Approaching therapy

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Little Pip is now 9 - anything involving threat or fear so 'please finish your sentence so you can go out to play on time' makes her panic tremble and cry.

She does have dyslexia but is otherwise fairly robust in character. She's doing a bit of emotional literacy and mindfulness club on Friday lunchtimes in school

I'm looking at maybe getting pip a short therapy intervention as I suspect her emotional response is linked to her early terror around living with her adopted siblings specifically blossom.

Having a strong attachment and generally good life means she's in a different category of need to what we tried to get with the older two. Camhs say she doesn't meet criteria and are pretty hopeless.

Options are: 1) seeing an art therapist who was hopeless with blossom (she wouldn't cooperate) but might be fine with pip, ex camhs, very experienced. Will go for digging up emotions behind the behaviours (2) newly qualified therapist who knows pip as a tiny one from playgroup connections. More talking based with strategies won't be digging around & local (3) gestalt Childrens psychotherapist- 40 mins drive away. Experienced. Thinks ultimately all adopters prefer their Bc (grrr but that's my issue, not pips and for her benefit I'd zip it!)

Or none of the above and instead we just buy her some singing & guitar lessons and join her into drama group and hope these things bring out the best in her and give a boost to her resilience?

Would like to know what your thoughts are? Partridge and blossom aren't home. we do see partridge from time to time.

The long term effects of living with the older 2 is something mr pt and I have had extensive therapy for

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Nothing is more therapeutic and healing than music! I pressume you saw the video before I was thrown off the other forum? Good quality lessons and than playing together with other children, it really is very helpfull.

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I think I'd be tempted to go along the music route first. Her natural resilience and the improved home situation since P and B left may mean that something as 'normal' as music lessons/drama club may be sufficient.

Obviously you have the best idea of how traumatised she is and how resilient she actually is, so maybe the therapy-route would make sense sooner rather than later. But if her responses are not getting any worse then maybe give the music a try first?

Good luck


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It seems a shame you have to choose between them! (drama, music and therapy I mean) I would go for art therapy as I think the earlier the better really if needed (especially as you have both needed it) then do music and drama - or some music lessons - maybe fewer than you would otherwise and let her join a cheaper drama group - along with the therapy - then see how it goes? A case of have your cake and eat it!

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Hi Pear tree,

Coming to this slightly late, but just a thought could her problems also be down to her dyslexia? - your example seems to point at this. My ad has dyslexia and when she was in mainstream it had a big impact on her self confidence and self esteem. Since we have moved her to a specialist dyslexic school she is so much happier.xx

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Updating you

Pup is doing much better at school and her teacher is lovely, warm, kind and encouraging. We've spent time sharing things with school and chatting through some strategies.

she's going to have music lessons starting next week. I'm hoping that will give her the release she needs. her big brother partridge came over for Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day. She was anxious and jumpy but we spent time preparing her, eg.if partridge was playing with her he shouldn't fling her around as she's too big now and he doesn't know his own strength or really get boundaries of when to stop. So we got some strategies planned in before he arrived that seemed to help. We've had a good Christmas Smile

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Glad you've had a good Christmas Pear Tree.

In the aftermath of our daughters departure from our lives I have to say music is playing a big part in my healing as an adult. Although it may sound callous the fact that our daughter is gone for good means she can't be adding to the trauma we've all experienced due to her presence in our lives, so it really is about repairing the damage if and when we can and moving into a life that is much much safer. For those who don't know our situation, I have to add that despite it all I love her still.

In the last few days our adult birth son who has been most traumatised by daughter, made a one line comment that made me feel finally he is showing a healthy vulnerability to his trauma. I think we might get to the stage where we, at least him, his dad and I can express the hurt, anger, confusion, betrayal that we each feel in relation to adopted daughter and each other. The elephant in the room might go for good then, there are certainly times the elephant goes away for a while.

I managed a few days back to tell hubby that at times when daughter had gone back into care and the two years after I had felt terrified . As an adult I'd never verbalised that despite the feeling being so strong and prevalent. I can only imagine how difficult it is or a nine year old to make sense of it all.

I suppose if I were in your situation Pear Tree I would very closely monitor all interactions between pip and your other two. I'd even now go so far as to stop any contact if that was causing too much trauma for pip. I think in our case there was probably a lot going on between our adopted child and our birth children that we will never fully know. The dynamics of birth children wanting to protect their adoptive parents. The understandable resentment birth children can feel when the whole of parents energy is focussed on trying to play catchup to meet the needs of a damaged child.The strong negative emotion because a stranger has entered the family and changed everything and parents have actually chosen this as a way of life. It can feel like a bottomless pit of issues to resolve.I think ours may have also put up with a lot from daughter but never reported it to us in order not to worry us further.

I wish you all the best and pip too as you find a way through this. Well done on all you have survived.


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Only just spotted this. Little Chick (10) has been seeing a play therapist at school. She usually does very short interventions but has been seeing him first weekly and now fortnightly for the last couple of years. He has a similar panic/trauma reaction to Pip - interesting.

We got lucky as the play therapist has a connection with school. Initially school funded it but we have continued to fund it as it seems to help in building his resilience and gives him a safe place to talk about the crazy stuff that happens at home.

Whilst the big boys needed a therapist who really 'gets' their issues, little chick really just needed someone who could give him some one to one time and really hear him. She does also do some work with the Social Care team so has a reasonable understanding of our situation and is happy for me to phone her and fill her in on what's been going on too.

We may take it down to monthly, as he is coping much better, but he really likes seeing her and it feels helpful.

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