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Who, What, When, Where, and Why- Adoption Counseling

January 28, 2011

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write an article about how to know when you or your child may benefit from adoption counseling, as well as what to look for when trying to find an adoption competent therapist. Then I stumbled across a series of articles on Carol Lozier, LCSW’s blog, In My Child’s World. Carol has graciously allowed me to repost her series here on my blog.

Carol Lozier, LCSW is a foster and adopted child therapist who shares her practical strategies, guidance, and support to parents.

Is this Normal or is this Adoption or Foster Care Related?

As a parent it helps to have resources that clearly define average child behaviors.  One such resource are the books written by child psychologist Dr. Louise Bates Ames.  Dr. Ames was a pioneer in the studies of child development and co-wrote the series, “Your One Year Old.”  The books are written by year and begin with age one and end with a book which includes ages ten through fourteen.  Each of the books provide information about general characteristics, relationships, routines, tensional outlets and abilities for the age.

Dr. Ames also co-authored “Child Behavior” which informs us that every child goes through smooth and bumpy times throughout childhood.  In bumpy times children seem more distracted, easily upset and fussy, and more negative in their outlook.  In smoother times, they are easy-going, positive, more focused and overall, just easier to get along with.

With that in mind, how do you tell if a behavior is adoption related?…..Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

Does My Child Need to Work on These “Issues”? Will Therapy Help?

First and foremost, there are some obvious situations and behaviors that need professional therapeutic intervention and the list includes: self cutting; aggressive, threatening behavior; sexual acting out; suicidal or homicidal thoughts, comments, gestures or behaviors; a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse; a history of trauma; and depression, anxiety or other disorders that interfere with normal, day to day functioning.

Otherwise, behaviors usually fall into the category of “all kids do it.”  And while all kids make mistakes and bad choices from time to time, if your child is having difficulties in the following situations, it may need to be addressed either by you or by a professional therapist.  On the continuum of misbehavior, one end is acting out and the other is shutting down; and these behaviors can occur in various settings such as: home, school, church, or other environments…..Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

Differences Between An Adoption or Foster Therapist and A General Therapist

I want to emphasize how important it is to find the right therapist for your child and family.  A therapist who specializes with adopted and foster children is different than a general practice therapist.  For an adoption therapist to be effective she must have training and knowledge in the areas of: the lifelong issues of adoption, attachment, trauma, child behavior, and child and family therapy.  Let’s take a further look at each of these.

Deborah Silverstein and Sharon Roszia identified the Seven Core Issues of Adoption.  An adoption therapist must understand these issues to help the child manage the resulting challenges as they grow and mature.  The lifelong issues of adoption include: rejection, grief, control, intimacy, guilt and shame, loss and identity.

In traditional child or adolescent therapy, the therapist meets alone with the child and then at a separate time with the parents.  In therapy with an adoptive or foster family, the adoption therapist utilizes a family therapy approach and meets with the parents and child together……Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

Selecting an Adoption Therapist for Your Foster or Adopted Child

Some parents start counseling as soon as their child comes home while for other families the need may not arise until a later time, such as adolescence.  Finding the right therapist can be a challenging task especially if a parent is not familiar with the counseling field.  This post gives parents direction on choosing the right adoption counselor for their child.  There are many factors to consider from insurance and office location, to the therapist’s degree and training.  Any reputable therapist will be happy to answer questions about themselves and their practice.  Some questions to ask the prospective therapist include…..Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

Many thanks to Carol for this succinct, thorough, and ‘spot-on’ advice about knowing when to seek help and how to find it.


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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin and Bastrop Texas specializing in adoption and attachment.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 12:52 pm

    This was fantastic information. I know lots of adopted kids, lots of drama, but had never really considered how the therapist really needs to be a specialist in this world!

    • January 29, 2011 8:36 am

      Thanks Elizabeth- Yes, Carol did a great job summarizing all the important reasons it’s important to have a therapist who specializes in adoption. It’s easy to look at a child’s behaviors and label it one thing, when it really might be related to adoption or attachment. Thanks for commenting!

  2. January 28, 2011 4:57 pm

    A lot of really good information Robyn. A lot of people don’t understand how complicated it can be to go through the adoption process (both before and after). It’s really important that families find someone who understands the issues from the parent, siblings, and adopted child’s perspective.

  3. January 29, 2011 8:41 am

    Hi Robin,
    What is normal behavior and what is not, is a question I often hear.
    Greta advice for all parents!

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