AIBU to be pissed off that my dd has to suffer emotionally after her friend committed suicide cos I can't afford private therapy?

(140 Posts)
borninastorm Sat 20-Apr-13 23:45:43

Last year my dd's friend took her own life. My dd was just 13 at the time and her friend 14.

Because they weren't at the same school dd's school didn't offer a counselling response. They did provide her with a counsellor but unfortunately this woman isn't trained in dealing with bereavement by suicide which I have since learned is a very specific type of counselling and it's even more specialised when it's for a teenager.

So, since then I've tried Winstons Wish - they only provide help for children directly related to the person who has died; Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide who don't provide counselling help and Cruse who have nothing and nobody in our area that could fulfil my poor dd's very specific therapy needs. ANd there's a waiting time of 6 months+ for counselling via our GP and no guarantee that she'll get the specialist help she needs.

I've looked into private therapy but it's too expensive for me right now. So the only thing I've been able to provide my dd with is some highly recommended books and a listening ear, but she needs so much more than that.

AIBU to be pissed that my teenager has to emotionally suffer because I can't afford to pay for private therapy for her?

And does anybody have any advice on how best to help her and/or get her the help she needs?

Alonglongway Sat 20-Apr-13 23:49:26

Have you tried phoning CAMHS directly to see if they have any ideas?

Casmama Sat 20-Apr-13 23:49:36

She is emotionally suffering because her friend killed herself, therapy may help but it won't erase this from her history. Have you/ has she tried phoning Cruse?

megsmouse Sat 20-Apr-13 23:53:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cestlavielife Sat 20-Apr-13 23:55:34

There is long wait lists but CAMHS should help. If her emotional stress is v severe then keep,pushing with gp as urgent case..eg if she can't go to school because she is so anxious and distressed etc.

How is her suffering manifesting. What impact ? How severe ? This might impact on the wait list... Take up the school consellor tho . If she can talk to someone it will help. Unless she is displaying extreme anxiety in which case take her back to gp and keep asking for urgent referral. To CAMHS.

cestlavielife Sat 20-Apr-13 23:56:58

Try also young minds.

www.youngminds.org.uk/

Look, counselling is not magic. It's massively hit-and-miss even if you sell your left foot to pay for it; an expensive counsellor can be clueless or a condescending dickhead or just plain unnecessary.
Your DD doesn't necessarily need it. What has happened is a horrible, distressing thing, but (unless she has some MH issues already) you can give her all she needs to recover: love, support, kindness, reassurance and patience. You're her mum. Encourage her to talk to you but don't push her; be patient with her if she's tearful, distracted or wants to have the same conversation over and over again, give her time to get over it.

Maryz Sun 21-Apr-13 00:01:29

This happened to my ds. His best friend killed himself, but because ds had left the school he missed out on all the help given to his friend's classmates.

But, you know, in the end I'm not sure it made much difference. Few teenagers are prepared to accept counselling. Your dd is suffering not from lack of counselling but from the fact that her friend killed herself sad.

I realise you are angry - I was very angry for a long time. Angry with ds's friend, with the school, with anyone I could be angry with. Because I wanted someone to blame for ds's unhappiness. And I sort of felt subconsciously I think that if I could find someone/something to blame I could "fix" him.

All you can do is support your dd, give her time to come to terms with this, to get used to it all. If you are worried about her take her to your gp, or ask her school to refer her to CAHMS. And you probably need to get some help for you so that you can help her - again your gp may be able to direct you.

There may be a local charity who help out friends and family of people who have committed suicide, and ime they are the best people to help because they have first-hand knowledge, not just book learning. But remember, there is no guarantee that private therapy will help - believe me, I paid for ds to see a counsellor who made things significantly worse.

Fudgemallowdelight Sun 21-Apr-13 00:01:44

Have you seen the GP? I went to the GP in February about my 8 year old dd's phobia and was offered an appt with CAMHs at the end of March. They might refer you there or elsewhere or offer some sort of advice.

Maryz Sun 21-Apr-13 00:03:16

Or what SGB said, much more succinctly and better.

Your dd will come through this, really she will. But give her time.

Elderflowergranita Sun 21-Apr-13 00:04:05

Excellent advice from SGB. I'd echo all she says. Counselling isn't the magic bullet, and you can do a lot to help her yourself.

I'm not implying that you haven't been helping her, just wanted to say that you shouldn't underestimate the power of a supportive mum.

larks35 Sun 21-Apr-13 00:05:57

"So the only thing I've been able to provide my dd with is some highly recommended books and a listening ear". That will do a lot, especially coming from someone close. I would recommend reading the books yourself to be able to empathise better with your DD.

Also, go back to GP and push for a quicker referral. It always pays to hassle. You could also do this in conjuction with the school nurse. Most secondary schools have a school nurse for one day a week and they usually have a drop-in session where you don't need referrals. The school nurse will often be better at assessing needs and referring to CAMHS than GPs.

larks35 Sun 21-Apr-13 00:08:34

Actually yes SGB has given the best advice.

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 00:23:52

It might be that your dd would be helped by therapy, it might be that she would not.

What would not happen, even with the best therapy in the world, would be that the hurt would be taken away from her and she would not have to suffer emotionally from her friend's death. That is something therapy simply cannot do.

What it can do- when it works- is to give you the tools to handle a difficult and stressful situation. Not for it not to hurt, but to enable you to get on with daily life despite the hurt.

At the same time, therapy is hard work at the best of times and can be emotionally draining. Whether it is the right thing for your dd or not probably depends partly on how well she is handling the situation now. Is she unable to get on with her daily life? Is she unable to eat or sleep normally? Is she self-harming, or has she lost all interest in hobbies or her social life? Is she school refusing? Has she become very aggressive or withdrawn?

If any of the above apply, then her school may be well able to put pressure on CAHMS to push her up the waiting list.

sunlightonthegrass Sun 21-Apr-13 00:47:48

I completely agree with SGB - good post smile

StabbingWestward Sun 21-Apr-13 00:56:20

My friend killed herself when I was 14. Different schools, so no help offered. Honestly, my mum got me through. I was sad, then angry, then suicidal myself. Nothing but my mum being there for me got me through. Just be ready for everything she can throw at you for a few months until she comes to terms with it.

WMittens Sun 21-Apr-13 07:47:25

I fervently hope SGB isn't right

CaffeDoppio Sun 21-Apr-13 07:51:10

Why on earth would you hope SGB isn't right? Of course she's right. No question about it.

hwjm1945 Sun 21-Apr-13 07:51:18

So sorry to hear so many examples of young people in such distress that they kill themselves,really shocking....and saddening

BlackAffronted Sun 21-Apr-13 07:55:02

My DH lost his best friend at a similar age (15) also through suicide. No counselling offered back then, he has come through it fine. Supportive parents can get you through it. Sounds like you are doing the best for her already smile

MinnieBar Sun 21-Apr-13 07:58:09

I'm a counsellor - one who specialises in seeing young people. (Who are perhaps more ambivalent than adults about coming, but we've still got a waiting list.)

I can't really suggest any avenues other than the ones you've already tried/others have suggested, but I would say that if/when you get a referral that a counsellor who is experienced with young people is more important than one who is specifically a grief counsellor.

What your DD needs is a non-judgemental listening ear, space and time. Yes, there might be some stuff she doesn't want to say to you (or even to her friends) and that's where an outsider can really help, but it's not mandatory. You sound like a brilliant mum smile

Skellig Sun 21-Apr-13 09:22:51

Child Bereavement UK is an excellent charity which offers support to both adults who have lost a child and children who have suffered a bereavement. They have a helpline and email service which either you or your dd can call. They may well be able to offer some more specialised help. Their website is www.childbereavement.org.uk.

Really sorry you're having to go through this. sad

WMittens Sun 21-Apr-13 09:36:26

CafeDoppio

"Why on earth would you hope SGB isn't right?"

"...counselling is ... massively hit-and-miss even if you sell your left foot to pay for it;"

Why do you think I hope she's wrong?

