Friday, March 30, 2007

A slight glimmer of . . . something

We had our bi-weekly therapy call with B last night. Some interesting stuff going on lately.

He is doing an exercise with the entire group, of having them write apology letters. He had Katie write one to EVERYONE. She said she had done 15, but actually had did only 9. She turned these in to him, he looked them over, and then tore them up in front of her. She was a bit pissed off, as you can expect. He then said that is exactly what she has been doing to everybody else in her life - ripping up and throwing out all the effort they have been putting in with her.

I like this guy.

So then in group, he starts reading these letters, including two more she has written. These are read anonymously after the first few. The girls all then comment on them, sharing if they were sincere and real. When he read Katie's letter to her teacher - the entire group immediately recognized it as hers because it was repetitve and empty. No feeling behind it - it wasn't real.

When Katie came on the call, she talked about her apology she wrote to her mother, and read it. It started out much better, but quickly degenerated into a guilt trip towards her. Now her mother will never see it, because not only has she not had any contact at all with Katie since she entered the program 18 months ago, but even the other boys have not heard from her since last June.

However, as we talked about her mother, something interesting happened. For a very short time, some real emotions came out. For the briefest time, she let down all the pretenses, and got real about some of the things she felt about her mother. Her mother is truly a major issue with her, if not the central issue. It wasn't long - she quickly 'recovered' from it, but we did acknowledge that was exactly what she needed to do to begin to progress in the program. Not try and make others happy, not try to be what others want, but to be herself, with real emotions.

So it was a glimps of something. A spark in the darkness. The question is, will the spark catch and ignite, to burn and fire the passion for change that she needs, or will it smolder and die, smothered in fear and doubt. So often we are so comfortable with the pain we know, as opposed to change, that it keeps us from every moving.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Monday, Diane got a letter from Katie, and a nice poem that Katie has submitted to the parent support magazine. And she also sent a letter to her youngest brother. I got - nada.

However, there was one for me yesterday. She had gotten my previous letters, and this was much stronger than any have been in some time. She did say that she didn't feel I was being open with her because I was not angry in my letters, and wanted more honest feedback. It was one of the longest letters she has yet written.

I wrote back, and exactly as I had said I would, I addressed her letter. I was very open with her, and shared that I did not have any anger over her previous behavior at home like Diane does. I have forgiven and moved past that. In fact, I don't have much anger period - it is not an emotion I can hold on to, and I find that it weakens me to be angry, so even when I do get angry, it doesn't last long.

She said that she wanted me to be angry with her, which I won't do. She is looking for validations of her feelings of ruining the family, but I've gotten past that, and won't give her that validation.

Her letter, and my response back to it (which is the longest letter I have written to her since she has been in the program) are probably some of the best communication we have had in quite some time.

I just hope it starts to make a difference.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Seems to be slipping backward

So we talked with A, the family rep last night. From what she was saying, it now sounds like Katie has not only made no progress, but is falling back into her old patterns yet again.

Once more she is talking about going up for level 2 next week - but she is short on points, and hasn't done any of her goals. Working on pre-focus homework again. This isn't a bad things, and in the discussion I did learn that she will continue to do this process until she gets in Focus, regardless of level at the time. There is a cutoff date for each seminar, by which they must have their level, and that is either this week or next (each group picks their own date). She won't have it, so will have choosen out one more time.

No letters yet, though A did say that she had sent one off earlier in the week for Diane. I haven't gotten a letter in close to a month. So I guess I won't be writing today.

It was brought up again that she seems really comfortable there. I really don't know how to change that. On her call sheet she said that being on silence had allowed her to work on her relationship with God, and that she had decided to go back to the Baptist church she had attended for a year or so (before wanting to switch to and evangelical one, and then switching to Mormon (though that didn't work so well, as at the time they didn't "support her lesbian lifestyle").

If being religious would help, then I'm all for it. It hasn't so far though. To me it is yet another way to avoid the real issues.

She is out of Orange, and so should be in the call next week - we'll just have to see.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Very interesting paper

I was invited to join a new forum for parents, and found that a woman there had written a paper on finding help for teens. I put the link on the side, but you can also find it here : Managing Teens at Risk: A Massachusetts Parents Guide to Choosing the Right Private Program For Your Family .

I haven't finished reading it yet, and we don't live in MA, but I sure wish I had seen this in 2005 (she wrote it in 2004) when we were looking for help with Katie.

One of the goals of this Blog is to help others, and provide something other than the marketing information that is out there - and this is one item with the same intent.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A tough letter

After talking with the therapist 'B' the other day, I decided to write a bit of a tougher letter. I wasn't always that good at writing to Katie. But since November I have been doing it weekly, putting an appointment in my calendar every week to remind me.

And we can all see how much that has helped.

She is supposed to be writing home at least once a week, and that hasn't been happening either. So in an effort to get her moving, I wrote her that from here on, I would only respond to her letters. So if she doesn't write, neither do I. In addition, the letters have to be meaningful. No more drawings, song lyrics or 20 questions. Talk about the issues, get honest and dig deep. And let me know what is going on.

One thing that has amazed me is that she never talks about what happens there, the other girls or anything. I'm not asking for gossip, but just to know what is really going on. So if she writes that then I'll respond with news about what is happening here.

I said that I didn't feel that she valued our relationship, so it was time for her to show me that she did value it. I think that as much as I try to enforce that I love her unconditionally has just made her take me for granted.

It wasn't the easiest letter to write, and won't be easy for her to read. It may be a waste of my time.

