Family Therapy As A Child With Mother

Question: “When I was really young, about seven or eight, my mother opted to take us to therapy. She had been in and out of the hospital due to bi-polar disorder and there was a lot going on at home otherwise. As a single mother, I think her main concern was for my health. But when we got to the counselor, he told us to try this activity where my mom had to physically pull me off of a chair. What reason do you suppose he had to suggest this kind of therapy? What does it suggest about what he might have seen in our relationship? I’ve always been confused by this memory and I wonder to this day if there was something being suggested about my relationship with my mother that I was too young to understand at the time.”

Answer: I have so few details I am unable to ascertain what could of been the intention of the therapist. If I were clairvoyant I’d give you the answer but at this point with the details you provided all I can do is speculate, so I’ll do some speculation. Likely the therapist was trying to have your mother model something or engage in a manner in session as part of a greater discussion that you nor I have details on. Therapists would clearly not advocate or facilitate corporal punishment in the session. The nature of the relationship between you and your mother clearly cannot be flushed out by the scenario alone. My counseling to you would be to contact your mother and have her request copies of the clinical notes from the session, which she can do if the therapist is still living. I’d suggest you then attempt to piece together what the session was about and then glean some meaning. Lastly, I would not get too hung up on that incident as it may have little to do with you or your relationship with your mother at all, possibly. Also, are you confident that the therapist told your mother to pull you off the chair? Did she do it as a mother, not as a directive and you potentially ascribed it to the therapist’s counsel? With your mother’s bi-polar diagnosis you mentioned she could of intentionally on her own volition pulled you off in hast, upset, or irritation during session. Lots of questions, too few details. Best of luck on this one, sounds like you are thinking and wondering, that is good … but again, remember that too much analysis leads to ‘paralysis’.