Branleuse Sun 21-Apr-13 09:49:44

im sorry for your friends loss.

I think too many people think counselling is a magic cure and if someone gets counselling theyll be sorted.

Ive had counselling 3 times and its been really useful and ive benefitted, but by no stretch of the imagination has it cured me or even close.

AlanMoore Sun 21-Apr-13 09:50:44

Don't forget Samaritans - they will listen to her but not tell her what to do and she might like the anonymity. Visit their web page for local number or she can email jo@samaritans.org

Maybe have a chat with GP too, or school nurse?

lljkk Sun 21-Apr-13 09:51:55

I was listening to a radio programme the other day about normal grief, how it is overwhelming & how bad our modern societies are at allowing it to follow its natural course. Not saying OP's DD doesn't need support, but it was important to recognise that there was no easy way thru grief.

springyhappychick Sun 21-Apr-13 11:48:27

You could contact the therapists you have researched and ask if they offer concessions. The answer is yes or no, they won't be offended to be asked.

I agree that a counsellor who is trained in working with young people is the most important criteria.

I had an extremely bad experience with CAMHS - and I'm not the only one by far, apparently - and would not recommend you involve them when your child is so vulnerable. (I wouldn't recommend you involve them at all but I'm sure some people have had positive experiences...)

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 21-Apr-13 12:17:03

What SGB said - and Maryz too. I don't think counselling is necessary in every life event and I think that you're providing excellent care for your daughter in helping her to come to terms with this, OP.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 21-Apr-13 12:44:16

its a very hard thing to go through but she has to go through it and with your support allowing her to grieve she will get through it. I did a Cahms training course last week and was interested in their view that we try to protect our children too much these days, that good mental health is enhanced by allowing them to experience stuff whilst being there for them rather than trying to protect them from the pains of everyday life experience. Having said that this experience is extreme for her so seek help from the experts on how to support her through it. Cahms did say they will take phone calls and offer advice so maybe worth a try in your area. they will also know of where support may be found locally too.

TheRealFellatio Sun 21-Apr-13 12:58:33

I am sorry about what your DD has gone through but I think you are BU. You say she has a 'very specific' therapeutic need - well doesn't everybody? Money is thin on the ground right now and we cannot shell out for every niche requirement under the sun. There is no real evidence that your daughter would even necessarily benefit from it that much, and if her MH became severely affected (for any reason at all) then her GP would refer her to CAMHS.

I know it's hard to believe sometimes in this mollycoddled, touchy-feely nation of ours, but kids can be pretty resilient and pragmatic, and capable of getting through things with the help of their supportive families, friends and mentors alone. Counselling is not always the answer everything. But since it became fashionable to wheel out the school 'grief counsellor' every time something traumatic happens we have conditioned ourselves to think that our kids are so emotionally delicate that they could not possibly cope without it.

MinnieBar Sun 21-Apr-13 13:13:03

'It's become fashionable to wheel out the school grief counsellor'

I don't know what part of the country you live in, but the school I'm in we see less than 10% of the pupils - if we're running at full capacity. My colleague works in a different school where it's 5% - hardly blanket coverage.

Plus no one is ever forced to see a counsellor - therapy simply won't work if the client doesn't want to come.

Finally, I'd say the suicide of a friend could potentially be very traumatic. I also see adult clients and you'd be surprised at the stuff from years and years ago that comes up.

squeakytoy Sun 21-Apr-13 13:16:27

counselling is not a "cure all" that will magically make grief go away.. time is the only thing that really works..

I doubt there is anything a counsellor can do that a loving mum and family cant.

scottishmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 13:35:38

I'm not sure private,pricy "therapy" is necessarily solution.you can support
Sorry your dd is suffering,go see gp ask what support can She access
Talking,listening,normalizing daily activities will be huge support and you can do that

UrbaneLandlord Sun 21-Apr-13 14:06:20

Sad as this story is, I'm bound to ask "What did we do before Counselling", and in much harsher times?

How did survivors of the Holocaust get by?

How did the survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia get by?

I'm sure we can all think of many more tragic mass events throughout history, the survivors of which somehow managed to get on with their lives afterwards without counselling, despite having witnessed far worse atrocities than the suicide of a close friend (as bad as that is).

I'm sure that there are a few cases where counselling is effective and I'm glad that we live in a civilised society where that can be provided.

However, I'd suggest that counselling is rarely effective at diminishing grief in most cases. I'd suggest it might even extend & worsen grief by establishing as a bigger issue in the mind of the griever.

I'd go further and say that, in many cases, the recipients of counselling are just attention seekers who are projecting pre-existing anxiety onto the particular event in question.

Speaking personally, I was recently involved in a near-fatal traffic incident (in Kenya) when somebody stepped out in front of the car I was driving and I hit them, causing them severe injuries. It wasn't my fault, but I still felt terrible about (and still do). I dealt with this by mentioning it to a few friends & colleagues and saying how awful I felt about it. Some were dismissive, some sympathetic, some made some very flippant jokes (like I was at some racist sporting event(!)). I still feel bad about it but I no longer have intrusive or overwhelming thoughts.

AnyoneforTurps Sun 21-Apr-13 14:17:23

Also, go back to GP and push for a quicker referral. It always pays to hassle.

Oh yes, perfect answer - hassle for a faster referral hmm. CAMHS services are enormously over-subscribed. Urgent referrals have to be reserved for genuinely urgent cases which includes children with schizophrenia, other psychoses and suicidal depression. Do you really want one of those kids to be bumped down the priority list for a child who is suffering a natural grief reaction? How would you feel if one of those children seriously harmed him/herself?

CloudsAndTrees Sun 21-Apr-13 14:23:24

YABU. We are lucky that we have access to free counselling at all in this country, the fact that you have to wait for it doesn't change that.

Plenty of people have survived worse without counselling, I was the sane age as your dd when my dad died and I was offered fuck all. Same goes for a friend who lost one of her parents to suicide.

scottishmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 14:55:48

Turps,no your completely wrong.urgent referral won't be overlooked as you describe
Referrals are discussed in team,the presentation,urgency and impact
No referral with high need will be given less priority if op is pushing for help

Trazzletoes Sun 21-Apr-13 15:01:53

UrbaneLandlord I'm very pleased for you that you have such a "strong" mind that you can cope by yourself with whatever life throws at you.

For a lot of that, it's not always so easy. But still it's nice to know we are just attention-seeking. Thanks. Really. Thanks so bloody much for that.

I'm currently considering counselling to help me deal with the fact that my DS is terminally ill. It's taken a lot for me to get over my assumption that people will think I am weak for doing so.

But you've actually just confirmed that for me. Thanks.

I guess I should just toddle off and pull myself together, eh?

Trazzletoes Sun 21-Apr-13 15:02:22

For a lot of us

Trazzletoes Sun 21-Apr-13 15:07:14

And while I'm at it: just because counselling hasn't been around forever doesn't actually make it a bad thing.

Or should we all stop using flushing toilets, despite proven health benefits, simply because we haven't always used them?

And just because survivors of the Holocaust managed ok - not counting the ones who did actually kill themselves afterwards or have to deal with significant mental health problems, eh?

AnyoneforTurps Sun 21-Apr-13 15:11:42

scottishmummy

I know that that is how the system works in theory. But, as a GP, I also know that the information in a GP referral to CAMHS is usually only as good as the information the parent has given the GP (unless the child's mental illness is so severe that it is manifest in the GP consultation). If the OP exaggerates her DD's symptoms to "push for a quicker referral", priorities may be distorted.

And I'm unclear why the OP's DD actually needs counselling. The OP seems to have become fixated on it but doesn't say anything about her DD's symptoms. As others have said, counselling will not magically erase emotional suffering and there is limited evidence that it makes any difference to outcomes after trauma (except where there is an associated mental illness).

scottishmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 15:17:00

Of course the referral is based on information of presentation,that's a given
a grief reaction isnt a psychosis or sh.so the receiving team will respond based on info
I font think private,costly therapy is necessarily answer,a grief reaction can be managed by family

DoctorAnge Sun 21-Apr-13 15:29:13

Counselling can be helpful but honestly is not a cure. Sometimes it may be ineffectual and can even make things worse for a time. It usually works when in conjunction with medication and Other kinds of support.
Be prepared for this.
SGB gave a fantastic post.

