a lot of clinicians who are like, Hey, I kind of like this, that I can like work at home and not have to do this long commute, and I can be in my space. And so it really has changed the dynamics, it has made support, I think, more generally accessible. And that is a good thing. So whether it's the same as in person, in my experience, I would much prefer to have people in my physical space, particularly children, I

was going to raise the issue of I do think there's a difference when you have children involved. Absolutely. age of the child would matter as well.

Yes, yes. Yes. I mean, I think generally, teenagers are way more comfortable with like online platforms. And so they may not feel the effect as much as children are grownups too. But if the clinicians are grownups, we're feeling the effects. So the team might be more comfortable, but I don't know if the helper would be entirely more comfortable. You know, using using telehealth, I think, if If a family is having to use telehealth or even if they choose to use telehealth, I think there are some ways to make it more effective with those. Some of them might be like having having everyone involved in the call in the same physical space, but having everyone on their own device. Now that sounds like it could be like disintegrating to relationship, but allows us to like see close up, instead of having this like television far across the room and like everyone in the family is sitting on a couch really far away, it would give us a little bit of a closer view of the people involved. So that's, that's one way that I would say is helpful. I mean, I personally have kind of made it my practice that I will do parent sessions, over zoom if we're doing a parent only meeting but I, as soon as we were able to open up to in person meetings again, during COVID. Children came into the physical space, I just did not feel comfortable doing child work over telehealth. But I know a lot of colleagues who feel differently. Mm

hm. And honestly, some somewhat age dependent on the child but also personality of the child.

Sure. And what they're struggling with. I mean, a lot of the kids were struggling with virtual school. Yeah. And then doing like a virtual supportive session for them. It just, you know, would not be effective in that case, if they're already struggling with doing everything else online. Adding insult to injury, shall we say? Yes, yes, absolutely. And that's certainly not what therapists should be ever. No, exactly. Yeah, totally. I want

to thank one of our longest serving partners, children's connection AIG, they have been cash they have been a partner for creating a family for a very long time. They're an adoption agency in Texas providing services for domestic infant adoption in embryo donation and adoption throughout the US. They also provide home study and post adoption support to families in Texas Children's connection, a shout out thank you so much for your long term support. Alright, so any last tips you can give us for how to choose a therapist to work with our family and our child on adoption related issues?

I mean, one thing that we haven't addressed and all of this and my guess is it's because you've addressed it in other podcast on that the idea of when when do you seek out a therapist and how do you know it's time to even start that process and perhaps that's a topic for a whole nother podcast one that you you, you may have done, but I mean, I I would say typically Parents that if you ever feel stuck, if you feel like you're not moving forward, if you're feeling the of your family relationships, if you're noticing that your child is being affected on a regular basis in a way that you feel like is not allowing them to be like the best version of themselves, then I'd say it's time to start exploring, and possibly exploring other avenues of help. That may not be psychotherapy, it could be asking, and if you're part of a faith community, reaching out to your church to find out if there is any support for families through your church or your other faith community, or I don't know a teacher, a school counselor, there are plenty of grownups who might be able to come alongside prior to entering a psychotherapy relationship with a professional. But don't wait. Don't wait, particularly right now. I feel like I keep seeing articles pop up on social media about the tremendous wait lists of mental health professionals, and how challenging it is for people who think that they're like, Okay, I need help. And then they're told it's going to be a super long wait. Yeah. And I'm particularly sensitive to that, because we're in the same position we waiting list, you know, I get it. But I'd say Don't, don't wait until you're desperate. You know, if you're feeling the tug, at you may need some extra support. It's okay, that is normal. That's good to do things in community and to, to seek out support, it does not mean that you're a bad parent, or that, you know, the situation is hopeless. It's a good thing, therapy, counseling, any sort of help for your family is really not something to be ashamed of at all.

Amen. I could not I'm giving you a standing ovation to the final. And that's great. The other part is, is yes, you're sadly it is true about the waiting list. And I would say one, this is not therapy. But do consider joining a support group as you're waiting, or if soon as your soon as well, actually, honestly, I think all families regardless adoptive or otherwise could use the support. But certainly I think adoptive and foster families should seek out therapy, not seek out I'm sorry, a support group is as soon as the child comes into their home, and then the and then you can also this is not the same as therapy. But it does provide support, and can help guide you towards therapy when you're ready for.

Yeah, Don, I think you're right. But also to keep in mind that if you cannot find a formal, structured support group in your area, that finding helpful relationships where you can be honest and vulnerable. And there is some reciprocity, you know, with peers, other adoptive parents, other foster parents, make your own group therapy, you don't need a professional to do that. Seek out those relationships and be willing to take the risk to say, this is what we're dealing with. What do you think? And like, Have you ever experienced this and be willing to, to like create that for yourself in lieu of a structured formal program?

Mm hmm. My children were younger, my running partners and fellow adoptive mom. And she and I jokingly said Arthur runs our weekly runs word therapy sessions, and they provided such support for yes, yeah,

just to be like, I think recognizing that there are a lot of things that can be therapeutic, that aren't therapy, friendship, because things out Yes, whatever that may be for you. And to, to not withdrawal. That the that what is therapeutic and what helps us the most our relationships with other people. So fight that urgency or that that nudge that tells you that you want to hide and you want to withdraw from people fight that and pursue people because that is where therapeutic work can happen.

On a perfect note for us to Thank you Kelly rondebosch, for being with us today to talk about adoption therapy and how to choose an adoption therapist. We so appreciate your wisdom. Do everyone else out there. Come back and join us next week.

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