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AgapeDoc
AgapeDoc, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. I have worked

Resolved Question:

I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. I have worked with this 4-year-old girl off and on since she was age 2 (consistently for the past year or so). Primary referral concern was that she would not separate from Great-grandmother who has raised her from birth. Closely related issue was frequent and prolonged tantrums, especially if "Mommy" was out of sight...or not interacting with her constantly. What seems to have emerged now is that Mommy will not allow the girl to leave the house unless she or another family member is with her. Previously, the girl would cry and not want to leave. However, now service providers have witnessed Mommy discouraging the girl from leaving even when she wants to. To some extent, Mommy has acknowledged that the girl is her responsibility, and she needs to be in the home with her. Mostly, she doesn't object to caretakers coming into the home to work with the girl, but she doesn't want them to take her out of the home.

Could this be a form of Munchhausen's by Proxy?

Thank you,
Emily Oe, LCPC
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  AgapeDoc replied 6 years ago.

AgapeDoc :

Hello there, I'm glad you contacted me here at Just Answer. Let me see if I can help at all...

Customer:

Okay!

Customer:

Am I supposed to be doing something else to facilitate this chat?

AgapeDoc :

I am going back and forth right now - my first reaction is a definite YES.

AgapeDoc :

Not about facilitating the chat, but a YES about your dianosis.

AgapeDoc :

I was trying to come up with something else and I am speaking with another psychologist as I type.

AgapeDoc :

OK.... we both agree that your diagnosis is correct. The mom is interfering with the "health" of her own child, and is making herself the center of solution as it were.

Customer:

Altogether this extended family is very dysfunctional. Sad to say, this great-grandmother is probably the healthiest family placement for the child! I have not reported my concerns to Child Protective Services because I don't know if the current living situation is still the best for the child.

AgapeDoc :

Very sad indeed and we know what it's like. I don't know about the laws in your state, but in my state we are mandated to report and then Child Protective Services make the decision about what is best.

Customer:

Another indication of Munchhausen's might be great-grandmother buying new clothes for this girl...sometimes daily. Great-grandmother did comment to a service provider one day that when she was working she had a lot of pretty clothes, small feet, and beautiful shoes. Now, she spends much of her day in a robe and doesn't leave the house much other than for appointments.

Customer:

What can be done to help the great-grandmother recognize the issue and get help?

AgapeDoc :

Certainly another concern and possible indicator of abuse.

AgapeDoc :

My guess is you are doing that - that is to say you are showing her in a way a therapist would :) The question is "does she get it" Sometimes they just don't get it in spite of our best efforts.

Customer:

So, it seems like my next step is to contact Child Protective Services if great-grandmother still refuses to allow the child to go outside the home for services.

Customer:

I guess I don't have any more questions...I thought this might be an accurate diagnosis, but needed some other professional confirmation. Thank you.

AgapeDoc :

Sadly that is what I was just thinking. As I said, we have to realize that we can't always "fix" or even make the progress that we try for. In spite of our best efforts, some folks choose to remain mired in their dysfunctional situations.

AgapeDoc :

You're welcome, I wish all the best. Let me know how it goes.

Customer:

How do I respond to you with more information about the case?

AgapeDoc :

Frankly, I'm not 100% positive. There is some way from your end to post a question and request a specific "expert". I've not done it from that end, but I think the folks at Just Answer wouldn't make it too hard - they seem to know what they are doing.

Customer:

Okay...thank you.

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