Why do you need an adoption-competent therapist?
Peter, age 9, adopted at age 2, was suddenly failing in school. Tests showed he had some mild ADHD, but even after accommodations, he didn’t seem to care about his school work. His parents took him to a renowned child therapist who worked with him for over a year. The therapist said he seemed depressed with low self-esteem.
His suggestion? Peter’s parents should spend more time with him and work harder to praise him. This resulted in very little change.
Then a friend of Peter’s parents told them about C.A.S.E.
Deeply worried and full of self-blame, Peter’s parents contacted C.A.S.E. At the first session, Peter was asked about his adoption. Peter hung his head and said, “She (the birth mother) threw me away, like garbage.” Peter’s parents were stunned to learn how he felt. After several months of individual and family treatment with C.A.S.E., Peter’s grades picked up…and most importantly…his smile was back on his face…and his parents’ too!
It is not always obvious that a problem you may be experiencing yourself or with your child is related to adoption, and it may or not be.
C.A.S.E.’s highly trained therapists are first and foremost experienced in all facets of adult and child mental health – prepared to address any concerns including:
- School/learning/attention difficulties
- Job performance/career
- Emotional/behavioral/social challenges
- Attachment and relationship issues
- Trauma histories
Being adoption-competent means that C.A.S.E. therapists are unique in understanding how whatever challenge or difficulty you are experiencing may be connected to the adoption experience. In other words, we won’t “miss it” like Peter’s therapist did.
What does it mean to be adoption-competent?
C.A.S.E. therapists use a family-based, strengths-based, evidence-based, developmental and systemic approach when working with birth, foster, and adoptive families. We have knowledge, clinical skills and experience in treating individuals with a history of trauma including abuse and neglect. We understand the different types of adoption; the clinical issues that are associated with separation, loss and grief, and attachment; the common developmental challenges in the life-long experience of adoption; as well as the characteristics and skills that make adoptive families successful.
Our therapists are skilled in using a range of therapies and are culturally competent and sensitive to the racial, cultural, and gender identification issues that can impact children and their families. Our focus is on helping individuals heal, strengthening relationships, and providing the support, encouragement and life skills necessary to ensure each family’s longevity and well-being. And finally, we are skilled in advocating with other service systems on behalf of birth and adoptive families.
What adjunct services does C.A.S.E. provide with counseling?
Children and adolescents often benefit from a combination of therapy and effective medications to treat the difficulties they are experiencing including anxiety/depression, mood disorders, ADHD, etc. C.A.S.E. is pleased to partner with the Children’s National Health Center to provide medication evaluation and management. Learn more.