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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My son was in the Marines. When he was deployed at a young

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My son was in the Marines. When he was deployed at a young age he saw and did many unthinkable things. He came home married a girl he dated for four years(without telling his family)...after three months she announces she wants a divorce because she pragnant from another man. We knew war changed him but after the divorce situation he started drinking and doing a thing called robo tripping. Then he started cutting himself, posting and saying strange things. He even video taped himself cutting. He lies compulsively, does not budget money, constantly talks about how everyone or organization has screwed him over..etc. The Marines gave him a honorable discharge and labeled him borderline personality disorder and mildly schizophrenic. Now what....he is on his way home, says he wants help but I don't know. We have other children in our house.....how do I help him, I am scared and lost!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I would probably not recommend that he come home to live with you, given that you have other children----who are your primary responsibility due to their age and emotional dependency. I would explain to him that he needs to secure employment and use the GI bill to go back to school, and VA benefits to obtain medical and psychological assistance. I would try to explain to him that you cannot take on his responsibilities by providing him with room and board and but that you want to provide emotional support. I would at least let him generate a list of specific kinds of support, things he'd like you to do for him to show support, and then don't promise him anything right away. Take a few hours or a day or two think things over but especially, you will be planning the expectations and counter-requests you will offer in return. For example, you can explain that you will attend AlAnon to help understand his problems if he will go to AA regularly. If he does XYZ first, you will react or respond by helping or supporting these actions by some constructive response. I don't know what benefits he has coming from the government for his military service, but you might tell him that you can help him secure vocational training---and if he has a clear plan in place you might be able to help in terms of buying some of his books on Amazon for him. The very firm strategy you need to follow is to make sure that every bit of help you offer is contingent upon him doing one or more things FIRST and showing initiative i.e., if you can show that you are doing XYZ. If you offer resources based on promised behavior or intention, you will be 'bled dry' with regard to your emotional and personal resources and his behavior isn't likely to change. Now, if you are debating whether to have him come live with you, I would NOT do this unless you had some joint counseling or therapy together so you could work out a clear set of expectations, a kind of behavioral contract with him regarding his responsibilities and rules for living at home---yes, he is a guest in your home and he should pay rent, do chores or meet other expectation i.e., no consumption of alcohol, no staying out all night, etc. So what do you want to do or what are you prepared to do to help? And, do you understand why I'm recommending that you take your time and plan out your help---making it strictly contingent on his behavior, improvement, initiative, etc. That is, I want you to think about everything you do as providing a congratulatory gesture, always occurring after he does something positive, never before, and never based on his intentions or promises. What do you think?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I do understand. I also know I have to set those boundaries, we have already had issues. He just walked in the door. Do you have any suggestions as to what type of therapy he needs to look into? We own a business and for now he will work for us, as long as he is in therapy.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
He would benefit from both individual therapy with a male clinical or counseling psychologist----someone who practices either cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy or dialectical behavior therapy----all of these have good empirical support for males with the sorts of problems you describe. Also, he really needs to be in AA if he is drinking excessively. You could offer to go to some sessions with him, under the rationale that you want to make sure you act in ways that are helpful to him, and not undermine his progress by reacting the wrong way or saying or doing the wrong thing.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if i have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
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