I have been struggling a lot in school (i have dyslexia and i’m getting tested for add soon). I have not been able to get a lot of school work done but it’s not because i’m lazy, I am trying really hard and I want to do better. I feel like my mom dose not really understand and has been telling me how i’m not getting enough work done and stuff. I know she just wants to help but she really isnt because I already know I’m not doing good enough. I told my theripist all this and then she talked to my mom. I found out a little later that she told my mom to take my phone away if I did not do more school work. this made everything way worse, me and my mom got into a huge agument (which dosn’t happen often) and I just feel very betrayed by my therpist and I don’t know what to do? am I wrong, was it ok for her to tell my mom that? should I talk to her about it? should I get a new theripist?
Before you decide to fire your therapist, you need to speak to her about it. Tell her about how you are unhappy with what she told your mother. You should have a conversation with her about what is okay to tell your mother and what isn’t. In fact, there is certain paperwork you can sign that specifies what she can speak to your mother about and what she can’t.
Specifically, there is a federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) that protects an individual’s medical records and personal health information. This includes information that you tell your therapist during the course of your psychotherapy sessions. When you first began counseling, your therapist should have been discussing these issues with you. Usually, these types of discussions take place on your first visit. This is where you and your therapist discuss the ground rules for privacy. That way, the both of you know what is okay to share what is not okay to share. This is especially important since it is quite common for parents to be involved in the psychotherapy services of their child. Perhaps, there was a lack of clarity about what she was allowed to share with your parents and what she was not.
What’s most important about working with your therapist is that the two of you have an honest relationship and clarity around the parameters of your relationship. There could have been a miscommunication. It’s very common for miscommunications to occur. You thought you told her one thing and she understood it a different way. The same could be true with her. She may have understood the nature of your conversation one way, or an instruction you gave her, in a way that was not accurate.
Another possibility is that mother thinks that your phone is the problem and was using your therapist as cover to get rid of your phone. It’s no secret that phones are quite a distraction, particularly for teenagers. It’s not uncommon for people to spend many hours on the phone, especially now, during the quarantine. Teenagers, in particular, are spending more time on screens than ever before. Studies indicate that excessive screen time can cause learning and attention problems, among other things. It’s not unreasonable for your mother to set limits on your phone. Perhaps removing it from you entirely would be unreasonable, and this is why all three of you need to discuss this issue.
It may also be useful to include your teachers in this conversation. Perhaps, they can offer some clarification about your dyslexia and or the nature of your school work. A teacher might help to solve some of these issues. Maybe this issue can be put on hold until you’re tested for ADD and the nature of your issues are more fully understood. By taking your phone away, your mother may have been attempting to help you, as was your therapist. Again, you need more clarification about what your therapist is allowed to share with your parents and what may have happened in the situation.
Once you have more clarity about what happened, hopefully you, your therapist and your mother can move on from this episode. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle