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Dr John B
Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience:  PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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My child is cutting herself I dont know what to do

Resolved Question:

My child is cutting herself I don't know what to do
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

I'm very sorry to hear of the situation. How old is she? What kind of doctor is she seeing tomorrow? Has she previously been assessed? If so, by who and what was the diagnosis? How long has this been happening for? Has she by chance been the victim of a significant trauma?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is 21 she is seeing. A psychologist she told us since grade ten she has had a sad child hood we have the gene tp53 which is a breast caner gene So when she was little we lost my mum who I nursed and my sister Ann who she loved very much Ann and I spent everyday together I nursed her to which she saw the pain then my younger sister had cancer at 21 had a breast off which I looked after her while she had treatment then four years ago it came backhand she died I nursed her at home so she saw all the pain now we are raising her to boys which one was a twin who died at thirteen months got burned nursed Gail through that she saw the pain there ALS her father when she was year six had heart attack we had to go to Brisbane had to leave her with husbands mother her father he's had two heart failures since then
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.
Ok, thanks for the extra information. It certainly sounds like she has had a difficult time over the years. Will this be the first time she sees the Psychologist?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes but my biggest worry is we live in a small town I want the best for her and over the years the doctors haven't been to good with the cancer how do I know if he is good
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.

Ok, well you can assess his competence a few ways. Firstly, check that he is a registered Clinical Psychologist through AHPRA here http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx. Self harming/cutting is certainly a clinical problem and it is important that he is a Clinical Psychologist and not a Counseling Psychologist. Secondly, ask him about his experience with assessing and treating self harming. Self harming is usually associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - a set of difficulties that sometimes develop in people who experience significant trauma/loss during their child and teenage years. If he diagnoses BPD then it is important that he has specific experience in treating BPD. The recommended treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and this requires specific training. If he isn't trained in DBT or doesn't have experience in treating BPD then you may wish to consider asking for a referral to someone more experienced. Thirdly, raise your concern with him directly. It is very reasonable for you to discuss this matter and you should at some stage ask him if he believes he is the right person to be treating your daughter. Psychologists are required to be aware of their professional limitations and not practice outside these. If he is a professional person he will quickly acknowledge any potential limitation and discuss an alternative with you. Lastly, you may wish to consider how many years he has been working since becoming a registered Clin. Psych. In my opinion (and as a very general statement) Clinical Psychologists usually begin to develop real expertise after about 10 years practice. There are of course exceptions to his but it you may wish to consider this as well.

I should note here that I am in no way saying your daughter has BPD as I haven't assessed her. I'm just offering BPD as an example and if he diagnoses a different problem then you should directly query his training and experience relative to his diagnosis.

I hope this has been of some help. Please let me know if you have further questions or would like me to clarify any part of my answer.

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