Found Journal - Need Advice

<p>Before people go off about my reading my D's journal, I will say that it was/is a regular notebook left out on a table titled "Adv Bio." Since D took the class last semester, I was merely flipping through it before putting it on a shelf with other notebooks and the words jumped off the page. Part of me wonders if she left it out to be found, but another part of me just realizes that D has a tendency to leave stuff laying around as part of who she is.</p>

<p>Thing is, what I read has me deeply concerned. It's not that I was unaware of some things my D was going through because she's been seeing a therapist since November. It took quite the crisis to get her to go at all, but I do feel she is trying to work with her and this was confirmed in the journal. However, she also admits to not always being honest with her therapist, and details a lot of lies she's been telling us. Telling us she's hanging with some friends when really she's somewhere else entirely, smoking pot, selling her adderall, buying booze for people, drinking. Truly, I don't know this person. But it's also clear she knows what she is doing is wrong and feels horrible about herself for doing it. She also mentions some symptoms that she absolutely should be talking to her therapist about but is not.</p>

<p>My initial reaction was to call her therapist and ask for advice how to deal with knowing what I now know, especially all the lies. On the face of things, there would be no reason to take away her car, her prescriptions, search her stuff, etc, but in reading the journal I never want her leaving the house!</p>

<p>So the therapist calls me back to say that not only can she not give me advice, but because of patient confidentiality, she has to tell D what I've told her I know and how I know it! Their next appt is tomorrow. I understand why she cannot tell me about D's confidences to her, but why does she have to reveal what I told her to D? She said she was going to look into that further to make sure that was the case, especially since D is over 18, but we've exchanged emails before (just to confirm that D was going) and in response to when we might, as her parents, be invited to even meet this person we're paying a lot of money to for the benefit of our "kid." I recognize that technically I invaded my D's privacy and she is going to be HUGELY upset about that. I do not want this to derail any progress made, but I also want her to understand that by hiding parts of herself from even her therapist isnt helpful to finding solutions.</p>

<p>I had written this entire post already and something tripped up and erased the entire thing forcing me to start over. I'm sure Im missing something, but mostly I just want to understand if the therapist HAS to tell D at their next appointment. I will also admit that however she feels about it, it's probably best if the therapist is there to help her process it.</p>

<p>Oh and can I also interject that my H was supportive of seeking advice on what to do next with the therapist is now mad at me because it's forcing our hand to react when we honestly have no idea what to do exactly. I already called the dr who fills her prescription to mail refills to the house vs her picking them up. </p>

<p>Obviously, her therapists patient confidentiality thing is completely secondary to the issue put forth in the journal. But I'm kind of hoping someone on CC will know the law here so at least I can have some time to formulate a plan of some kind.</p>

<p>I don't know about whether the therapist should tell your daughter - but I think you should tell her. I would encourage you to attend the therapist's appointment with your daughter tomorrow. Tell the therapist ahead of time that you want to participate in the session. During the session, with the therapist there, tell her what happened. Apologize for reading the journal (though if it was out and labeled "Adv. Bio," it is an understandable mistake). Focus on your concerns for her health and safety.</p>

<p>So the therapist calls me back to say that not only can she not give me advice, but because of patient confidentiality, she has to tell D what I've told her I know and how I know it!</p>

<p>I hope someone speaks up who knows more about this than I do- but the way I read confidentiality codes is that the therapist is required to tell the patient of the contact, but not necessarily to discuss what was said.</p>

<p>I have had it go a couple of different ways with different psychiatrists and therapists. S's psychiatrist in HS was firm that whatever we talked to him about he would share with my S. I didn't like it but that was his policy. My D on the other hand had therapists who were willing to listen to our concerns but not comment. They were willing to listen and not tell my D of the contact.D3 sees an MFT and her policy is she will tell D of my concerns but will not totally share the entire conversation. She will say I talked with your Mom and she is concerned about "blank"</p>

<p>I know nothing about confidentiality codes, but I find it disturbing that you can't talk to your daughter's therapist without the therapist then turning around and reporting it back to your daughter. That doesn't seem right to me. I hope someone responds and explains this.</p>

<p>As for reading your daughter's journal, my attitude was always that as long as my kids are in my house and I'm supporting them financially, it is within my rights to violate their privacy (read journals, emails, eavesdrop on conversations) if I felt there were health or safety issues involved. I also made that policy clear to my kids. It certainly seems that there are some very serious health and safety issues involved here.</p>

<p>The psychiatrist my two sons, aged 16 and 19, see is very discriminating in what he shares with them. I feel free to tell him whatever I need to. He's great about returning my emails and phone calls.</p>

<p>Is she in HS or College? I would be more concerned if it were HS than College. You can't follow them around forever. I know my son drinks and I have suspicions on smoking "stuff." I accept the drinking and advise him constantly to be careful. The smoking I am not sure how I feel. I am "ok" with it to some degree as long as it is not constant and affecting his daily responsibilities. I know it's not legal, but I think it is more common than I ever thought. I was never into it, but my brother got his Phd and he smoked since High School probably to this very day!</p>