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 15:42:47

I'm a counsellor involved with a bereavement charity, trained in grief and loss and also experienced with young people. I think some of the responses have been pretty harsh. If your daughter wants to access counselling I hope you find something suitable.

And Trazzletoes you have a pm.

insancerre Sun 21-Apr-13 15:46:56

I'd go further and say that, in many cases, the recipients of counselling are just attention seekers who are projecting pre-existing anxiety onto the particular event in question.

wow, just wow

JustinBsMum Sun 21-Apr-13 15:51:23

Coming from a family where nothing was ever talked about, including when there was a family suicide, I feel that having the opportunity to honestly discuss your feelings would be a great help in dealing with the turmoil of emotions, though, obviously, I am surmising this because that is definitely not what happened when I was young but feel convinced it would have helped us to move on, instead it taught us to bottle things up.
But I don't know if the talking has to be with a counsellor.
Talking to you OP could be enough.
Are there books she can read with advice, or messageboards? Though it might be an idea to check these out yourself first OP.
Also writing everything down, a diary or similar, helps to get things off your mind. Perhaps DD could do this.

UrbaneLandlord Sun 21-Apr-13 16:07:16

In response to ilovesooty: I am sure that the distress of your clients is real and that your work is well-intentioned. However, I would also suggest that work is mostly ineffective and counter-productive. Please could you cite some objective evidence about the efficacy of counselling?

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 16:12:54

I have already posted to say it is not a given thing that the OPs dd either needs or would benefit from counselling.

Now I will put the other side.

Ime there are situations where a counsellor can definitely offer something that a loving family can't.

A kind and loving child who feels herself loved may well be reluctant to reveal the dark thoughts she is having to somebody who cares more about her than about anything and who could be very upset. There is also the consideration that once you have said something to somebody you are going to have to live with, they may remember it for ever afterwards and interpret everything you say and do in that light. If the depth of your unhappiness makes them feel inadequate they may resent it.

A counsellor is someone who will listen but cannot be hurt.

When my friend had terminal cancer she arranged for her children to have counselling at school, because she understood that it would be extremely difficult for them to talk either to her or to their grieving father about how badly they were suffering.

When dd had attempted suicide she felt so guilty about it that it was hard for her to talk to me or her dad about it.

How do you talk to the person who loves you most about the fact that you wanted to die? How do you talk to your mother who is dying about the fact that you feel her illness is ruining your life and that you are angry with her because she is not going to be there for you?

For those wondering what people did in the past, there is plenty of evidence that societies have always had somebody whose job it was to deal with grief or stress that was beyond what the individual family could cope with. That is what your father confessor did in Medieval times (if you trusted him): you told him things in the deepest confidence that were too difficult or too hurtful to tell your parents or husband. Later on, the vicar and the vicar's wife often filled a similar function. I imagine in primitive societies that the local schaman might have filled a similar function.

There is also plenty of historical evidence of people being so traumatised by horrible events that they took a long time and lots of support to get functioning again. In the Middle Ages, this kind of treatment was often supplied partly by confession, but partly by pilgrimages- if your friend had died horribly you could make a pilgrimage for his soul and get support from the appropriate saint (and presumably from his priests).

Some Holocaust survivors had counselling. And not all of them were able to get on with their lives: some suffered trauma and flashbacks for the rest of their lives.

Not saying that the OPs dd is necessarily in a place where any of this is necessary. Just that some people are. And that people do not really change much from time to time.

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 16:14:07

Please could you cite some objective evidence about the efficacy of counselling?

The evaluation forms from clients are considered sufficient evidence of effective practice for the local PCT to continue to fund the charity. Local GPs consider us sufficiently effective to refer to us in large numbers. In private practice I have had enquiries from people who've had me recommended by other people.

I'm sure you wouldn't expect me to cite individual caes - it would be unethical.

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 16:15:16

Great post, cory

MinnieBar Sun 21-Apr-13 16:29:25

CORE questionnaires are used regularly to measure outcomes. And the BACP regularly publishes research results. Finally, NICE guidelines recommend counselling for a lot of situations over medication.

I'd suggest you walk a mile in some of my clients' shoes before you suggest they're largely 'attention seekers' again. hmm

GetWhatYouNeed Sun 21-Apr-13 16:29:46

My husband killed himself 18 years ago, and I think one of the things that makes grief related to suicide different is the guilt that if you had known that the person was going to kill themselves you could have done something to stop it. I know many of my husband's friends felt that way. Your daughter may be feeling that she could have stopped her friend, but I think you need to explain to her that if someone wants to kill themselves there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it.

Obviously I do not know whether your DD has experienced bereavement before, but you should reassure her that it is a frightening and overwhelming experience and the strong feelings can come and go and last much longer than you may expect.

Also I think it's very important to explain to her that suicide is not the answer to a problem, however dreadful life seems it is never so bad that things can't can't be sorted out. I think your daughter probably needs time and your love and support, rather than counselling, and it sounds that's just what you're giving her. It must be hard for you seeing her go through this when it feels that it is something a young person shouldn't have to deal with, but you are doing the right thing by simply being loving and supportive.

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 16:33:17

I'd go further and say that, in many cases, the recipients of counselling are just attention seekers who are projecting pre-existing anxiety onto the particular event in question.

Anxiety can be a mental illness. You are ignorant as fuck.

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:29

The truth is that you cannot know from the size of an event how any one individual will be affected- you have to be there and see how they are actually doing.

Somebody I knew was tipped into 3 years of depression, self-harming and suicidal behaviour when one of her housemates committed suicide. Somebody else in that situation might have just grieved normally and got over it. The fact remains that she didn't.

It's like someone can fall off a roof and be uninjured and somebody else might land badly and break their neck. It doesn't mean that the person who was uninjured needs to wear their neck in a brace. But it doesn't mean the person who broke their neck was an attention seeker either.

Of course, their health before the incident might be a pointer: if my friend with ostheoporosis and I fell down the same stairs, chances are that she would break more than I would. If somebody with a tendency to depression has to deal with a horrible event, it is quite likely that they will suffer worse than somebody without this predisposition. But it is not a given. Sometimes people with MH issues cope surprisingly well. And sometimes those with no previous issues just land badly.

UrbaneLandlord Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:52

ilovesooty: That's a bit like citing the testimony of church-goers as objective evidence for the existence of God.

Trazzletoes Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:58

I wish UrbaneLandlord would walk a mile or 2 in my shoes and have to make the decisions I am facing. God knows I could do with a break from it all.

And yes, I am delighted that my 3 year old son is going to die because it means that I get to be the centre of attention!

Seriously. Could you honestly believe that?

And, with the greatest respect, you hit someone with your car - something that some people may need counselling for but by no means everybody. Just because you can deal with that doesn't mean that anyone who has the courage to stand up and admit that they are struggling and could use someone to talk to is just doing it for the drama.

MrsMacFarlane Sun 21-Apr-13 16:46:07

I'm so sorry for your daughter, her late friend and everyone touched by this horrible event. I think you may be expecting too much from counselling though and are probably doing a very good job yourself, supporting and listening to her. People seem to think counselling is a cure all panacea that replaces time and hard work coming to terms with a tragedy.

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 16:47:15

UrbaneLandlord Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:52
"ilovesooty: That's a bit like citing the testimony of church-goers as objective evidence for the existence of God."

If you live with somebody with anxiety issues you get the opportunity to test the efficacy of their treatment by more objective criteria: the number of cuts on their arms, how often they vomit up their meals, the frequency of their suicide attempts, whether they sleep at night, whether they get out of bed in the morning, whether they are losing weight.

I don't wish that on you or anybody else, but I'd call these fairly measurable criteria. I have learned a lot about them in the last 8 or 9 years. sad

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 16:47:19

ilovesooty: That's a bit like citing the testimony of church-goers as objective evidence for the existence of God

No it isn't. look at MinnieBar's response too.

