The difference in mental health services for youth and adults.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

One size does not fit all.

Children

Children.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When it comes to mental health services what’s needed and what’s actually provided can vary tremendously. Treatment for each client should be individualized.

Therapy for children needs to be appropriate for both their age and their developmental stage. There are also some differences in the way the counselor or therapist may need to approach treatment. In selecting a therapist, it’s important to find someone with both the training and experience required to work with the person receiving services. Here are some of the differences between mental health services for youth and adults.

The therapist needs to speak the same “language” as the child.

Children don’t have the vocabulary to describe feelings. Children often express themselves by actions rather than words. For very young children therapy is best done through speaking the language of “play.” How a child expresses themselves through action will change as they age.

What’s appropriate for a baby to say at age six months will be very different from what they should be saying at five years. The same is true of their behaviors and the way in which they play.

The therapist needs to consider “who is the client?”

Children are usually referred to therapy because an adult has either recognized the problem or is afraid the child may develop a problem. The counselor must consider whether the reason this child is in therapy is because the child is doing something an adult doesn’t want them to do or because they aren’t doing something the adult wants them to do.

More than one female single parent has brought their male offspring in for counseling because they did not want that child to “be just like their father.” In these cases, often the father was either physically abusive, drug-addicted, or engaged in criminal activity. Unfortunately, being told repeatedly that you are “just like your father” can be extremely damaging to the child’s development.

A similar problem happens when male parents are raising female children and, in their effort, to prevent their daughters developing sexuality, they continually accuse the daughter of promiscuity “just like your mother.”

In cases like these, where a parent is projecting their own issues and negative life experiences on to their children, the counselor tries to help the child develop the skills to make their own healthy choices. Frequently, what needs to happen is for the parent to get into therapy for their issues and for help in becoming a more effective parent.

The counselor will at most see the child for an hour a week, while the parent will provide the care for that child for 167 other hours each week.

Lifespan development issues are important.

If a child isn’t hitting their developmental milestones, walking, talking, learning schoolwork and appropriate behavior on time, this warrants a referral to medical or mental health professionals. Unfortunately, many parents have unrealistic expectations for their child. Parents often push their children to do things that they are not developmentally ready for. I’ve had parents request that their child be assessed for ADHD because the child was getting B grades instead of straight A’s.

Children may be afraid to tell the truth.

While the child is often the one identified as having the problem, it’s entirely possible the problem is with the home situation. Children who grow up in a home where parents have frequent violent fights may be awake all night. When they go to school, they can’t concentrate because of their lack of sleep and their fears about what is going on at home while they’re at school. If they witnessed domestic violence, they might learn to use hitting as a way to get what they want.

While the child is referred for assessment for attention problems the real issue may lie with the parents. Children are afraid to report problems at home for fear that their parents will punish them or that they may be taken away from their parents.

Many children are taught not to talk to strangers and to never talk about families “business” outside the family. Children from lower socioeconomic status homes may be embarrassed. Children may have been instructed not to talk about parents who are engaged in illegal activity, or they may be reluctant to talk about having a parent or caregiver who is incarcerated.

Many problems are not identified until the child gets older.

I see many files for teenagers in which they were treated in the early grades for developmental issues. Later they were treated for attention deficits. In middle school and high school, they may have been treated for bad behavior. It’s not until late high school or college that some of these clients are diagnosed with severe depression.

It’s important that anyone working with children not write off poor attention and behavioral problems as a result of “bad child” diagnoses. A specialist in child developmental issues should be looking for serious mental health issues such as anxiety disorders and depression.

Children may need help in developing life skills.

Counselors working the children must be careful not to think that it’s the child who has the problem. Sometimes what the child needs are the skills to cope with a dysfunctional family and a challenging world. Social skills are tough for some children to develop. The majority of adults who develop anxiety disorders had the symptoms by the end of middle school.

