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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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Watching Dr. Phil tell parents of their drug addict child

Customer Question

Watching Dr. Phil tell parents of their drug addict child and blame them for being controlled by her "emotional extortion". Easy for him to say. I sold a house out from under my son because he was abusing drugs, not paying utilities - and actually tampered with the utility lines to steal the power. He was not left homeless, He knew we would never let him starve or have no where to live. But my son is dead. He could not cope, and he hung himself. So easy to tell a parent what to do...but he does not have to live with the consequences. My son had a therapist too. In fact he was in hospital within two weeks of his hanging for cutting his wrists. I begged them to keep him there, but they said he was find and let him out. I think a parent knows their child better than anyone. I knew he was not fine. But I could not be with him 24/7. He was 29.  Not sure I am asking a question here.  More expressing frustration.   I guess my question is how do I deal with feeling like I should have been able to do more to help my son?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 6 years ago.

I am sorry about your pain. I am also sorry that the doctors in the hospital did not hear your pleas. Sometimes nobody knows a mother's intuition better than her. Tough love is easy to preach but hard to practice. I think it has been misinterpreted by too many. Love has to come from a loving caring place. The substance abuse movement is moving towards harm reduction. The field is not moving fast enough for me. Now therapists are trained in new methods of therapy that aim to reduce harm to the person and leave their biases behind. Sometimes Dr Phil drives me crazy because he is not a substance abuse specialist but appears very opinionated about the subject. I wish he read a bit more about motivational interviewing and the research around it. I think you did your best to help your son and I am sorry that treatment did not work for him. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and story with everyone it reminds us to take suicide seriously and fight for our clients to be hospitalized when they need it. Sometimes cutters are seeing as low risk, just self-harm or borderline, attention getting behavior, in the hospital, but the reality is they are 2 times as likely to be successful in committing suicide.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks. I think I just wanted to vent more than anything. Thanks for listening. )))
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 6 years ago.
You are wellcome...Thanks for speaking up