MrsMacFarlane Sun 21-Apr-13 16:47:34

Me again. I'd like to add that there are some VERY good counsellors out there, who do a fantastic job.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 21-Apr-13 16:47:48

I am training in bereavement counselling at the moment and our service deals with all areas of bereavement

I too agree that seeing a counsellor that works with young people would be better as bereavement counselling tends to be quite directive

And counselling provides something that a loving family and wonderful friends can't and that is being congruent, non judgemental, allowing the person to say what they want with out making a judgement but it is not for everyone

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 16:49:14

People seem to think counselling is a cure all panacea that replaces time and hard work coming to terms with a tragedy

I don't think anyone on here has suggested that.

yaimee Sun 21-Apr-13 16:50:03

I had a close friend who took his own life when I was 13. It was an awful time but I got through it with the love, help, support and guidence of my family and friends.
I don't think that a professional could have provided this kind of help for me and i certainly don't think it would have worked as well.
It's up to you to decode the best way to support your daughter and if you think that she would benefit from counselling, then contact as many of the agencies suggested above as you can in order to get it for her but please remember that you have the tools to help her heal too!

TeWiSavesTheDay Sun 21-Apr-13 16:52:31

I would hang on the waiting list for a counsellor - someone impartial can be really important, and just do what you can in the meantime. I waited 6mths for my NHS therapy and it was worth every minute. It was good to know it was coming and I sort of cemented the things I wanted to talk about while I waited.

It would be really great if some posters could remember that the OP is going through a difficult time and doesn't need her thread to turn into a row. Start a new thread and take it over there.

MrsMacFarlane Sun 21-Apr-13 16:53:56

I don't think anyone on here has suggested that.

Hi, that came out wrong. I wasn't suggesting people on this thread thought that, I'm talking about some people I've met in every day life who don't work hard to solve their own mental health issues but think that a counsellor will somehow solve it all for them. I have two acquaintances who really do this.

I mean no disrespect to grief counsellors, some do a terrific job.

Theas18 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:01:42

Agree counselling IS hit and miss and grief hurts, and does so for a long time.

" pushing for faster CAMHs won't Work locally, if the need is counselling you get a letter listing the voluntary agencies that can help and that's it (who knew, for example that relate will work with kids? I didnt) ?

These people are good for some kids
http://www.opendooronline.org/

Trazzletoes Sun 21-Apr-13 17:01:48

Apologies OP. I very much hope your DD gets the help she is looking for.

It must be an incredibly difficult time for her.

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 17:02:06

MrsMacFarlane I thought that when I saw your subsequent post. smile

FreudiansSlipper - most of our counsellors are person centred trained and don't tend to be directive.

I hope the OP gets a suitable outcome on this. If she would like to PM me her whereabouts I'd be happy to explore any low/no cost counselling in her area through my networks.

expatinscotland Sun 21-Apr-13 17:02:22

My children went through an ed psych and referred to CAMHS for bereavement counselling. We are still waiting. Their sister died almost 10 months ago sad.

It's underfunded.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 21-Apr-13 17:07:58

Really sooty

I am integrative trained, I find it a little too directive and have found other bereavement training courses to be too, though others on my course do not think so. though it has a very good reputation and is an area I want experience in

scottishmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 17:09:01

Sorry about your lassie,that's really so sad.10 months is nothing I Expect it's still raw
No significant advice other than day by day,minute by minute
Pain never goes,just a bit like a volume control sometime max,other times dull humm

sunlightonthegrass Sun 21-Apr-13 17:09:20

I do think some people see counselling as a cure-all panacea, as someone has already said. It can be hugely effective but other times it isn't effective at all or can even be harmful. It didn't harm me, but nor did it change anything.

What really IS wrong is that sometimes people are told that in some way it is their fault - that "you have to engage" or some similar stupid statement when sometimes, counselling just isn't the right thing for that person or for that problem.

expatinscotland Sun 21-Apr-13 17:09:41

What ignorant posts on here!

'People seem to think counselling is a cure all panacea that replaces time and hard work coming to terms with a tragedy.'

We will never 'come to terms' with the tragedy of our child's death after terrible suffering. Counselling is about helping her siblings express how they feel without worrying about upsetting us, developing strategies about how to live on with no guilt on their part, not about thinking there is an way to ever come to terms with their sister's death, which is and always will be shit.

scottishmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 17:11:27

I agreeing significant trauma,grief, people don't come to terms,they accommodate

sunlightonthegrass Sun 21-Apr-13 17:17:15

expat, just to reiterate, I do think counselling can be helpful, and I also am so sorry for your loss.

What I don't like is the insistence that counselling always works, is always helpful and, well, if it doesn't - it's YOUR fault.

I just think sometimes it is either unnecessary or unhelpful. Obviously, your case is not one of these smile

MrsDeVere Sun 21-Apr-13 17:22:16

It has taken me over two years to get therapy for my son.
He really does have very specific needs.

He has ASD, LDs and is adopted. I didn't get the place I wanted but I finally offered local therapy so I took it.

It isn't magic and if he didn't have such deep seated bereavement issues I would NOT put him through it.

Believe me, if I could get him through this with a listening ear and some books and cuddles I WOULD.

It is a commitment and it is hard work for him and for us. Every single week for a year. The backlash and the support, having to miss school, us having to discuss things we really don't want to..its bloody exhausting.

But he needs help dealing with the loss of his sister so we are going for it. I just hope it helps.

Put your DD on CAMHs wating list. In the meantime do all the things I am sure you are doing. Listen, talk, explain, give her things to read.
IF she is still not coping by the time she gets an appointment she is very probably in need of that extra help.

I hope she won't be and most children will have found a way of coping by that point.

buildingmycorestrength Sun 21-Apr-13 17:23:37

I wonder if it would help the OP to spell out some behaviours that are signs that the child is not grieving 'normally' and needs additional support. I know I would find that a useful way to approach the issue.

I am not a professional but I know that traumatic events can interact with existing mental health issues to create problems that really do require more than a sympathetic ear (which need, by the way, may well fully met by OP or may not, we have no idea).

For instance, I imagine that changes in appetite are normal at first but if they don't go back to normal after a couple of months you want to get it checked out and have more specialist psychological treatment. Just an example, maybe this is wrong.

Or maybe if the child is still waking with nightmares after four months that is a sign of needing professional support, or maybe that is still within normal range.

When should she go back to the GP?

FreudiansSlipper Sun 21-Apr-13 17:25:22

I am not sure anyone does think that way and if a client did then it should be explored with their therapist, some clients will go through a phase of thinking their therapist can fix them it's quite common

I think counselling should be there for everyone sadly it is not it is costly but the nhs are starting to move away from just providing cbt

expat I hope you too have the support there if you want it. Bacp website has low cost counselling services

Glimmerberry Sun 21-Apr-13 18:03:24

Terrible things happen in life sometimes but counselling isn't an automatic response. In fact, there's good evidence that getting through these events with your own resources (yourself, your "community") is healthier, and to your longterm good. Automatically deciding counselling is necessary for every terrible event can do more harm than good, interupting the way that we naturally respond and develop acceptance.

Why not support your daughter, let her talk about it, and see how things go. If she does develop problems then GP, and on to CAMHS is the way to go.

dayshiftdoris Sun 21-Apr-13 18:15:28

This kind of happened with my son 3 years ago... there was a serious accident in our close friend circle but he went to a different school to the people it affected directly. There were a number of children who barely knew the family who received counselling support whilst my son and another child close to the family received no support.

It was 2 years before he spoke her name again and recently he wouldnt have pictures of the family in his memory book. His behaviour at the time was hideous and he clung to me to the point that he was refusing to go to school because it meant leaving me.

By the time he saw someone (the same person who had gone to the other school) she felt the moment to do it had gone though she gave some excellent advice. My son was much younger (5/6) and he has ASD so very tricky to engage, especially after the fact.

I got him through it but I was grieving too and it made that much harder... the whole situation was so very very wrong - I was made to feel shit for asking yet it was offered automatically for some children in the other school who had only met them once.

