Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

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Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#1  Postby devogue » Apr 17, 2019 1:38 am

My daughter is 15.

She has been through a lot of things over the last seven years - emigration, starting new schools, her parents separating, and a type 1 diabetes diagnosis among them.

Upon her diagnosis at age 11 she was referred to a youth psychologist to go over her feelings. She saw this person for a year or so, and every time she came out she was in floods of tears and was morose for weeks. I began to doubt that these meetings were positive and the last straw for me was when she was asked if she would rather live full time with her mother or me. I stopped the sessions. Over the past three years she has had her ups and downs, but there have been a lot more ups.

She is my second girl to go through adolescence and I'm seeing all those classic behaviours - the joys of teenagers! However, her school counsellor, unknown to me, spoke to her and referred her to the family doctor who has now referred her to a youth mental health service.

I'm pretty unhappy about this - she hasn't had her first period yet and I've been told that her hormones are everywhere and that's normal. I now feel that she has been "othered", made to feel different - her biggest issue has been the diabetes, but any counsellor worth their salt would have realised it's because she feels different to her friends. I feel that further mental health treatment is unnecessary and will make her feel even more different.

I see her "treatment" so far as pseudoscientific - I get reports of "sadness", "irritabilty" etc but they're not objectively measurable and I'm suspicious. I feel that there's this overwhelming pressure to see mental health treatment as always a good thing but I feel that sometimes just accepting things and getting on with life can teach lessons, build mental strength and lead to happiness. At an extreme end, I also fear she might harm herself if I am wrong about this, but she may also if I am right.

Any thoughts on this would be gratefully received.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#2  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 17, 2019 1:48 am

Ooof! Difficult times!

Any thoughts on this would be gratefully received.


Nothing really except platitudes. Hang in there, and try to get her to talk to you whenever you can, listen to her concerns, and make sure she knows she's loved. I don't think you can do much more than that.

Does she actually want to attend the counseling?
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#3  Postby Macdoc » Apr 17, 2019 3:58 am

Have her get an appointment with a diabetes counsellor who specializes in teens.
The diabetes also plays havoc with moods and emotions.

Been there done that with my son who has been Type 1 since he was 9. He's now 25 but still having ups and downs in part due to his nature and in part due to the havoc blood sugars wreak.

Girls usually do better keeping blood sugars in control and that immensely helps her mood and confidence.

Counsellors not familiar with type one diabetics are very much not recommended. I also recommend dealing with her as a rational adult even if she tears up. A peer group of type one diabetics even on line is worth while for both her and you.

You need specialist help not know nothing off the shelf counselling.

She should be seeing an endocrinologist for her diabetes and they should be able to recommend someone. Family doctors are not savvy enough.

Is she on a pump ?? That really helps with sugar control. Will not hurt for you to get some counselling from a diabetes expert as well as it is hard especially with sleep.

I don't think you can do much more than that.


Yes he can as a partner with her. Living with a type one is fraught. Think about going to sleep and your kid can die - each day, every day. It's tough but can bond you. The parent really needs to be involved and engaged in sugar management ( and it's only diet to a point .,it's management of the insulin
Type Ones have a shorter life span so lavish whatever treats in the form of adventures etc you can as you don't know what the future holds and Type ones are "hidden disabled" as they look and generally act normal but are indeed disable.

There are resources out there

https://diatribe.org/diabetes-blogs-and-forums

No one knows what it's like except others with the same challenge and there are thousands .....use the resources.
This looks good
https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/catego ... abetes.19/

and another

http://www.d-mom.com

You need help with this - reaching out here is a good start but there are far more effective resources out there and choice of mental and medical support is vital for you both

Good luck.
Last edited by Macdoc on Apr 17, 2019 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#4  Postby Macdoc » Apr 17, 2019 3:58 am

grrrrr stupid software
Last edited by Macdoc on Apr 17, 2019 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#5  Postby Macdoc » Apr 17, 2019 3:58 am

duplicate
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#6  Postby Keep It Real » Apr 17, 2019 4:19 pm

Any conversation with anybody is potentially dangerous. Conversations with disinterested, certified councillors/psychologists are always, on balance, far more likely to result in net harm reduction rather than increase. My 2c.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#7  Postby Macdoc » Apr 17, 2019 4:26 pm

Please - anyone contributing to this thread that is not aware of the risks and dangers of Type One diabetes should simply keep their suggestions to themselves as generalizing is not applicable.
Warm general support is always appreciated by any parent facing this challenge.