<p>I would be very concerned if she was selling meds though. If she needs them, she should be taking them or what will the effect be? Maybe she doesn't really need it. Adderrall is ADHD med right? Was she neuorologically screened for that? Only a neuro can tell for sure, otherwise it could be more behavioral than physical problem. The LEGAL part is why I would worry. Getting nabbed for selling Rx drugs is not a good thing.</p>

<p>NO idea on the confidentiality thing. Can you just call a random dr and ask them? Maybe your primary physician would have a thought?</p>

<p>Good luck. She is getting some help, and what she is doing (drinking and smoking) is pretty normal, as long as it's not to excess. Disclaimer: I don't have the typical brainiac CC kid!</p>

<p>I was taught (in my psychiatry residency) that I could listen to whatever a family informant wanted to tell me, but that I couldn't TELL them things/"discuss" things about the patient without the patient's knowledge and consent. I don't remember being instructed that I had to reveal that I'd spoken to someone, or what they'd said.</p>

<p>I would get in front of this by telling your daughter about it immediately. You can make it clear that you didn't set out to invade her privacy and it was an "accidental sighting". If approached candidly and without fuss, she may actually be relieved to have it out in the open.<br>
Many ADHD kids, and others, self-medicate with booze and other substances, especially if they feel their prescription meds aren't working or they don't like the side effects. I would impress upon her that selling her meds is a very risky thing to do (as is buying alcohol for underage students) and do whatever it takes to get her to agree not to do that anymore. Then let her know what she needs to do to regain your trust.</p>

<p>It makes perfect sense to me, and seems perfectly innocent of the Op to be flipping through a notebook marked "Bio". It also makes sense that the Op might see that the student also had kept a journal within. The right to read it, once discovered that it was a journal, is a different matter, and I think that could vary from one household to another. An "accidental sighting" would explain discovering the journal, but would not explain reading all of it. Op may have to work to regain student's trust.
Since it was left out in the open, is it possible that things written are not true?</p>

<p>I forgot that you mentioned "other symptoms". I had keyed in on the alcohol and smoking. It seems to be very fortunate that you read it, and some day she will admit that.</p>

<p>THe therapist probably realizes that when they bring up these issues your D will be wondering why or how the therapist thought of it. I recently posted on another thread that the athletic coach had asked us not to call him about things if we were going to say "don't tell him I called." He said the kids always know you called! Your daughter will figure it out. She probably saw the journal out and thought " uh-oh". Was it in a family area or on her bedside table? Much easier on you if it was not in her room. You can tell her you saw it, flipped it open, and say it opened to whatever is the worst "symptom" that needs addressing. Of course you had to read more after seeing that. The therapist will hopefully explain that!</p>

<p>I would echo what desk potato said. as a mental health professional I have never heard or practiced that if a family member shared info with me I would be required to inform my client. If I felt that the information would be helpful to my client I would likely suggest to that family member that they share their concern directly, and possibly arrange for a joint session in which to address concerns. I would not however be the family member's agent, in terms of attempting to influence my client, but would work with the issue presented...particularly if there were any safety concerns.</p>

<p>I can so sympathize with you. Can I ever.</p>

<p>I do not think the therapist is bound to repeat everything you tell her - that sounds way off (and I have had a child in counseling).</p>

<p>In any case I would tell your daughter yourself. You were flipping through her folder that was out on the table and started reading it before you realized what it was. Once you realized, you were frankly unable to unglue your eyes from the page - she won't have to wonder why. The question for you both is: what do we do, together, with this information.</p>

<p>I appreciate all the opinions... and insights.</p>

<p>Based on the past and why she is seeing a therapist to begin with, a candid conversation is not going to cut it without potentially derailing the things that ARE going better. I am deeply concerned that if not handled judiciously, she will shut down completely and whatever relationship she's built with the therapist will be shut down too, leaving her more alone than ever.</p>

<p>I understand self-medication. And with other older kids, I am not an alarmist in the least when it comes to youthful experimentation. This exceeds that. However, just because she lives here does not mean she has no rights. I do not read her mail, her email, listen to her voicemails, or read her texts. But this was in her room and all I was doing was picking up dirty laundry. I put the journal/notebook in with the other notebooks on the shelf, just as I would if it had actually been about Adv Bio. </p>

<p>As for reading beyond initial discovery... I did not read ALL of it. To be forthright, I did not want to know anymore than I learned already. Still, it was definitely not meant to be discovered and I have no doubt what's written is the truth. My concern is that she is clearly on a road headed for major disaster sooner, if not later.</p>