OP I dont think you are being unreasonable and I hope you find some support for you daughter. You could find out who offered the original support at the school and try them - it worked for us.

Some posts seem to be saying that people want counselling as an alternative to the hard work of recovering. Surely counselling IS hard work!? You have to be actively engaged in the process if itmismgoing to do any good.

Trazzletoes - to you, I would just say that it takes immense strength and courage to admit you need help, it is not a sign of weakness at all. You are doing the best thing for yourself and by extension, for your son and for the rest of your family. You are in my heart and my thoughts. Xx

Borninastorm - my heart goes out to your dd. Suicide is a shocking and painful experience for those left behind - but you are doing a lot to support her yourself, and that will help her a lot, I am sure. I think there is some good advice on here, about groups/organisations you can contact for more help, and I hope your dd will feel better soon.

TiredFeet Sun 21-Apr-13 18:56:26

mrs devere speaks a lot of sense I think.
Also it is a bit upsetting to see the thread de-railed. I agree counselling is not always necessary but there must be other things the op can do to help her daughter. borninastorm you sound lovely and caring and I am sure that will be more help to your daughter than anything else right now, but that's not to say you are wrong for wanting any additional support that might help.

trazzle don't let this thread make you feel bad for seeking out counselling.

borninastorm Sun 21-Apr-13 19:07:54

Oh my goodness, thank you all so much for your replies. I wrote this post late last night and went to bed, feeling better that I'd got it off my chest.
I'd no idea I would come back today to so many replies! It's made we tear up.
I am taking my time to read through all your replies and amazing advice then l'll come back with proper replies.

JaceyBee Sun 21-Apr-13 19:15:33

I'm a counsellor too and I don't think your dd would have to see someone specifically trained in bereavement by suicide. As long as the counsellor is sufficiently trained they will be able to work with whatever comes into the room, believe me we hear all sorts and are more than capable of working with any client. It's likely that any extra training will only be a one day CPD course anyway. Use the school counsellor for free. Or depending where you are in the UK, there might be a free youth counselling service, there is where I live anyway.

borninastorm Sun 21-Apr-13 19:32:55

I am totally overwhelmed, thank you all so much.

Here is some more information re my dd's situation:

Her friend took her own life in October 2012. My dd coped very well at the start. We talked as much as she wanted to. And she actively used her art and her writing as an outlet for her grief.

It is now 6 months later and it is dd who wants some sort of therapy because she feels she doesn't have the tools to help herself recover from her friend's suicide.

She is angry, very angry at everything and it is often irrational anger (she knows it's not right) eg she gets v angry when people at school glibly use the term "I'm going to kill myself" because they failed a test.

She feels incredible guilt because if she'd got her friend's message that night instead of the next morning she might have been able to stop her.

She's not sleeping well at all. She often struggles to find the normal happiness she used to feel before October. She cries much easier than she ever has done before.

And her art and her writing isn't helping her to feel better anymore.

Basically she wants to the tools to make her feel like herself again, the tools to help life the dark cloud that has descended upon her mind and her emotions.

buildingmycorestrength Sun 21-Apr-13 19:39:06

Oh, my goodness, it sounds like she is struggling.

Does the GP know about the sleep and anger problems?

Do you have a free youth service in a nearby town? Maybe Google 'free youth counselling <name of your town> and see what comes up?

fortyplus Sun 21-Apr-13 19:40:23

A good friend's son went through this. He and his classmates wanted to do something for thenselves to mark what had happened, so they all went to the bluebell woods and had their own little 'ceremony' to commemmorate his life. They all just took turns to say something about the boy who had dies and how they felt about it. Away from any adults so I don't know exactly what happened but apparently it helped them deal with it.

buildingmycorestrength Sun 21-Apr-13 19:42:15

Also, it is worth bearing in mine the Improved Access to Psychological Therapies initiative, which means that patients should be seen for assessment by a psychologist. Stay on the GP waiting list at the very least, please! And look up the way IAPT is being implemented in your area as that may give you a lead.

buildingmycorestrength Sun 21-Apr-13 19:43:27

I don't mean to sound at all alarmist, BTW, I just know you are wanting to get her some help as soon as you can, that's all. smile.

TiredFeet Sun 21-Apr-13 19:52:21

Oh bless her, I had to cope with the tragic deaths of a couple of good friends when I was in my late teens (rta and a subsequent suicide) I remember the awful guilt and pain and the difficulty of contemporaries who just had no idea what I was going through. May sound silly but one thing that helped me a little was exercise and getting out in the countryside/fresh air. Something about nature that is so soothing. Hopefully you will find some of the links on here will help you find her, and maybe you too, some proffessional support /advice . It will be a very long process sadly, there is no quick solution. More than ten years on I am only just beginning to feel in any way at peace about things and the pain will always be there. (But then I didn't have counselling and often think it might have helped, I have never really talked things through)

MrsDeVere Sun 21-Apr-13 19:56:50

I think that bereavement counselling is often offered far to early.
I used to work for a very good bereavement service and we would not take referrals until at least 6 mths after the loss.
This would often upset refers but grief is a normal process and it is only when things become 'abnormal' that lengthy counselling is necessary.

As someone who has been bereaved I have noticed a rush to silence those who have suffered a loss. If you cry, do things that are deemed odd or break down, everyone seems to think you need to see your GP or a counsellor!

There have even been moves to medicalise grief and make it a mental illness ffs.

OP your dd sounds like she is in a normal albeit distressing stage of grief. Her angry reaction is totally understandable. I am not saying she doesn't need counselling but it may be that she could do with a chat with someone who can reassure her that all her feelings are utterly ok and not mad.

www.childbereavement.org.uk/Support/Youngpeople

these people may be able to help

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 20:06:47

I agree with MrsDeVere. As a society, we seem so uncomfortable with grief and are quick to medicate or suggest counselling. It isn't unhealthy to grieve, nor to seek help if it was a particularly traumatic bereavement. I've heard of a lot of people being described as depressed when they are 'just' grieving for their loved one. We all cope differently. I lost my dear best friend to suicide 5 years ago and every now and then, something reminds me of her and it feels like the world has stopped and I feel a physical pain. There's nothing wrong with me because of it. I just miss her.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 21-Apr-13 20:09:27

Hi op,

I hope you find this in the mire that your thread has become.

It sounds to me like you are doing a great job of supporting you dd through this and I just wanted to

A) reassure you that if needs be you can support her through this with or without a counsellor

B) reiterate the advice to read the books you got for her

C) let you know that I think your right to be concerned that her mental well being is closely monitored right now, friends of a suicide victim often blame themselves for not being supportive enough and no one should have to bear that weight.

D) reassure you that she can and will come out the other side of this, stronger, deeper and equipped to help others better in the future.

We all must suffer some to have depth to our souls. She can and will move on with her life, when she's ready. Your doing the right things already but there is no magic wand.

Fwiw, when I was 14 my first ever girlfriend took her own life after tracking down her absent mother then being rejected.
My life has moved on over a decade since then and I function just like everyone else, but if I dwell on it for any length of time I still fucking hate her mother.

Time and love are the scabs over our wounds but underneath lies the scars our strength is made of.

I don't think that counselling is bad or that people who want it are weak or inferior or anything. I just wanted to reassure the OP that it may not be necessary for her DD.

Maryz Sun 21-Apr-13 20:14:38

It does sound as though she has dealt with it pretty well so far, but is now struggling. I think that is quite common with grief - we all "allow" ourselves to grieve immediately after the events, but then we sort of expect ourselves to, not exactly get over it, but sort of get used to it all and be able to revert to a "normal" life.

And by saying that I'm certainly not minimising anyone's grief - I think we all have too high an expectation of ourselves and how we feel we should deal with things.

I think Mrsdevere is right that counselling is often much more useful some time after when the raw grief is replaced in some ways by a more more difficult to deal with sense of the permanence of everything.