Type one have both specific physical and mental issues related to their condition that thankfully are not in the general population of teenage challenges.
Swinging sugar levels plays havoc with blood chemistry both short term and long term.
They look normal ...they aren't normal. Normal doesn't apply unless they are super at keeping their A1C levels bang on.
With a pump and careful management they get to almost normal ...but the risks always remain.....that's why specialists are needed,
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#8  Postby felltoearth » Apr 17, 2019 4:53 pm

There are cranks in any field so I wouldn’t apply such a broad brush to counselling. As MacDoc suggests you need to find the right one to specialize in the set of problems you are having.
In my experience, the best counselors I have had were the ones that gave me the emotional tools to take control of my life after stabilizing all other factors. This may mean medication or CBT or a combination of both.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#9  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 17, 2019 4:55 pm

Macdoc wrote:Please - anyone contributing to this thread that is not aware of the risks and dangers of Type One diabetes should simply keep their suggestions to themselves as generalizing is not applicable.
Warm general support is always appreciated by any parent facing this challenge.

The situation sketched by the OP involves more than the diabetes. The OP is asking about the dangers of psychological counselling. As such advise, insights etcetera are perfectly valid, even if the person offering them has nothing to contribute about diabetes type one.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#10  Postby Macdoc » Apr 17, 2019 4:57 pm

no :nono:
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#11  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 18, 2019 1:21 am

Macdoc wrote:Please - anyone contributing to this thread that is not aware of the risks and dangers of Type One diabetes should simply keep their suggestions to themselves as generalizing is not applicable.


No disrespect to you, or to your experiences, or knowledge on that subject...

But this thread is not about type 1 diabetes.

It's about the efficacy of counseling and a parent's concern for the well-being of their kid.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#12  Postby Sendraks » Apr 18, 2019 9:30 am

I would second Mac's recommendation to see a therapist who specialises in teens and in diabetes.

Therapists are just people and with all the variability thereof. The relationship with the patient is a personal one and sometimes the participants just don't gel together well, leading to a dysfunctional relationship and therapy which achieves very little.

Finding the right therapist and the right course of treatment is important. Counselling is not exactly a rigorous psychological intervention compared to say, cognitive behavioral therapy. However, CBT isn't for everyone and I know a few people who really struggled with it.

Mental health problems are under-diagnosed and under-treated. Early intervention in life is ideal and it is a good thing that the school has identified that your daughter needs support. Your daughter is more likely to feel "different" by not having treatment for a mental health problem, as she won't understand why she feels "different." Treatment and education will help her understand that she's not actually "different" as 25% of the population has a similar experience. She's not "different" and not "wrong" for feeling the way she feels.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#13  Postby devogue » Apr 18, 2019 8:28 pm

Thank you all for your thoughts, but especially Macdoc and Sendraks.

I am going to contact her endocrinology team again and discuss this with them. Perhaps her first psychologist there was a bad egg. Having checked some of the resources linked to by Macdoc I found my way to a site that listed classic youth diabetes mental health flags and it was a revelation, startling in its accuracy.

So progress has been made and I feel a lot more sure about our next steps.

Thank you all once again for your advice - I think sometimes it's easy to forget how strong and positive an effect forums like this can have on real life situations.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#14  Postby Macdoc » Apr 18, 2019 8:33 pm

excellent ....my son had issues with his endo doc and was fine when he switched.
The forums where people actually are dealing with the condition are incredible. Certainly helped me with my lymphoma.

Don't forget your own mental health and support needs ....it's tough having a Type 1 kid and hard to know even now for me when my kid gets incommunicado how much he is "just being a butt" ..his words ...or how much his sugars.
:think:

Hell guiding a teen through adolescence is hard enough without an "invisible" disability.
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Re: Can psychological counselling be dangerous for teenagers?

#15  Postby Fallible » Apr 18, 2019 11:12 pm

Devogue, I'd do whatever your daughter feels comfortable with. If the counselling was having a negative effect, you were right to end it. Therapy is not the answer to everything all the time, however, finding the right person is crucial. Just like you won't get along with everyone you meet on the street, there's no saying that an individual will just hit it off with a therapist. Yep, there are certainly cranks. If you decide to get her more therapy at some point, make sure they are a member of one of the governing bodies, if this is something you haven't done before. The BACP is a major one. Sadly even if a counsellor is registered and has all the correct qualifications, you can still get a bad apple, as you can with anyone in any profession. I guess it's also worth mentioning that some issues can take longer to sort out than others, and someone can feel worse before they better, because in counselling they are specifically spending time thinking and talking about the upsetting stuff.
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