Last week, I received an email from Bob’s teacher, filling me in on his first week back at school following winter break. It was about what I expected–he’s been pretty hateful and nasty to his peers, unwilling to follow directions, and sneaking around in order to get his way without getting in trouble. In short, not much different than how he’s been acting at home for the past couple of weeks. Once again, I ask myself the question–is it time for talk therapy?
Talk Therapy Wasn’t Very Effective For My Bipolar Child
Let me begin by saying this–I am not a huge fan of talk therapy*. I tend to think of it much the way I think of hypnosis–effective (and very much so) for some people; completely useless for others. For me, personally, talk therapy was effective only to a very small degree. I became well-versed in my condition and could tell you exactly why I did things I did and felt the way I felt–but I could no more control it than before I set foot in my first therapist’s office.
For Bob, it seems to have been about the same. Only three when he started seeing his first therapist, the sessions seemed more for the parents than for the child. Which made sense–it was more important for us to learn how to deal with Bob than to try to get him to open up about his thoughts and feelings when he was barely out of diapers. As he got older, his high intellect thwarted most talk therapy efforts–he became highly skilled at figuring out the “right” answers to his therapists’ questions, and therefore seemed to be progressing; yet his behavior at school and home were unchanged.
Older Now, Will Talk Therapy Help My Child Better Understand Bipolar Disorder?
Eventually, I concluded talk therapy for Bob was futile (and a waste of money) if his bipolar disorder wasn’t stabilized. A manic child has no use for therapy because, in his view, there’s nothing wrong with him. I told his therapist we were going to put therapy on hold until Bob had medical stability and a maturity level where it might be of some actual benefit. His therapist agreed.
Given the events of the past couple of months, the fact Bob seems to be more comprehending of his condition and his treatment, and the fact it’s the time of year when mania starts to creep in again, I’ve scheduled an appointment for Bob to see his therapist later this week. I don’t know if it will do much good, if any. I hope it will at least help Bob understand things a little better and get some answers he may be looking for.
* Talk therapy – non-drug treatment such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, social rhythm therapy, etc.