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Parents Say Therapists Don’t Have Enough Training To Adequately Assist Adopted Children

By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A recent report by The Donaldson Adoption Institute indicates one of the most common complaints the parents of an adopted child or the adoptee him or herself have is the difficulty in finding a psychologist/psychiatrist or social worker schooled in the many nuances of an adoption situation. Two local experts have some advice.

Professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical College and Nemours Senior Health Psychologist William Douglas Tynan isn’t surprised.

“Unless they participate in that in training or attend special lectures, it’s not going to be covered in mental health.”

Dr. Virginia Brabender (photo provided)

Dr. Virginia Brabender (photo provided)

Professor in Widener’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology and author of “Working With Adoptive Parents” Dr. Virginia Brabender agrees. And there are times in the life of an adoptee where they may need support a common homework assignment in grade school is assembling a family tree, which can make the child uncomfortable.

“In adolescence, when the child is beginning to form their identity, the adopted child if he or she was raised with little contact with their birth parents, may initiate a search.”

Braebender says there are many unique needs of adoptees and their families that are not being addressed because of the limited training mental health professionals receive.

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