It is Okay

It was brought to my attention that another blogger used my family and a specific post as an example of what not to do. I am not providing a URL or name because neither matter. I have never been someone who monitors how other people are viewing my life. At 55 years old, I have no interest in starting now. The author just released a revised edition of her book and her whole post, including the part about me, was a sales pitch.

That is all the energy I am going to spend on that person. I promise a real post tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “It is Okay

  1. I hope you know that I admire you a great deal, and I have tons of respect for the difficult parenting work that you’ve done for decades. You’re not a newbie who has just had her first placement in the past few years and is all sunshine and light about the next, best miracle treatment for kids from the hard places. But I think maybe it’s worth considering what the psychologist said in her blog post about attachment therapy in general, without taking it as a personal attack, though she does use your blog as an example. She’s been working in the field of child development for many decades, and I believe that she’s sincere, wise, and concerned about the rights and needs of children in general and specifically foster/adopted children who may be vulnerable to abuse by attachment therapies, which are not well studied even if they do have lots of adherents.

    Some of what she said in her blog is hard, really hard, to read for me as your virtual friend. So, I can only imagine how much harder it is for you to read it. But, I don’t think she’s wrong about the emotional/psychological dangers of using physical holds and restraints on children, nor do I think she’s wrong about how too many foster/adopted children are diagnosed with RAD by practitioners who don’t thoroughly understand how to do psychiatric assessments, but instead have a particular brand of therapy (i.e., “Attachment Therapy”) to sell. I imagine that even while you were writing this particular blog post and labeling her a “troll” that you also were thinking about what she had to say, because I think that’s who you are: that you are curious and intelligent, and consider ideas from many sources, in order to help your children with their many challenges. I’d ask you to re-read some of this psychologist’s comments again, and re-consider the more intrusive parts of the attachment therapy that you’ve been doing with Hope. Sometimes, it’s necessary to trust the healing powers of love, safety, time, respect, and care—and step away from the therapeutic treatments that are overwhelming to the children in our families.

    You know from my FB posts that I make my share of whopping mistakes as a parent of children from the hard places and that I’ve put my faith in professionals who came well recommended but who didn’t work out all that well in the end for us. I’m always stumbling around trying to determine if we have correct assessments, diagnoses, and treatment (as well as safety) plans in place—or whether we need to explore something different. And I am often exhausted and feeling isolated from my general peers and friends, whose children don’t have the kinds of histories or issues that mine do. So, I’m not speaking here from some “holier than thou” place. I just think that this psychologist has something important to offer with respect to the effect of therapeutic intrusiveness on a child’s sense of safety and integrity. Please reconsider these parts of her blog post:

    “Adoptive Mother has also sought an attachment therapist who will do an intensive treatment, many hours a day, with a method that … appears to involve coercive restraint and other holding therapy techniques. … One of the reasons Adoptive Mother and others seek out attachment therapists is that such practitioners encourage the view that only people with similar experiences can get it, and that conventional therapists are critical and rejecting of parents and simply make the children worse. These parents may also welcome a belief system that stresses escalation of intrusive parental control–whether they welcome it or not, they buy into it when they choose a method that emphasizes coercion. … How do I know that the treatment Adoptive Mother has sought is a coercive one? Not having been in the treatment room, of course, I don’t. Adoptive Mother mentioned wanting to find an AT (attachment therapist) trained by Daniel Hughes, and Hughes, in spite of his earlier admiration of holding therapy, has stated that he does not use coercion. However, Adoptive Mother does refer to children who have died in the course of holding, and states that she and her husband are present in the treatment room and would not permit anything abusive to happen, so it appears that she recognizes at least some element of coercion. In addition, the treatment she describes involves insistence on eye contact, and how this would be achieved without some degree of coercion or intimidation is not clear to me. … In addition to her choice of therapists, Adoptive Mother comments frequently on the use of physical force in dealing with the child. This ranges from the strong sitting demands advised by Nancy Thomas to a physical takedown and pindown to the use of a papoose board, a padded wooden restraint board used in painful or frightening medical and dental procedures, the use of which by professionals should receive documentation. (She notes 30 minutes of restraint of the child on the papoose board at one point.)”

