Chaos is coming. Woo hoo, that’s great. I’m a family systems therapist, I love chaos. You can’t work with families without feeling comfortable in chaos.
Have you ever tried to wrangle intense family conflict? Whoooeee, you better know what you’re doing or things could get out of hand quickly. Chaos? In family therapy we thrive in chaos – it’s called “disrupting the homeostatic balance” of the system that keeps it stuck in no-change.
So the coming period of chaos and dysequilibrium, that’s a good thing. It’s the first step, and a necessary step, in any systems change process.
Parent advocacy: You can’t rely on the knuckleheads in mental health to solve this for you, and stay away from the court system if you can… which then only leaves the mental heath system.
So then we have to get parents and children appropriate mental health services – and this will be through you – the parents – advocating in a strong voice for your rights within the mental health system.
Will they want to give you your rights? No they won’t. So are you going to go away? No, you’re not.
We will be importing the “Educational Advocate” role (not the person, the role) from school-involved psychology over here to court-involved psychology. Hire an advocate. Over here, the formative stages of that role are the coaching professionals who are emerging to help.
How do you pick a family support coach? The same way they pick Education Advocates in school-involved parent advocacy. How do they do that? Go find out.
I’m also going to note that the “Educational Advocate” role from school-involved psychology also includes Ed.D psychologists, so I can envision that parent-hired psychologist-level advocates would be immensely helpful for parents in acquiring appropriate services from the mental health system. Who knows the mental heath system better than a mental health professional?
Ed.D. educational advocates are more expensive than non-doctorate educational advocates, but my experience in ADHD world is that these advocates thrive and rise by results. Do they get appropriate services for the client.
My role over in ADHD world was to provide the test assessments for the pathology. Sound familiar? The educational advocates hired by the parents and the parents then took my reports (i.e., the reports from clinical psychologists who tested and assessed the child for ADHD) into the school system.
Sooooo, you will need a role of the psychologists who assess your children and provide you with the documented evidence of the pathology which you can then take into the… school system? No, silly, into the legal system.
See the parallels?
So coaching people and “psychological services advocates” for court-involved psychology, I’d start looking to Wrightslaw and the principles of parent-child advocacy support. That’s the model – ADHD and school-involved pathology – AB-PA and court-involved pathology.
Supidity: “AB-PA doesn’t exist.”
Dr. Childress: I know, stupid pathogen. I’m saying that all the time. AB-PA doesn’t exist. It’s just a label used to refer to the standard and established knowledge of professional psychology, it’s Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck. Switch AB-PA to “trauma-informed” or “attachment-related.”
ADHD for school involved pathology, and attachment pathology for court-involved pathology… and trauma-related pathology for court-involved pathology (Adjustment Disorder is in the Trauma-Related Disorders in the DSM-5).
The pathogen is pattern. It thinks: Gardner-PAS; Childress-AB-PA. And the pathogen is stupid as sin. AB-PA is not “new theory”, no, no, no stupid pathogen… it’s diagnosis.
Diagnosis is the application of standard and established constructs and principles to a set of symptoms. Diagnosis.
There’s going to be a bit of a period of chaos and disorganization for a while, as things change and shift.
Coaches; I’d suggest you start wandering around Wrightslaw and think about how some of these principles from parent advocacy can be applied with your individual client families.
At this stage, coaches and support need to be careful of getting “kicked out” of the treatment team because advocacy is annoying to the school-people in ADHD world, and to the legal and psychological people in forensic world. I’ll be working to bring parent-support para-professionals onto a treatment team approach. Be nice, play well with others, and know the systems and what is expected from professionals (be nice; be knowledgeable, and be resolute).
How does a parent choose a family support coach, the same way you’d choose an Educational Advocate in ADHD school-involved world. In forensic world, the CCPI coaches have advantages of training and a support team. Other coaches bring their advantages of knowledge and experience, and I would encourage licensed mental health professionals, including clinical psychologists, to also begin stepping into the role as hired “professional support advocates” – not to provide treatment, but to work as a hired consultant to the parent with the other mental health providers to ensure proper treatment from them – the other mental health providers.
And just like ADHD school-involved world has psychologists who conduct the ADHD assessments (structured assessments documenting symptoms) and provide the reports that diagnose the pathology for the parent and Educational Advocate to take to the school system, we will be building an infra-structure of psychologists to provide trauma informed assessments (structured assessments of attachment pathology surrounding divorce) for the parents and their “psychological services advocates” to take to the… school system?… no, to the mental health and legal systems.
The parallels are almost direct.
Solutions are the only thing that is relevant. If it brings solution, good. Let’s do that.
Dr. Childress has solution. It is actually not my solution, it is the solution of professional psychology. My solution is to return to the standard and established knowledge and standards of practice of professional psychology.
Dorcy Pruter has solution. She has amazing solutions. They are not my solutions. Who care, they are solutions. If you have solutions, whoo hoo. Let’s do those too.
If, however, you don’t have solutions, then you’re just making noise, because we are soooo done with no solution. Solution is the only thing that is relevant.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857