Counselors may need to normalize the challenges of growing up. Most children go through a stage of feeling insecure and worrying about whether they measure up. Helping the young client through the transition periods can reduce or possibly even prevent the development of anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and other mental health problems that are the result of judging themselves in overly negative ways.

These are some of the major differences between working with children and adults. The techniques and materials the counselor uses are also likely to be different. Please feel free to leave additional questions or comments.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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The Muse Doesn’t Nag.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

You must grab the ideas while they fly past.

I don’t understand the term writer’s block.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

I’ve read many blog posts, even some passages in books on writing, where the author describes sitting at the keyboard waiting for the Muse to say something. My problem is not that the Muse refuses to talk to me. My problem is she never shuts up. Sometimes she whispers in my ear, and sometimes she shouts. My biggest challenge in learning to write has been learning to listen to her carefully.

I have pages of notes about the things the Muse says.

Every time I sit quietly for a few minutes, the Muse starts talking. You should write a blog post about loneliness, jealousy or anger. She goes on and on about the posts I should write. Sometimes the Muse starts to tell me a story about a character who went to this city and got this kind of job and then something else happened. Then she hints that this would be an excellent topic for a novel. If I let these words of wisdom sit too long, they evaporate faster than a light rain on the parking lot during a desert summer.

Most times I hear the Muse speak, not every time, but most of the time, I open a word document, type in the title of this great work, and save it to my projects-to-work-on file. The problem comes the next time I open the file. There’s the title or the idea, but I don’t remember what it was the Muse was talking about.

I studied what others have said about communicating with their Muse.

One source reported they didn’t believe in writer’s block. The rationale was that writing is a profession and professions don’t get blocked. You don’t hear about truckers complaining about trucker’s block or doctors having doctor’s block. I get that idea, but sometimes when I get behind the keyboard and take off for a trip, I end up going down the wrong highway and getting lost.

Another source said the Muse once told her a story.

This writer, I have forgotten who it was, maybe one of you can fill in the source here. Anyway, this writer told the story of the Muse presenting her with an idea, but she never got around to writing the book. Years later, at a conference, this writer ended up on a panel and, lo and behold, someone else on that panel had written that book.

I have this experience a lot. I open a partially done article but can’t remember what the Muse told me to write here. I close that piece up and work on a different one. Frequently what happens is in the next day’s email I find a post written by someone else about precisely that topic.

My muse doesn’t like to repeat herself.

What I’ve learned from this is that when the idea enters my brain, however, you conceptualize the origin of that idea, I had better act. Once the idea is upon me if I don’t get to writing that article or book in a speedy time frame, that idea begins to fade. Eventually, the idea becomes so faint that even my partially completed document won’t bring it back.

Sometimes the Muse babbles.

Occasionally I’m sitting in my chair trying to relax, perhaps trying to finish one of those half-read books, and then out of nowhere the Muse suddenly starts yakking, and she won’t stop. Occasionally I try to ignore her, but as most men my age will tell you, ignore a woman at the risk of imperiling your life.

I hastily try to scribble down as many of the things as I can from the Muses to do list, knowing I will never be able to write all her directives down and even if I did she was talking so fast I wouldn’t be sure what she meant by some of the things she said.

I suppose if you must have a problem with your Muse is better to have one who talks constantly than one who gives you the cold shoulder.

Thanks for listening to me yet one more time.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Lessons from NaNoWriMo.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

You can learn a lot from making the effort.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

This is the third year in a row that I’ve written a novel during November. Before that, I had tried to write several books, but they never reached “the end.” Each of these attempts has taught me valuable lessons about writing a novel and about myself. One of the things I learned is how much more I have to learn. Writing, like every other skill, needs both knowledge and practice.

Last week I shared a post about how as I get closer to the end of a writing project the more resistance gets in my way and the harder it is to finish that project. This week I wanted to share with you some of the other lessons I’ve learned because of participating in the NaNoWriMo contest.

Having a deadline keeps you moving forward.

