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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 395
Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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My niece hasnt left the house in several years, and wont

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My niece hasn't left the house in several years, and won't talk on the phone to anyone but her mother (my sister). She lives with my sister and will not see visitors, including relatives; she retreats to her room whenever anyone comes to the house. We had a good relationship while she was growing up, though I didn't see her often (I live in a different state.) She is 28, graduated high school and worked in a movie theatre for a few years, then quit and retreated from the world (she claimed that it just got too hard to be around people). My sister says her daughter has anxiety/panic attacks. All of her high school friends have moved on with life, so she has no friends anymore. She doesn't email or text, but she watches lots of TV, mostly CSPAN and the History Channel. My sister has sent me many pictures over the years of my niece, so I see that she is physically OK and sometimes actually looks happy. Since she won't leave the house but obviously needs psychological help, and my sister has had no success persuading her to see someone (even a regular MD), how can we find a therapist who makes house calls? I'm very worried about this young woman's future if something happens to my sister, since she (my niece) has no other human connections and would not be able to function on her own. Thanks for any advice you can give me. I'm willing to do the legwork involved (and pay for services; she has no insurance) but I need to be pointed in a direction.

pennyrayasMFT :

Hello there and thanks for asking JA

pennyrayasMFT :

It looks like your niece may have agorophobia

pennyrayasMFT :

that is an anxiety disorder

pennyrayasMFT :

she is afraid that something terrible will happen if she leaves her home

pennyrayasMFT :

I suggest that you call or email as many therapist as you can find

pennyrayasMFT :

and ask them if they make house calls

pennyrayasMFT :

tell them about the symptoms and how you believe that you niece needs help

pennyrayasMFT :

You have to know that your niece will have to be willing to recieve therapy

pennyrayasMFT :

or the therapist can't realy see her

pennyrayasMFT :

Anxiety disorders are very treatable

pennyrayasMFT :

she will need therapy and medication

pennyrayasMFT :

maybe her mother can prepare her for the visit

pennyrayasMFT :

The symptoms of agoraphobia include anxiety that one will have a panic attack when in a situation from which escape is not possible or is difficult or embarrassing. The panic attack associated with agoraphobia, like all panic attacks, may involve intense fear.

Customer:

This sounds exactly like what my sister decribes about her daughter -- afraid of being in a situation she can't ecape from 9i think that's why she quit her job0. What kind of therapist would be best? Psychologist, psychiatrist, family therapist. Sounds like she would need meds, can anyone prescribe these, or only a psychiatrist? Any advice about how to prepare? Is there something she could read to get herself ready to face a stranger, or a tape she could watch?

pennyrayasMFT :

She will need a psychiatrist for medication and a therapist for therapy. Find someone who specialises in anxiety disorders and phobias. There is a method that is called exposure therapy that most therapist will use to help her.

pennyrayasMFT :

If there are family issues a family therapist would be the best

pennyrayasMFT :

It may need to involve the whole family in treatment

pennyrayasMFT :

Maybe an intervention by the whole family is needed

pennyrayasMFT :

try treatment and mental health rehab services if she has insurance

pennyrayasMFT :

Staging an interevention is hard but it can be done.

pennyrayasMFT :

you and your sister talk to her about how much you love her and how much you understand this is hard for her

pennyrayasMFT :

you tell her that yu want to help her and believe in her

pennyrayasMFT :

The therapist will provide progressive relaxation techiques

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX a good starting point.

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