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.)

http://www.lianalowenstein.com/articlesProfessionalmentalIllness.pdf

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.  

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