In the past, I’ve started lots of projects which are still residing somewhere in electronic storage. One by one each of these ideas languished as the next shiny idea distracted me. Almost every time I have set a deadline to finish a project, the result has been a completed project.

The exception to meeting my deadlines? Those times I set unrealistically high goals. On an extremely productive writing day I may be able to write 3000 to 4000 words, once I even wrote 8000 words, but planning to write a 50,000-word novel in 10 days by writing 5000 words per day is both unrealistic and undoable for me.

During NaNoWriMo, I stuck to the goal of writing on average 1667 words per day. That occasional high-number-of-words day made up for those days when I simply couldn’t find the time or inspiration to write more than 200 to 300 words. Setting an unrealistic goal for me is a way of sabotaging the project. Setting a doable goal kept me moving forward.

Repeated small efforts add up.

During November, I had several days off from my other work activities. I had counted on writing a large number of words each of those days. That didn’t always happen. Driven by the pressure of a deadline I tried to write something, anything, each day. There were even days when I wrote less than 100 words.

Writing something every day was like drops going into a bucket. While several days output may have been less than I wanted, doing something each day kept my bucket filling and my goal in sight.

Having a story blueprint kept my process moving.

I’ve tried both outlining and going by the seat of my pants. Neither of these approaches was the full answer for me. What has worked best for me is to think through the story and create a list of the scenes that will make up the story. I started this book with an outline at the scene level but for many scenes nothing beyond the basic idea for that section.

For some of these scenes, I had several paragraphs of ideas. For others, I had a single sentence. Each day I sat down and wrote at least one scene. Some of the scenes were well thought out in advance while others I had to “right into the dark.”

After each scene, I looked back at my scene list to see what was coming up next. Almost every time, what I had written in one scene resulted in my revising my “outline.”

There’s a lot more to do after you type “the end.”

Trying to write a perfect first draft resulted in a lot of opening chapters that went nowhere. For me, there’s no such thing as writing a great first draft. In the first draft, I get the story down. But after that first draft, there’s going to be a lot of editing and polishing before I can publish this book. I’ve learned to accept that writing a publishable book takes me a lot of hours.

In writing from start to finish something suffered. Having written the first draft in one month, I discovered certain things were left out. While I think I have the framework of the story, the finishing touches are missing.

I’ve already gone through the manuscript briefly correcting a lot of typing, spelling, and grammar errors. But I discovered that what I had left out were descriptions. In places, I just say my protagonist walked up to the house. What I haven’t said is very much about the house they are approaching.

Another thing that happens when I write the way I would tell a story verbally is that I have certain words I use repeatedly. Polishing the language is something best left for subsequent drafts.

Before this book gets published, I will need to do not only editing but all the tasks of publishing. There’s a cover to create. A manuscript to format. Blurbs to write. And a great many other tasks associated with publishing and marketing the book.

Having too many priorities means nothing gets done.

Looking back over this last year, I’ve been working on a lot of projects. The consequence of having many “priorities” was that I completed very few of these projects. Every time I have picked one major priority and put a large share of my efforts into that project, I have been able to complete it.

A prime example of selecting one project and focusing on it is the three books listed below. Each of these books was started a long time ago, and each was finished when I finally decided to make them my top priority and set a final date for completion.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are you having an Emotional Affair?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Emotional affairs may be more common than we realized.

Emotional Affair

Emotional Affair.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many couples who come for relationship or marriage counseling have been arguing about the nature of one of the partner’s interactions with another person. Almost every client I’ve worked with who was in a relationship would agree that engaging in sex with someone other than their partner qualifies as an affair. What they don’t always agree about is whether a relationship with a third party has crossed the line and become an emotional affair.

It’s probably more common for women to become concerned that their partner’s friendship with another woman has become an emotional affair. Men are likely to dismiss these relationships as simply friendships and not having been an affair, so long as actual intercourse has not taken place.

