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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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Granddaughter, in NC, turned 15 last week is drinking, smoking, having

Customer Question

Granddaughter, in NC, turned 15 last week is drinking, smoking, having sex, sneaking out at night, stealing, smoking pot, maybe taking other drugs, lying. The police have picked her up several times when my daughter has called them. She is in intensive counseling and in a school for teens with behavior problems. She needs a jump start in a counseling facility. Do you recommend any? Her brother (senior in high school) is embarrassed, and angry. Wants to leave home. Worries about his mom (single) who cries herself to sleep every night.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I doubt any jump start will work. If it did, insurance would pay for it. Certainly you may try a program of your choice, but I suspect it will do more to alleviate your guilt that you cannot do anything and tried everything. She is actually getting a lot of services now. If you want to help, get help for brother to help him cope.

Customer: I was really hoping to get some help for my granddaughter--at least some direction for her. Intensive home therapy doesn't seem to be working. It sounds as tho you're saying there's no hope for her. Just throw her under the bus and go on with life. I know there are facilities for troubled teens. Are you saying they don't work? What about teen challenge? It's a year to eighteen monhs How about a wilderness program? My concern about the short-term programs is that they won't be long enough to change her brain synapses. I think her brother would be fine if SHE gets help.
Customer: Aren't you guys working with Dr. Phil? Do you think he would say nothing will work?
Dr. Ed Wilfong :

We have no association with Dr. Phil. NONE.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

You could petition the court as her being out of control.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Just "jump starting" for teens seldom works.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I have no recommendations for specific facilities but look up "Residential Treatment Center" in Google. Southern California and Utah.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I wasn't suggesting you throw her under the bus but she is getting an impressive amount of services now.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I would recommend a comprehensive evaluation by an independant psychologist.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Sorry I came off harsh.

Customer: Wow! I had gone to Dr. Phil's website and actually thought I was writing to him ( or his people ). I,of course, like to think that (and some residential facilities claim) there is more help in those facilities than in-home therapy. I'm disappointed that you don't agree. I will accept your response even tho I had hoped for more.
Dr. Ed Wilfong :

We have no connection with doctor Phil, who is credentialed to do nothing. Be glad. I wish residential treatment was more effective. When I was in early career, RTC's were in favor. The research did not bear out effectiveness. Much of the reason is they are a "captive audience" so when they are released, they go back to same environment. Treatment has been found to work best when delivered in setting close to home environments. RTCs also make claims with no Data, so it is very hard to evaluate individual facilities. I am not say nothing will work, just that there aren't really "jump starts" for this. You are certainly welcome to get literature and evaluate on own. If you want me to look at at specific site, I will be glad to do you that courtesy. Much of the problem is she clearly has biological issues (with ADHD, depression). Most RTC's are lucky if they provide 1 hour of group therapy and 15 minutes of psychiatry time.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I like adolescents. I recently applied to a residential school in Idaho. It seemed nice. It cost 70K per year to send kid and any therapy was additional cost. I withdrew after I discovered how much they lied to me about job. I am still concerned about her brother. And she needs good psychiatrist. She has a conduct disorder and neurological problems - a tough thing to treat. I hope you get lucky with finding help

Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 5 years ago.
The facilities do work for some people, just not great odds. Sorry to be so blunt.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She has been accepted to a Baptist Children's Home in NC. If nothing else it will give her mom and brother a much needed break. At least we know shel'll be safe. We'll pray they don't kick her out and she will be the exception and actually get some much needed help.
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 5 years ago.
I wish her the best and I agree, the family can use a break. Sorry such a late reply, I had injury and was at hospital all day. I hope I wasn't to harsh, but I hate to see anyone ripped off. I hope the home in NC is a good place for her.

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