For ds, we are now four years on, and this week was his friend's anniversary. It has been a very hard week for him, as it brings it all back. And I empathise with the "fault" bit - in ds's case he was meant to go and stay with the friend that weekend, but didn't go because he was grounded. He still feels he could have and should have stopped him.

Go back to your gp, and to the school. Ensure that everyone knows this is a long-term problem, that she is looking for long term help not a quick fix. And do have a look around for charities who support the families and friends of people who die by suicide.

For example these people may be able to give you some advice.

Maryz Sun 21-Apr-13 20:15:39

And as for UrbaneLandlord hmm

Do fuck off, there's a dear.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 21-Apr-13 20:16:27

Yy to Maryz! All of it.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 21-Apr-13 20:22:37

Oh and can you tell your dd from me, that if she was desperate enough to do it she could not of stopped her. She might have stopped her that night but the poor girl would have still been trapped in the pit of despair. She would have done it next time.

Whatever she was escaping from she's now free,

UrbaneLandlord Sun 21-Apr-13 20:35:11

ilovesooty said: The evaluation forms from clients are considered sufficient evidence of effective practice...

That's not objective evidence! You could certainly use such a process to justify homeopathy and achieve similar results. And the advocates of the nonsense of homeopathy are just as shrill in its defence.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 21-Apr-13 20:47:24

Urban we get the message that you think counselling is not necessary

The NHS thinks differently, so do other medical establishments after a lot of research into this area. It is not for everyone, not everyone has a therapist that they work well with, some rush into counselling looking to be saved, some it does not help and others find it much harder work than they expected and many find it very helpful some life changing

This is not the right thread to start your crusade against counselling start another thread but at least have some good research to back your argument up with

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 20:49:28

It's laughable to compare psychological therapies to homeopathy.

scottishmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 21:01:29

In England,there Is iapt regions gp referral age16 is access to psychological therapies
In Scotland there's initiative to support mental health,but no iapt
Do go back to gp and ask about any youth support , ask if school has pastoral support staff

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 21:09:30

This is not the right thread to start your crusade against counselling

Exactly. Start a new thread if you want to argue and stop being disrespectful to the OP.

sweetestcup Sun 21-Apr-13 21:26:14

Im a Nurse Therapist working in an NHS psychotherapy clinic (adults) and I get infuriated when I see attitudes displayed ignorantly here about the purpose and success of counseling. A lot depends on the type of therapy as different therapies will suit different people and in our therapy the most important thing is the relationship built up between therapist and client. No not everyone will benefit and yes it can be really difficult for people but generally we provide a non judgmental safe environment for people to talk about their thoughts and feelings - we dont tell people what to do or give advice. Its not about "coming to terms" with tragedies either but hopefully helping people learn to live with what has happened to them - which is slightly different.

MrsDeVere Sun 21-Apr-13 21:29:14

Urban please do tell me how to deal with what happened to my family if 'counselling' is rubbish.

YOU tell me what to do.

And as for that old fucking chestnut (excuse me OP) about 'what did we do before all this counselling'

People suffered. A great deal. They continue to suffer. People died broken hearted. People took their own live and those of others. Children grew up with parents who were unable to show their love, who were emotionally frozen.

Are you really suggested that survivors of the Holocaust were all tickity boo and the ones that lost their families in the Blitz laughed it off and had a cup of tea?

Bollocks. I took a call from a woman who was beside herself with grief. She had lost her little brother. She spoke as if it were a recent loss. On further questioning a bomb had dropped on this little lad in the 40s.

There was no counselling after the war for little girls who had lain next to their dead brothers. So she kept it all in and it tainted every part of her life for 50 years. All this modern new fangled self obsession finally gave her permission to ask for help.

Yeah so I am attention seeking for going to regular therapy. You betcha. I am saying LOOK AT ME MY DAUGHTER FUCKING DIED!

If thats ok with you.

expatinscotland Sun 21-Apr-13 21:40:14

BRAVO, MrsDeVere! My son started to display behaviours that were related to the loss he suffered and continues to do so. He was too young, only 3, when his sister died to even be able to understand the permanence of death. So as he grows, he will grieve her loss in new ways.

My daughter, who is 7, bottles things up because she doesn't want to upset Mummy and Daddy as they are so sad her sister died. She has irrational fear of illness and doctors and hospitals - that she told the ed psych and not us because again, she didn't want to burden us - as her little mind equates these things with death.

I have nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks about what happened to my child. My mate who lost her son similarly dreams every night that she is running through mist, looking for her son, and then realises, again, that he is dead. She has tried to take her life.

I had a great uncle who was shell-shocked for the rest of his life after WWII. His life was cut short by the alcohol he downed in huge quantities as his sleep was permanently plagued with horrible nightmares of the things he saw.

borninastorm Sun 21-Apr-13 21:44:21

I am going to check out all the links you've posted here.

And tomorrow after school I'm going to share with dd all your stories that you've shared with me of hope and positivity after tragedy. And let her know that how she's feeling right now is a normal reaction to a fucked up situation (to quote a movie!).

Then we'll decide together what path we'll follow and how we'll get onto that path.

Thank you all again for your support, great advice and kind words.

And for those who weren't quite so supportive - DD wants therapy to provide her with the tools to handle her grief and guilt. And I just want to do my best to help her grow up to be as emotionally healthy an adult as possible who understands her emotions and how to address them, not an adult who was permanently emotionally scarred by the suicide of a friend.

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 21:45:17

Urbane I had the great privilege of volunteering with several Holocaust survivors. There is support available now but many of them have suffered intolerably and it has affected their children and their children's children. How vile that you are using both this thread and examples such as the Holocaust to push your agenda.

Sorry, OP not fair to derail your thread but I couldn't let this go unchallenged.

Trazzletoes Sun 21-Apr-13 21:49:57

born you sound like a wonderful mother who is trying to help her child deal with stuff that adults very much struggle with, let alone teenagers. Your DD is very lucky to have such an understanding and supportive parent.

MrsD and expat massive hugs.

IntheFrame Sun 21-Apr-13 21:50:45

expatinscotland

That is a really moving post.

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 22:34:28

Borninastorm, I think it really does sound as if your dd is struggling and could do with some extra help. Could you get the school to get onto CAHMS for you? If it is affecting her sleep and could therefore affect her chances of doing well at school, that is kind of their area and an extra prod from them might just make a difference.

Also, as the mother of a child who has made two suicide attempts, I would like to say the same to your dd as an earlier poster: if her friend was going to do it, then there is nothing in the world she could have done to have stopped her.

I was terribly, terribly upset when I found my dd (who thankfully did not die). I was angry. Angry with her and angry with life that had thrown this at me. But I knew it was not my fault: I could not watch her 24/7 and I will not be doing that.

I do hope all goes well for your dd who sounds a lovely caring person.

borninastorm Sun 21-Apr-13 23:09:06

cory, mrsd and expat I can't begin to imagine what you have all gone and are going through.

You sound like incredibly strong, wonderful mothers and I really appreciate your words of wisdom and your posts really resonated with me.

borninastorm Sun 21-Apr-13 23:15:41

cory how do you manage to not constantly worry that your dd will try again?

Im sorry if thats a question too far or if it upsets you, I ask because I worry that my dd might just get too sad and be unable to cope. If she wakes up really late at the weekend, sometimes I have a little sudden fear y'know the kind that grabs at your heart and takes your breath away for just a second that perhaps she's done something and that's why she's not here having breakfast with me.

And then my rational brain kicks in and I remember that she's not sleeping well and she's exhausted and that's why she's still asleep.

But I can't stop that second of sheer terror.

cory Sun 21-Apr-13 23:30:17

No that's fine, you can ask.

The answer, I suppose, is that I manage to shut the worrying away for most of the time but not always. When I'm at work I am usually ok, but if I have to ring home in the afternoon and she doesn't answer straightaway because she is in the bathroom or asleep, then I do have that horrible cold moment when I wonder if the phone is ringing in an empty house...

The reason I go on like this- giving her freedom and not watching her obsessively- is twofold. The first is that I recognise that her suicide attempts have both been sudden impulses rather than a plan carefully carried out. It doesn't mean she is safe, it is still bloody dangerous behaviour, but it does make the odds slightly better on a day to day basis.