Developing an overly close friendship with someone other than your romantic partner can damage a relationship. Here are some of the signs that your friendship has turned into an emotional affair.

Do you sometimes think about the “other” when talking to your spouse?

Having become so close to another person that during conversations with your spouse you are imagining what that other person would say or feel. This is a strong indication that they have him become more important to you and your spouse.

Do you, even a bit, wish your mate was more like someone else?

If you come to idealize the “other.” If you are thinking they are preferable to your mate or that they would be a better partner, this is likely to damage your relationship with your mate. Comparing your partner to others and wishing they were more like someone else is an early sign of an emotional affair in the making.

Do you imagine what you’d do if free to pursue someone else?

Daydreaming about what it would be like to be with that “other” suggests you’re already establishing an emotional relationship with them. The more you fantasize about being with the other, romanticize the possibility of starting a new relationship, the more you’re likely to withdraw from your current relationship. Even if you don’t leave your partner, imagining being with somebody else distances you from your partner.

Does your present lover know the stranger exists?

One key characteristic of emotional affairs is the need to hide your relationship with this other person from your primary partner. If you must keep secrets, those secrets are reducing your emotional closeness with your current partner.

What do you imagine your mate would think if he/she overheard you talking with this special person or read your email?

Having secrets that you share with the “other” and then being concerned about what your partner would think if they knew about this conversation suggest your relationship with this other person is inappropriate. Having to keep secrets from your partner is damaging to a relationship.

Does the arrival of a new message give you a rush?

You remember the rush of excitement you used to feel when you were first starting your relationship with your current partner? If messages from your “friend” start to give you that same rush of excitement, you are moving dangerously close to turning that friendship into an affair.

Can you sense the “sex of things” even if you haven’t acted on it?

Have you ever felt a craving for something? Remember how hard it is to say no to that temptation? If you are starting to feel those sexual attractions when you’re around your friend you’ve moved into a high-risk area. Even if you never actually engage in physical sex your friendship has become a source of mental and sexual stimulation and is becoming an emotional affair.

Do you lie to disguise any aspect of the new relationship?

If you have to tell your partner lies to facilitate or maintain your relationship with the “other,” this is a clear sign that relationship is turning into an emotional affair.

Is the mental and emotional space devoted to the stranger enlarging?

The larger a role this stranger plays in your life, the riskier the relationship is becoming. When the mental and emotional space the “other” occupies begins to exceed the space in your life taken up by your current partner, you’ve arrived at an emotional affair.

Do you engage in secret phone calls with the other?

Engaging in secret communications, phone calls, texts or emails, which you don’t want your partner to find out about, says this is an affair.

Have you arranged meetings in a park, coffee shop, restaurant or the like?

Do you and this “friend” have to arrange secret meetings away from other people? Do you have to be dishonest with your partner about when and where you’re meeting this other? It sounds like your friend has become more than a friend.

Do you share confidences not offered to your spouse?

One of the most damaging aspects of an emotional affair is when you begin to share confidences with your friend which should have been reserved only for your partner. Lack of loyalty to your spouse or making your friend your primary loyalty, are incredibly damaging to your current relationship.

Is your sexual desire for your mate now smaller than before you became preoccupied?

If your relationship with your friend has resulted in less sexual desire for your mate, it’s damaging the relationship. If your new friend reduces your desire to be emotionally close to your partner, or if your interest in spending time with your partner has declined, then your friend is taking on an increasingly more significant role in your life.

Are photo exchanges part of your new, hidden life?

Exchanging photos, particularly those which make you look attractive, or sexually explicit photos is often the last stop on the trail which turns an emotional affair into an actual physical one.

So, what do you think? How many of the signs of an emotional affair do you see in your friendship? How many of these signs of an emotional affair do you see, or suspect, are part of your spouse’s relationship with a “friend?”

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

The closer you get to the finish line the harder it gets.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Resistance takes its toll on writing.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Every project starts out with high hopes and expectations. It seems to be some perverse law of nature that the longer you work on something, the harder it gets. A lot of people start their project, begin their novel, plan their business venture, maybe they make a start on the project, but it just never gets finished.