      • There are many good researchers in all medical/scientific fields who do not choose to practice as clinicians. Research is time-consuming and has its own daily demands. This approach to creating new knowledge is a kind of checks and balances, and in general, it works quite well. Clinicians every day use the “gold standard” of practice guidelines as understood and published by their professional societies, and at the same time, researchers are testing those “gold standards” through experimental trials and studies to see if, in fact, they provide good, lasting outcomes. It’s a messy process, despite my easy description. And there are often many practices, used for decades by clinicians, that later turn out to be discredited by researchers. Usually, there is no malfeasance: the clinicians believe in what they’re doing because they believe their eyes, but that kind of “evidence” can be very misleading. And that’s why scientific researchers do not rely on personal experience, accumulated anecdotes (no matter from how many different sources), or theories to do their work. Scientists who survey the field of knowledge, review it, and then present it in a readable format for the layperson also provide an important service to the development of knowledge and good practice—*and* help parents and consumers cut through the competing claims of many different kinds of clinical practice and their abundant testimonials. Again, I’m sorry that you felt personally attacked. I would’ve felt so too, in your shoes, but being a researcher and writer in a scientific/medical field gives you just as much validity to chime in on a treatment practice as a clinician.

      • Yeah, I agree w/ Marianne Milton below. Choosing to pursue a career in research is not the same as “failing to obtain a clinical license” — it’s just a different focus, Remember, the clinicians put into practice what the research demonstrates.

      • S – a troll is someone who lambastes another person’s blog without ever getting to know that person or their life outside of the few snippets they share on the internet. It can also be defined as someone who steals parts of a person’s blog/life without ever talking to them or getting their permission to use it. I’d say this other blogger (though I have no idea who it is) fits this definition perfectly and has acted VERY unprofessionally.

  2. Vertical Mom,
    “steals parts of a person’s blog/life without ever talking to them or getting their permission to use it”
    Not only it’s unprofessional, but it’s also illegal (at least in France).

    It’s against the legal rules of intellectual property.

    Aside from being rude and unprofessional, it’s illegal.

    GB’s Mom, you may ask some advice to a lawyer whether you could sue her. Because stealing parts of a blog without asking permission and without even quoting is illegal, whatever in a book, Internet, newspapers….
    I don’t know the rules in your state (the French legal system is quite different), so asking to a lawyer cannot harm.
    Ask to a legal aid bureau if you cannot pay a lawyer.
    But you cannot accept to be treated like that.
    Yes, you made mistakes thinking you would do well. So what ? Everyone makes mistakes, and it does not allow a psychologist to copy your blog without quoting you (let alone asking permission).
    A psychologist is not above the law, writing books or not.
    Don’t let yourself being treated like that only because “she is a psychologist”. Psychologist or not, what she did is illegal.
    She abuses of her position, and moreover it’s illegal.
    Your not being a psychologist, a MD, a social worker, whatever you want, does not make the psychologist’s action less illegal.
    She copied parts of your blog without quoting you and without even asking you, it’s illegal. Period.

    • It would be hard to make the case for plagiarism since she linked back to this blog and quoted the text she copied (which seems to be only a handful of two-word phrases and one full sentence).

  3. At the most basic level of blogging what this woman did was rude. She called out another blogger in a negative way. Not only did she discuss Laurie and her family, she linked back to her. She isn’t any different than any other blogger that creates mean spirited controversy to gain attention. The fact that she is an academic, a “doctor,” or an “expert witness” means little to me in how she handled this.

    I question her motivation when she could have written that post without ever identifying Laurie or her blog. Of course that would not have created the same amount of blog traffic or potential chatter. Only someone completely naive to blogging (she is not) would expect that the person she discussed and linked to, would not find out.

    So what was her motivation? In this case you can speculate that she did it, at least in part, to promote her new book via potential increased blog traffic and “chatter.”

    Or was it to make herself feel superior by demeaning someone who is struggling and not parenting the way she, the “expert,” would parent. Did she count on Laurie responding? On linking back to her post? On Laurie’s readers defending her?

    Or perhaps, it is simply her love of controversy, which a simple Google search shows she is no stranger to.

    There is no indication in her CV that she has ever actually practiced as a therapist. She can “talk the talk,” but I don’t see anywhere that she has “walked the walk.” Is she the old saying: “those that can do, those that can’t teach?”

    It is the “expert” that sees the answer as only black or white that frightens me. When you are unable to accept that the answer to most questions involving raising children is within the spectrum of grey, how are you truly helping the cause?

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