<p>In a kind of irony, one poster suggests we talk about what she needs to do to regain our trust and another suggests I need to do things to regain her trust. And mostly, it's the case that if she just cleaned up the room when I asked her to a week ago, I'd never have seen the thing. But in not invading her privacy, and discovering what is going on in her life - shutting out all her friends, lying to EVERYONE about what she has and hasn't done, school work totally going undone, etc - isn't that worse? I just don't know that I agree that respecting her privacy trumps completely self-destructive behavior.</p>

<p>However, I've sent the Doc an email referencing DeskPotato's post above about privacy and especially since we (as parents) have yet to sign anything - including agreeing to be responsible for payment - I have some expectation of privacy as well. And even if her policy is to tell patients what is shared by family members, we have not yet agreed to that and would like to be at the earliest appointment next week to both sign what we should have signed and then of course, to tell D, with her therapist in the room to help her process what she will perceive as a breech of privacy with what we see as concern for her health and welfare. </p>

<p>As to why we can't do this tomorrow, I won't go into all the details here, but the timing of this discovery could not have been worse. Both of us (her parents) are out of town alternately until Tuesday. Our plan would be to be as on guard as possible and wait so we can have a united front AND have the assistance of her therapist on hand.</p>

<p>Regardless of what the therapist does, which you likely have no control over so this becomes just an academic question from you, make sure 'you' are the one who informs your D of this event first rather than the therapist. It's better to deal with that as openly and honestly as possible. If she hears it from the therapist first your D may feel even more that you violated her trust and weren't honest with her. Since your D is over 18 I think you really need to go through your D on this stuff anyway rather than directly to therapists or docs. It's hard to make that switch from a few months prior, when they were 17 and you could do all this, to now when you can't since the kid still seems to be the same despite the magical 18th birthday.</p>

<p>But all of the above isn't really that important compared to dealing with your D's actual self destructive behaviors - that's where any energy needs to be focused. </p>

<p>If you really don't like this therapist that you're paying for then find another therapist. You shouldn't pay for someone you don't feel is doing a good job from all aspects.</p>

<p>Wow, that's a lot of shock in a small timeframe. I would weather the coming recriminations and try to focus on what you know now. Surely, she has an apology coming for the inadvertant discovery, but after that you'll need to figure out what to do (and what to do about the therapist). It is possible your daughter will be relieved to be found out, or perhaps even left the journal where (even subconsciously) she hoped it would be discovered. Of course, she'll be shocked too, at first. When dealing with out of control or unacceptable behavior, try to not get too close. It's not, in the end, your job to help her. It's your job to help her help herself, which is of course so much harder.</p>

<p>I do not know the law, but I trust therapist knows, otherwise she would loose a license. I would not even care if there is a law and who is right. I would just cancel therapist and find another one. Therapist cannot reveal anything to non-patient. Therapist might be very good. But at this point it really does not matter, you just need to correct your own mistake and do the best under circumstances. If therapist has a chance to reveal to your D. your findings, then I cannot see anything but horrible situation. Well, your opinion might be different from mine, but you are looking for our input here, and here is mine.</p>

<p>Tell your daughter - it doesn't matter that you are out of town, what does matter a bit is that you didn't go to her first. Explain how afraid you are for her - but what is done is done and now you have to, together, go forward with this knowledge. Also tell her that her therapist did not want to discuss this matter with you and that she will probably tell tell you about it. That will keep her confidence in her therapist. Try to remain calm on the phone. My thoughts are with you.</p>

<p>The idea that the op has to regain her daughters trust is laughable. The daughter has control of this household, creating an environment where everyone is afraid to upset the adult. She is selling her medss. She is lying. She is basically faking her appointments with the therapist, who should have seen all the signs. Seems maybe this ain't such a great therapist, who will throw mom under the bus to explain away their own ineptness. the daughter has confidence in the therapist because she has been playing them.</p>

<p>I would show her the journal, and preface by saying, don't you dare accuse me of snooping. This is scary -@:& and you have some serious issues. If she plays the oh you invaded my privacy, say that she betrayed your trust on so many levels, her disdain is ridiculous. Love how we are so eager to give our over to others just bbecuase we are afraid of them. This girl is playing you all and using your fear and guilt to don whatever the heck she wants</p>

<p>I know I sound harsh, but these are choses the daughters is making. If work isn't being done, won't graduate. If she is lying about so much and writing about it, i can guarantee its much worse. While she may have phycological issues, she is savvy enough to lie about it, hang out with the wrong crowd, sell her meds, deceive her therapist, etc.</p>

<p>What progress isnreally being made when she is is basically faking her life. She has figured out now to do what she wants while not doing what she needs all while mom and dad pay for it all. She is manipulating the three of you and she darn well knows it. </p>

<p>Does she work? How is she is paying for the minors booze? If you arengiving her money, well that needs to stop, and if she is working, seems she has enough cash to pay some rent. I would be so angry I wouldn't worry about her feelings, her tender state, because frankly, I don't believe she is as fragile as she is playing up. She is in control of you and works you.</p>