It feels as if the burden you carry gets heavier the more work you’ve done on the project. Some of you know I been participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest again this year. This year is the fourth time I tried to write a novel of 50,000 words or more during November. As the month progresses I find it harder and harder to write. Some of you may have noticed that I missed last Wednesday’s blog post on my writing adventures. I’ll try to make that up to you regular readers during December and throughout the new year.

Since I began writing counselorssoapbox.com blog on a regular basis, I’ve completed almost 1500 blog posts. I have also written probably ten novels or more, but just couldn’t get them completed and published. The first time I tried to write a novel in November, I couldn’t finish the book.

My NaNoWriMo experience.

Finally, in late 2017 my first two books, Bumps on the Road of Life a nonfiction book about recovering from life’s setbacks and Casino Robbery my first novel in the Arthur Mitchell Mystery series was published. Casino Robbery was written for the 2016 NaNoWriMo contest.

My 2017 NaNoWriMo effort, a book titled Family Secrets is in the editing stage, and I hope to publish it shortly.

This year’s effort a book titled “Planned Accidents” is in its final pages. I put that working title quotations. When I first started the title was “Planning Accidents.” I’ve learned over the years of writing novels that the title which sounded perfect when I started doesn’t fit the book when I finish it. The book published under the title Casino Robbery started out with a working title “Thrift Store.”

Am I going to finish another novel this year?

One reason I’m telling you all about this is that with only a couple of days to go I’m finding it harder and harder to finish the book. At the beginning of November, I was having some 2000 to 4000-word days. In the start, even my slow days were 700 or 800 words. As we approach the final deadline, I’ve had three days of writing 300 words day or less.

One reason I’m throwing this out there to all of you at this point is that by confessing this publicly, it’s going to force me to finish this book before the end of November. If I don’t, I will have to spend the next year listening to people asked me why I didn’t finish my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel.

Resistance tries to prevent you from succeeding.

Resistance takes many forms. Life gets busy, and there are things I absolutely, positively must do. Or at least I tell myself I need to do them. Things I neglected doing all year, suddenly take on new necessity just as I’m getting close to finishing my novel.

Another way resistance manifests itself as the next shiny idea. While I’m writing the second Arthur Mitchell Mystery ideas for the third and fourth in the series have appeared. Not only is my Muse tempting me with two other Arthur Mitchell Mysteries that need writing, but she’s also yelling loudly in my ear that both of these ideas will make better books than the one I’m working on now.

I think Resistance and my Muse are in league. When the Muse first started telling me about the ideas for two more Arthur Mitchell Mysteries I hurriedly scribbled them down and went back to work on this year’s novel, “Planned Accidents.”

As if Resistance hadn’t come up with enough ways to stop the progress of “Planned Accidents” the Muse has begun to torment me the last few days with a fabulous idea for an entirely new series. I won’t tell you the new series idea now as I don’t want to get committed to having to write that series, at least not yet anyway. What I will say is that the Muse tells me I need to abandon my current project and immediately began researching the idea for my next fabulous series.

Despite Resistance’s efforts to prevent my completed this novel I continue to plod forward even though the pace has slowed, and the writing has become more difficult.

Stay tuned. Sometime between Friday, 3 November and next Wednesday, December 5, there will be another blog post, and I’ll let you know my final word count and whether the novel made it across the 50,000-word finish line and is now a candidate for revision and editing.

Whatever you’re working on for 2018, don’t let Resistance stop you from reaching your goal. Are there some projects you should finish in 2018 to clear the slate for your new adventures in 2019?

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How do you get your child help for drug addiction?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Finding help for a child with a mental illness or drug addiction is difficult.

