How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
TherapistMarryAnn is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am wondering if someone could give some direction on a

This answer was rated:

I am wondering if someone could give some direction on a situation my fiance and I are going through.
Background: My fiance found out last year that his 10 year old son (Erik) is not his biological son from his ex-wife. She has since revealed who the biological father is both to my fiance and their son. As far as we know, the biological father does not have interest in being involved in his life. My fiance does wish to and has continued his relationship with his son. Erik did go through about 3 counseling sessions with his mom but never discussed the information that he received regarding his father but rather talked about his fears of being kidnapped, thunderstorms, none of which seemed to relate to his reason for going to counseling, but perhaps it did in a round about way? He has stopped going to counseling as his mother is going to leave it up to Erik to decide when he feels he needs another appointment. Erik has now been asking several questions of my fiance, that he is unable to answer as he simply does not know. Erik's behavior has also been somewhat moody and disrepectful lately and he at times seems very withdrawn. My fiance would like to have him go back into counseling on a regular basis. The previous counselor Erik was seeing was the same counselor that his mom was also seeing (she preferred this as the counselor knew background information, my fiance was in agreement with that). My fiance now thinks maybe he should start "fresh" with someone new but isn't sure if that is such a great idea? If so, he isn't really sure what type of professional to seek? His EAP gave him about 5 names of proffessionals who are all either "social workers" or "master level counselors" but he does not know what the difference is between the 2. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your fiance's son is acting very normally in response to such a big shock. To just discover that the man he knew as his father his whole life is not really his biological father has to be overwhelming. The reaction you described Erik having sounds within bounds of normal mental health behavior. His fears of thunderstorms and being kidnapped are exactly what you thought, round about ways of coping with what he is feeling. His world has been altered and he is probably feeling insecure, fearful and unsettled. So instead of dealing with the situation head on, he is transferring it to things like storms.

I agree with you and your fiance that Erik needs to talk to a therapist. This revelation is a lot for anyone to handle. A professional can help guide him through so he learns to express his emotions about this appropriately and help him to focus on the situation and not to develop fears over other things.

Erik can see any therapist that has either a Master's degree or a Ph.D. A Master's level therapist will have either M.Ed (such as I do), MA, MSW or LSW after their names. Some have additional licenses, either national or state level. The type of degree tells you what the therapist is trained in. For example, I have a M.Ed which is a Master's in Counseling. An MA has a Master's in psychology theory and a MSW/LSW has a Master's in social work which is the study of family and social systems. A PhD is someone who has a doctorate in those fields, mostly counseling and education.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in mental health related medications. Unless Erik is having trouble with his daily activities and his feelings are too overwhelming for him to cope, he most likely does not need medication.

Any of the above can do an evaluation on your fiance's son and provide therapy. You may also want to consider searching specifically for a child therapist, though all therapists do have training in children and adolescent therapy. Another source to help you find a therapist is Erik's pediatrician or you can search on line at or

Let me know if I can help in any other way.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you