The second reason is that I recognise that CAHMS are right and that this is her only chance of staying safe longterm. If we cannot manage to make her feel that she is responsible for her own safety then she will never be safe. She is 16, in a few years' time we will have to let her go. Besides even now, we cannot watch her 24/7: we have to sleep, answer the phone, go to the loo, keep dental appointments. She has to be the one doing her own watching, taking responsibility for her own moods, recognising the warning signs and acting on them.

It is hard, particularly because I know it is laying a heavy burden on her little brother who would be the most likely person to come in and find her (he already has once sad), but then it is in his interests too that she should be helped to manage her problems; we have to take that risk.

childline - can do longer term work with children as well if needed. phone or msn type service

Mrsdavidcaruso Mon 22-Apr-13 07:18:08

I would agree with that in times gone by people had counselling from different sources and sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't.

When my baby died I was offered counselling but HATED the woman I found her patronising, didn't like the way she called me by my first name without asking permission and certainly didn't like the fact that she kept calling my husband my 'partner' ( I have a thing about that)

But I am lucky I have a strong faith in God and used him as my counsellor. Standing in Church and yelling at God and calling him a complete and utter bastard for taking my baby from me was for me the best therapy I could have ( I knew he wouldn't take it personally) And talking to my lovely Vicar who completely understood why I did so helped me come to terms with my loss.

So I as very lucky to have that to fall back on, BUT I do understand that people nowadays look to man to help and comfort and would back the OP all the way to get the help and support for her DD she knows she needs.

Maybe I was unlucky with my counsellor I don't know. But for me I know I wouldn't have got through my grief without my faith.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Mon 22-Apr-13 08:04:44

Mrsdavidcaruso flowers I am so sorry for your loss.

I saw a counsellor when I was a student for some traumatic events and my counsellor was horrid. Truly horrid.
She would calmly eat her lunch while I was pouring my heart out. Grim.

But I do know there are some marvellous counsellors out there who have assisted friends of mine over the years... I guess it's the luck of the draw.

eminemmerdale Mon 22-Apr-13 08:11:11

Just to mention Cruse again. They are wonderful. My sister has just trained as a cruse counsellor specialising in children, so there are people out there. I'm so sorry.

lotsofdogshere Mon 22-Apr-13 08:25:20

agree with the many positive posts about helping young people cope with the suicide of close friends. OP you are doing all the right stuff, and you are the best person to judge whether your daughter could benefit from therapeutic intervention given her anger/sleep issues. My daughter's then boyfriend lost his older brother, then his best friend, then his younger brother's best friend to suicide over a 4 year period. This sounds as though the children were surrounded by instability, and that is so far from the truth. It was a dreadful time, fast forward 12 years, those young people are in their late 20's now and what an emotionally intelligent group they are. It must be tough for your daughter to be in a different school group than the one her friend was in, as I know our young people gave each other so much support and were able to develop a language for talking about their feelings. I agree, the GP and a CAHMS referral sounds the way to go. I hope your daughter can talk to her GP about this, maybe with your support. Is there a bereavement centre near your home? They offer professional counsellors, free of charge, but no doubt will have a waiting list. I wonder whether it's worth you phoning your local NSPCC - it's just possible they may have a drama/art therapist available, or be able to recommend one at another charity. All best with this OP it is so scary isn't it.

ithaka Mon 22-Apr-13 08:29:40

Counselling is a broad term covering many different approaches and grief and our responses are so personal. So what is right for one person will be wrong for another. I do not believe counselling is always the best (or only) approach and in some cases it can makes things worse.

In may case, when my son died, I resented the 'you should go to counselling' approach. As far as I was concerned, my behaviour was completely within he range of normal for a bereaved mother, but some people don't like to have to face overwhelming grief and want to shunt it off to a 'professional' to deal with.

It reached the stage that when someone said 'you should see a counsellor' I would say 'why, will they bring my son back?'. Which rather silenced them.

cory Mon 22-Apr-13 09:34:26

It is all invidiual isn't it, ithaka? You felt seeing a counsellor would be shunting off your grief to somebody else so you made the right decision for you.

But that doesn't mean somebody else who does see a counsellor does it because they or people around them don't like having to face overwhelming grief- that might have been true of you but not of them.

For me, I have never felt these sessions were about shunting your grief off to somebody. More about finding practical solutions: how do I manage to cope with my grief without having a negative impact on other people who are also suffering? Not wanting to offload to your family and friends is often about protecting them because you perceive that they are just as vulnerable as you are.

I didn't like the first counsellor I saw, so I asked to see another who turned out to be very helpful.

When ds' friend had counselling during his mother's terminal illness it was to help him find ways of dealing with it that enabled him to get on with his education and did not make life too difficult for his poor mother and for his grandmother who was already heavily burdened with watching her beloved daughter die. Nobody thought it would give him back his mum; if it could help him to stop punching his mates and shouting at his grandma that was good enough.

A friend of mine is having bereavement counselling now. It won't bring her sister back, but it may just help her with getting on with her work and bringing up her nephew. If it helps, that is good. If it doesn't help, then it doesn't. But at the moment, it is clear that she needs to try what she can because other people depend on her.

I think another important point to make is: if a person doesn't find the counselling s/he is having to be any use it doesn't necessarily mean a fault with the person, or with counselling in general: the particular counsellor may simply not be the right one for the person. You have to feel that you 'connect' with a counsellor, trust him/her etc.

But also, if a person doesn't see the need for counselling it's not a good idea to pressure him/her into having it. A couple of people suggested it to me when my dad died: I didn't look into it because I didn't need to. My father was dead and I was sad, but also able to accept it as a natural event and one that would get easier to deal with in time (he was 78 and had a sudden heart attack).

borninastorm Mon 22-Apr-13 10:36:19

cory wow, you are amazing! It must be so hard to give her that freedom but I agree it is a must. I give dd lots of freedom and I know she's not suicidal but as you know teenagers sometimes make sudden bad choices when life and their emotions become too painful. Your poor DS, what a trauma for him too. How's he coping now?

I've found it so sad to read that so many teenagers and parents have lost so many friends and family to suicide sad

And I've also found it uplifting to hear how everyone's children have coped with and without counselling.

Mrsdavidcaruso I'm so sorry for your loss and that you got a counsellor who didn't help.

ithaka I'm so sorry for your loss and you're right counselling doesn't bring people back, but it can help them get themselves back, the selves they've lost in the pain of grief. I do agree that we have to experience our grief, feel it and live it. And that mostly what we feel in grief are normal emotions at an abnormal time. But sometimes, we need more to help us get out the other side of the grief so it doesn't scar us for life. So we can learn to live with it. Some people can do this themselves, others can't.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Your counsellor sounds horrible.

I have contacted Cruse in our area and they've nothing they can offer DD.

DD did see her school counsellor but didn't feel a connection with her which made it hard for her trust her and really open up. And sadly, I think this coloured DD's view of our the counsellor as she then told me she felt like the counsellor wasn't comfortable with hearing her talk about the suicide and wanted her to talk about other things. She stuck with it though but didn't find it helpful. Unfortunately she is the only counsellor within the school so she couldn't ask to see another.

"Nobody thought it would give him back his mum; if it could help him to stop punching his mates and shouting at his grandma that was good enough"

Yes, yes to the above cory that's what dd wants.

It's the practical solutions that therapy/counselling could give her that you've all referred to that DD wants.

The tools to help her help herself.

borninastorm Mon 22-Apr-13 10:38:57

Totally SolidGoldBrass I think counselling should be a personal choice. It is perfect for some people and others really don't want it.

Nobody should be forced into it because it's 'the right thing to do' in the circumstances.

CinnabarRed Mon 22-Apr-13 10:53:02

My father killed himself when I was 16. I threw myself into my GCSEs, which started the next week, and by the time they were over it was too late to get support because everyone had witnessed me 'move on' by getting through my exams.