Drugs of addiction

Addiction.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The question of how you get help for a child with a drug addiction, mental illness or alcoholism comes up frequently. Parents contacted me asking this question. Other therapist and counselors contact me looking for a referral to give their clients. The answers to these questions depend on a lot of factors and are never easy. My answer to the question of how to get help for a child typically begins with me asking some questions to gather more information. No one answer is right for everyone.

How old is your child who has the addiction?

If your child is under 18, you theoretically have not only control over the child but also the responsibility to act. Getting help for a child under 18 often is a parenting question. How do you get your child to go to school? Or how do you get your child to go to bed at night or eat their broccoli? For young children, you use discipline, that mixture of reward and punishment that shapes children’s behavior. Send them for treatment and make sure they go.

What if the child with an addiction is over 18?

I know if you are a parent you never stop thinking of your offspring as your child. The reality of the situation is that once they turn 18, you have very limited options to control their behavior. You may not like the person they want to have children with, the job they choose or the chemicals they select to put into their bodies. Once they turn 18, you can only help them if they want to be helped, and even then, you need to be careful about the help you offer.

Does your addicted adult child want help with their addiction?

If the child says no to drug treatment than the only things you can do are hope, pray, and wait for the opportunity to be helpful. The only way adults are forced into drug treatment is by being arrested, and court-ordered into treatment. You can hope that your adult child with an addiction, encounters law enforcement or child protective services and is required to get drug treatment. Trying to force this by calling the police on your child is likely to backfire causing them to sever their relationship with you and maybe delaying them getting into treatment.

You should avoid enabling your adult addicted child to continue using.

A lot of parents offer their children with an addiction all kinds of help. You might let them live with you until they steal things to sell for drug money. You might feed them or pay their rent. Anything you do financially to help them carries the risk that it just frees up more money for them to use to support their drug habit.

Should you pay for your adult child to go into rehab?

Addiction is characterized by being a chronic, relapsing, and often fatal disease. One episode in rehab may not result in arresting the disease of addiction. I’ve seen families spend everything they have putting an adult addicted child into rehab only to have them walk out of treatment early or relapse shortly after the treatment episode. If you have lots of money, sending them to a month-long rehab at the beach may be an option. But think of how many famous people have gone through repeated expensive episodes of rehab.

If you do decide to pay for your child’s rehab, spend the smallest amount possible because you’re likely to have to do it more than once. If your adult child has medical insurance, have them contact their insurance carrier.

Remember that even if you write the check to the rehab facility your child is an adult child, and that facility can’t tell you anything without your child’s permission. It can be very frustrating to parents whose child has an addiction to find that because of confidentiality the treatment provider can’t tell you anything even after you paid for treatment. Even if you get your child to sign a consent to release information form, at any moment they can revoke that release.

What resources are available if your adult addicted child says they want help?

The simplest resource to use is self-help groups, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There are meetings in almost every town, and there is no charge for their services.

You can also suggest you adult addicted child contact the local county behavioral health services. They can refer you to agencies which treat addiction in your county. Some of these agencies are low-cost or are funded by the County; others may accept medical insurance or have sliding fee scales.

Some private therapists and counselors specialize in treating clients with co-occurring disorders, both a mental illness and substance use disorder. Individual therapy is likely to be expensive. The therapist must pay for the office, and you’re buying an hour of their time. Going once a week to see a therapist will not result in an end to their addiction if they continue to use drugs between sessions.

Treating addiction is not a short-term process. Because of their using drugs over a long period the brain appears to change its default setting and the brain of the addict will continue to demand drugs long after the substances are out of the body. For most people, recovery from addiction is a long-term process requiring both treatment and the development of a support system which encourages the addict in recovery to stay sober.

What about interventions?

There used to be a lot of interventions. You still see TV shows about interventions. My experience has been that doing interventions has been a lot less effective than we would have hoped. Many people who are addicted refused to go into treatment. This can often lead to angry confrontations and an end to the relationship. For an intervention to work you also need to be able to get the addict into treatment immediately. Even a one-day delay can result in them changing the mind and not going into treatment. Unless you can pay for the treatment privately or are paying for their medical insurance you may not be able to reserve a bed in a rehab facility for an adult child.

