Article Share. I found this through the Liana Lowenstein newsletter. I really loved the tips for therapists. (The tips would actually work for almost anyone.)
I often read “advice” on this topic and cringe. My own experiences have been that many therapists really don’t get what living with a parent’s mental illness means. As an adult who had a mother with a severe mental illness, I still don’t feel like many people can really understand. I can think of only a handful of people I’ve come across who seem to get what my journey as a child was like. Sometimes I will connect with an adult with a similar experience and it is amazing. Often the other person will say “I’ve never met anyone else who had a similar experience.”
You can’t fix what is going on in the child’s life but you absolutely acknowledge their situation is difficult. I know as a child, people rarely even acted as if they were aware of my mother’s bizarre behavior. When I worked in child welfare, I often believed the only real thing I could do is tell kids it wasn’t their fault, it can get better and their life isn’t hopeless. I am also all for trying to find a safe adult for the child to speak to. It can be a therapist, friend’s parent, teacher or other family member. It can be you.