My brother, 13 at the time, was also not offered any support, and our mother was herself too bereaved to do anything for us. (She was offered counselling via Cruse, and in hindsight I'm surprised she didn't ask about any equivalent help for us - I guess she simply couldn't process our grief as well as her own at that time.)

I've been lucky in life on the whole. My brother hasn't, and is still to this day horribly damaged by the events of his late childhood and early adolescence (my father saw DB as the scapegoat and me as the golden child, but that's a whole separate issue). I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that DB will never be able to form a normal, sexual relationship because he's too scared of being hurt.

I honestly don't know if I've processed it, or buried it.

borninastorm Mon 22-Apr-13 11:05:25

Maryz I've just reread one of your posts and I think she may be at the point now where she thinks she should be feeling better and she's not she's feeling worse. I think that's troubling her and worrying and upsetting her.

When we have a chat tonight I'm going to explain that it's ok to feel how she feels for as long as she feels it. That she doesn't have to be her version of normal anytime soon.

I hope your DS has got through the anniversary week ok? It's so hard when you're child is suffering, no matter what age they are.

DIYapprentice Mon 22-Apr-13 11:27:17

Grief is a process - and it can take a very long time. Society, as a whole, are completely crap at letting someone grieve. The first year is terrible, there are all the 'firsts' to get through. Your first birthday, their first birthday, first Christmas, first holidays, first Easter, and then the first anniversary of their death. So many things that have the power to hurt you suddenly, when you just think you've getting a handle on it.

ithaka Mon 22-Apr-13 15:52:30

I do agree that society is crap at letting people grieve -everyone wants a fix, when there is no fixing it.

expatinscotland Mon 22-Apr-13 21:11:02

I agree with SGB when it comes to someone as old as the OP's DD, who can make that choice.

For me, I rely on the support of other bereaved parents, and hope I support them, too, because from my point of view there is no way to really help me, IYKWIM, short of the impossible, and the only ones who truly can understand and with whom I feel comfortable expressing my feelings are with those who walk this road, too.

For our children, however, we have chosen the help offered because of their ages at the time their sister fell ill, the circumstances surrounding her condition and her death. The 7-year-old, in particular, has lasting memories of her sister and certainly of us following her death. The 4-year-old, too. And although we are as supportive as we can be, things came out during play therapy, particularly for the 4-year-old, and art and play therapy for the 7-year-old that they can't really express in words yet, they are just too young.

They can't say, 'I'm scared that if I get sick enough to go to hospital, I'm going to die like my sister. It makes me really anxious.' Or, 'I feel really out of control.'

Some close friends of our family, one of their two sons, the elder, he drowned when he was 6, 33 years ago. The other son was 3. I got to have a long chat with him, the first time I'd ever been able to in person with the sibling of someone who died as a child.

His perceptive meant a lot. His brother was not spoken of in the home. It was thought that, as he was too young to remember, it was best not to 'upset' him. This was the prevailing thought at the time, but it damaged him.

For those who do not believe grief and loss damage people look no further than Queen Elizabeth I's childhood and adolescent letters to her friend Robert Dudley. She made a vow to herself early on never to marry or have children because all that she perceived and experienced of it around her was death for the woman. She stuck to that promise.

expatinscotland Mon 22-Apr-13 21:15:54

My child drew a huge picture after her sister died. Of a child in a hospital room and bed with wires coming out, surrounded by all these people, and people going in and out. And all the people were black. Their clothes, everything. Outside was all black. And the child was all in white. She drew another, of a family, outside, children riding scooters and bikes, rainbows, sunshine, trees and flowers. All the people wore smiles, and from all their eyes were tears flowing out.

She cannot say just yet. She's too young.

Counselling, play therapy, art therapy, etc are vital for such children, IMO.

cory Mon 22-Apr-13 21:16:56

But ithaka, letting people grieve in the way that comes natural to them isn't always very good for the people around them. My friend's poor little ds took his grief out by banging other little boys' heads against the pavement. He couldn't be let to grieve in his own way because other people got hurt. It wasn't that anybody wanted to stop him from grieving: the counselling he got was more about channelling his grief.

I wish my mum had had bereavement counselling when her parents died. Instead, the family dealt with it in the traditional style- which basically meant that I had to substitute for her mother. I was a child, I shouldn't have had to do that. My dad was just helplessly sweet and my brothers kept their heads down. She went through a patch when she was shouting all sorts of odd accusations at us. No doubt a natural reaction to grief, but very frightening and confusing for a young teen who had nobody to turn to.

Of course, we should all be more tolerant of people needing to take time to grieve. But sometimes families may need a bit of help to deal with grief.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 23-Apr-13 01:27:55

Ithaka I totally get where you are coming from, and I am so sorry for your massive, massive loss.

PERSONALLY (and I accept this may not hold true for everyone) I find that when I need to talk something out, I get better advice from talking to a wise friend who has been through similar experiences, or who is just very empathetic.

I find the lack of response from many counsellors irritating. I realise they are just there to listen, but really? I could talk to my dog if I just wanted someone to listen. Not trying to be flippant, but that's how I feel! At least she occasionally licks my hand in sympathy. I get that some counsellors are able to give tools to cope - ike CBT etc but I have unfortunately never experienced that.

Please don't hear what I'm not saying. I know some people have had terrific experiences with counsellors. But equally, some of us have found them less helpful (or perhaps have just encountered particularly shit ones).

Anyway, IthakaI just wanted you to know that I get where you are coming from - not downplaying the importance of counselling in general, just suggesting it may not be for everyone.

ithaka Tue 23-Apr-13 06:44:37

Thank you Moaney. I do have family support and some good, long term, wise and caring friends. I realise not everyone has this support.

I also empathise with your dog comment. When my son died I bought a horse! I have had her for over 10 years and she is now seeing me through my father's sudden death. In grief we have to do what is best for us and our family - for some it is counselling, for me it was a horse...

Scheherezade Tue 23-Apr-13 08:24:57

Urbane, are you dismissing all psychological therapies, or just counselling? Please tell your thoughts on CBT, CAT, DBT (which is considered the only effective treatment for BPD, after large scale scientific evaluation), EMT, psychoanalysis.

All very different from counselling.

ithaka Tue 23-Apr-13 08:47:33

Scheherezade, your question sounds quite combative, which I am sure wasn't your intention. On this thread we have been sharing our different ways of coping with bereavement, accepting there is no right and wrong and recognising everyone's different needs at different times. No one has to tell their thoughts if they do not wish to and we can all disagree and all still be 'right'.

cory Tue 23-Apr-13 08:50:06

ithaka, I think Scheherezade might still be on page whatever-it-is been reading Urbane's posts which were quite aggressive and so have missed that the conversation has since moved into mellower, more supportive channels. I also found Urbane's comments quite upsetting, but am glad to see that this thread has moved on.

ithaka Tue 23-Apr-13 08:53:14

Sorry Scheherazade, I see what Cory means (thanks Cory!) Scheherazade's question seemed so out of tune with the tone of the thread, but I can see it might have seemed appropriate in response to earlier posts. This is such a sensitive subject, I hate to think of anyone being unnecessarily upset.

cory Tue 23-Apr-13 08:55:59

I've done if myself often enough, started reading a thread and got so incensed at something on page 3 that I forgot that there were still 15 pages to go.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 23-Apr-13 08:58:08

flowers ithaka.

You are lovely - in a "I like the cut of your jib"" kind of way. Not a "weirdo stalking you on the internet" kind of way grin.

borninastorm Tue 23-Apr-13 10:58:43

expat your dd's picture sounds so sad and so telling of her pain and her fears.

My dd drew some pretty 'dark' art in the immediate aftermath of her friend's suicide. Some she's shown me, others she keeps to herself. And I think the ones she doesn't show me are the one's that are the darkest, the ones she thinks might scare me or worry me or even hurt me.

The same goes with her words when we talk about it. I can see her sometimes choosing her words carefully so as not to scare me or hurt me.

She doesn't understand that I don't care how dark or scary her words or art are I just want to support her, while she in turn wants to protect me from her sadness and grief.

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