So, what is your best option for getting an adult addicted child into treatment? Have an honest talk with them. Offer to be emotionally supportive but don’t enable their continued drug use. Expect to have to be patient until they are ready to go for treatment. A first step in the direction of recovery may be to agree to go with them to a 12-step self-help group.

I hope that it answered some of the questions. Feel free to leave a comment or use the contact me form if you’d like more information.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

The one absolute rule for writing a book.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

It’s not a book till you type “The End.”

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The process of writing a book is a lot like running a marathon. Beginning runners spend a lot of time training. Lots of people talk about someday running a marathon, but the number of people who finish one is much smaller. An immense quantity of manuscripts never become books.

No matter what you are telling yourself, that thing you’re calling your book, it will never be a book until you get done writing it. I know this firsthand. Stored away in my digital attic are scads of unfinished manuscripts. So far none of them have turned into books. They never will unless I take that big step and finish them. No matter what you have been told, the essential step in writing a book is starting at the beginning and writing all the way to the end. Do whatever you have to do to reach the end.

There are lots of abandon partial books in drawers.

Everyone who aspires to become a writer probably has many writing projects sitting in drawers or in digital storage. For some of those manuscripts that’s a good thing. If a writing project doesn’t work out, you may be better off abandoning it.

There’s a world of difference between writing and being a writer. Writers finish things. In my mind, I also distinguish writers and authors. Authors send their works out into the world like children who, for better or worse, have grown up and need to make it on their own. Authors publish what they write.

I made the transition from writer to author when I push that publish button for my first blog post. It has given me a great deal of enjoyment to see three of my books so far released. I elected to self-publish. Eventually, I want to write about my decision to become an indie author rather than submit my books to a traditional legacy publisher.

It’s possible my writing would have gotten better by taking the time to learn to submit to traditional publishers and go through that process. The best part about the indie route is I got to physically hold my book in my hand, rather than wonder if my descendants will get to do that after I’m gone.

Being perfect is the enemy of a finished book.

Trying to make something perfect can get in the way of ever finishing the project. Every semester I assign my students the task of writing a paper. As beginning students, I don’t expect any of these papers to be masterpieces, though some are remarkably well done. Unfortunately, each semester some students keep revising their papers but never turn them in. A few students turn them in late, and others don’t turn them in at all. Most of them would’ve gotten better grades if they had turned their report in on time, perfect or not.

It’s possible that the books I’ve written would’ve been better had I rewritten them several more times, but the risk was that I would never move on and begin work on the next book. So far, those people who have left me reviews have been positive about my efforts.

Even if your book is not perfect, eventually you must send your children out into the world to make it on their own.

It requires more than one date to create a relationship.

When I first started writing, I thought I could produce a passable result the first time. The result was that my early blog posts, written late at night and published immediately, contained a lot more errors than I would’ve liked.

I’ve learned that no matter how happy I am with something I write, it needs to sit for a while and then I need to reread it and make corrections. Occasionally someone falls in love at first sight, that’s usually more lust at first sight, but the odds of a good relationship are a lot better if you get to know the person first. Spending additional time on your writing project makes them better.

That first draft was probably awful.

Each successive book I’ve written has required more drafts. I think that’s a good thing. The first draft, sometimes called the down-draft, is a result of you trying to get the story all down on paper. If you attempt to edit it too much as you write, you’ll never get to the end. You can’t start the second draft until you finish the first. Each successive version should get better. In the second draft, you fix big, glaring problems. Later drafts involve smaller and smaller polishing efforts. Unfortunately, every draft also includes discovering some additional typos and spelling mistakes.

Whatever you’re trying to write, the absolute rule must be, finished that piece you’re working on. Thanks for letting me share a part of my writing journey with you. Next week another segment of my writing experience.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.