Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for June 28th, 2013

Subtle Child Abuse

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 28, 2013

Kids raised, with the almost universal assumption, that parents want to promote the mental health of their child, are left to feeling alone as they struggle with the inability to please their parents. Kids, some more than others, need to feel that they are making their parents proud, often suffer, when this goal is simply unobtainable. This “little t” trauma, as some call it, cause these kids to suffer from depression and anxiety, giving them a psychiatric diagnosis, which often, further disappoints their parents, thereby promoting the disappointment that they already feel. This downward spiral requires these children to develop the self-confidence, where their well-being is no longer tied to the pleasure in their parent’s eye. This separation is often the work of long-term psychotherapy, leaving many therapists with the upward battle of promoting boundaries, while at the same time, understanding how attachment to a disappointed parent can feel safer than no attachments at all. Psychopharmacology can be helpful, but the majority of the work, lies in creating a bridge for the patient to mentally leave their plea for parental acceptance, so that they can learn to please themselves and people they choose to care about. Some families can be cherry picked, and some people need to understand that those ‘families’ will stimulate positive growth and fulfillment. Elisa, twenty, comes to mind. She is the product of a single parent. Her mother, Jasmine,  had a “quickie” and wanted to keep her. Jasmine, frustrated with her life, always made Elisa feel like she wished she was not born, or so Elisa relates to me. Elisa, trying to make Jasmine happy, has been frustrated at her inability to do that. Elisa is doing well in college, has a nice boyfriend, but she still feels that Jasmine is disappointed. Their relationship is strained and so Elisa avoids interacting with Jasmine. Jasmine does not initiate contact with Elisa. Elisa gets depressed and engages in self-injurious behaviors. She feels like she will never be happy with herself. This dynamic where her struggle with her relationship with Jasmine, appears now, to be the central theme of her depressed mood, is the core of our work. Elisa needs to develop the self-esteem, where her mood is not a reflection of Jasmine’s mood. This involves a movement away from the centrality of this relationship, while at the same time, understanding that Elisa and Jasmine’s connection has been intensely important to both of them for two solid decades. This is the work of therapy. This takes time and patience. There is simply no quick fix. Once again, the theme of my rants continue. Time and sophistication are essential to helping Elisa.

Posted in child abuse, Child Psychiatry | 9 Comments »

Joke For The Day

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 28, 2013

From today’s WSJ.

Moses was coming down from Sinai with good news and bad news about G-d’s commandments: “The good news: I kept him down to ten. The bad news: adultery stays.”

Posted in humor | Leave a Comment »

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