The choices are all hers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No real progress

Talked with the therapist 'B' last night. Katie is pretty much the same. Still not working. He is letting her start to work off her 'tape credits' - the way to get off staff buddy. He goes on vacation today for a week, and didn't want her to be stuck there while he was gone.

A total of 5 girls got hit with the Katlyn Staff Buddy Brigade, but 4 more would have if they had continued the process. However, it wasn't giving them the results they wanted.

Once B gets back, they will start loading her down with assignments, and see what she does.

Everyone is frustrated, and no one seems able to get through to her.

One thing we talked about was letters. She is required to write home once a week - this is not happening. In my next letter I'm going to challenge her a bit more about taking me for granted, and ask her to step up to her obligations in this relationship.

She also has a lot of work to do on repairing the relationships in her group; unfortunately in the past she has not done that.

So here we are - same stuff, different day. *sigh*

Friday, March 09, 2007

And now getting worse

We had our call with A, the family rep last night. Things are getting worse. Katie is now also on Staff Buddy (also known as being in Orange). She had decided not to work, so that is what they have now down. Since she isn't working the program, she is not allowed to work the program. Every day when she isn't in school she is in the tape credit room, but she isn't allowed to work off her credits, she just has to sit. And each day she doesn't work them off, they add more. Yes, it sounds like a catch-22 situation at first. The key is that she has established by her actions that she just wants to sit there, so that is what is happening.

Once she decides that she wants something else, then she can move on. But not until then.

Apparently several more girls joined the KSBB before this was done. B, the therapist, also asked her previous therapist if he wanted her back, since he isn't reaching her. She did start to cry when she heard that - but when asked how the session went she said it went fine.

She has never really dug into her emotions or anything. She talks the program, but is just skating on the surface of what her issues are.

I can understand that. In my first seminar I was the same way, not really getting into the core of a lot of my issues, believing I had dealt with them, and replacing stories with really digging down. Focus broke that wide open, and really helped me to see what a lot of the issues in my own life are.

I'm going to talk with B next week as well (it will be on Tuesday instead of Thursday due to a schedule conflict), and I want to ask him if my trying to write every week is helping or not? Or, the thought occurrs to me as I write this, to keep writing, but go back to where she was before; i.e. when she is in Orange she doesn't get the letters. She can see that she has them, but isn't allowed to get them until she earns her way out.

She also needs some new shoes - so we need to get those this weekend and get them sent off. That is one I can understand - basically they have one pair of sneakers, and even the best of them will wear out from constant use.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Katlyn Staff Buddy Brigade

No news actually. The schools maintain a bulletin board for parents to share and support each other, and on Friday I wrote up basically the same thing I posted here (without some of the edits I do to keep people anonymous).

I see a response this morning from the mother of one of the girls that got put on staff buddy because of Katie, or, as she referred to it, she got to be part of 'The Katlyn Staff Buddy Brigade'. When I saw that name I just had to laugh.

The good news is the girl got off staff buddy on Friday, and was still able to do the presentation she had prepared and attend the seminar she was scheduled to go to - so no real harm done, and an excellent learning experience for her.

No, this process isn't fair to the other girls, especially those who end up joining the KSBB, but one thing I truly learned is that life is not fair. Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people. And things happen in our lives that are out of our control. The only thing we do have control is how we choose to respond or react to them. So the other girls get an opportunity to see what they will do when bad things happen beyond their control, as well as a chance to mirror what things they have done in the past do to other people (especially in their families).

In some ways, the girls in the KSBB will learn more than Katie will from all of this. It is pretty rare to have the opportunity to see situations from both sides - and they get a little taste of what their parents got to deal with when they were at home. I know when Katie was here there were many things she did that caused us lots of problems. In a lot of ways, I'd like to see Katie have the chance to be on the other side of this process as well in the future - it would do her a lot of good.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Kickng it up a notch!

Well I had our call with 'B', Katie's therapist, last night - and he is sure stirring things up.

He has changed Katie's goals down to one - which is calling the other girls on broken rules, (known as Categories, or cats). However, she still refused to do it. So early this week he put her on silence - she is only allowed to speak when calling others on rules. Ok - a show of hands from everyone who thinks that did anything. Ok - you in the back - put your hand down. Nada, once again.

So the other day he had her in group, and asked who her best friend was. She said she didn't have any, but cared about everyone. He made her name the three girls she cared about the most. He asked if she had done her goal - and everyone in the group said no. So he pulled out a jar with all the girls names in it - and drew three (one of which was one of her 'better' friends). Those three immediately went on staff buddy because Katie had not worked on her goal.

Well that shook her up. The next day she was calling everyone in the group. When 'B' asked who she had called on rules, everyone's hand went up, except for the service manor girl (this is a high level girl from another group that comes over to help). She hadn't called her on anything, and in fact the girl was wondering why she hadn't. So another name was drawn, and a fourth girl went on staff buddy.

So I figure there are four sets of parents getting some interesting news this week because of Katie! And apparently the teachers have all be very enthusiastic about her being on silence as well - saying she has never worked as much or as hard as she has this past week.

She did get to participate in the call yesterday - but was still on silence so it was one-sided. A bit hard to do on my part, to talk but not be able to get any type of feedback at all (since I couldn't hear her of course, no see anything over the phone).

The girls will get off staff buddy probably today, but if she isn't doing her goal, then 'B' will put more on next week. This is pretty big - we'll see if it has any real effect on her or not. For someone for whom acceptance is such a huge issue it is a real big deal.

So in the words of Emeril - BAM! - let's kick it up a notch!