Welcome to the blog website of Anne Heffron: writer, mother, adoptee.

Dear Therapists, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists

Dear Therapists, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists

Here's what it sounds like when you (I) decide to pretend you (I) know everything because the status quo is so frustrating that you (I) figure fake authority is better than garbage.


Dear Therapists and Psychologists and Psychiatrists,

I talked to a woman today who had an adult daughter she’d adopted as an infant. The woman told me how the daughter has everything: brains, looks, charm, but how her life never seems to come together. She told me the daughter has been in lots of therapy, but as soon as the therapist is just about to actually get somewhere, the daughter quits.

“I don’t get it,” the woman said. “I don’t understand why they can't fix her."

I nodded. The woman thinks there is somewhere to get with her daughter, some essential problem a therapist or the mother can uncover that will allow the daughter to suddenly thrive and live a completely realized life, but this is why, I believe, it doesn’t tend to work for adoptees to go to therapists who aren’t adopted. The wound of an adoptee isn't something that can be talked closed. It's a body thing. It's a brain thing. It's not a talk thing. And I'm not sure it's something you can fix. I think a more reasonable hope would be that it would be something that could be brought to light.

The therapists don’t have the cellular knowledge of mother abandonment, and so they don’t know what they are doing when they are dealing with those who live out this knowledge. Therapists who aren’t adopted know one world, but adoptees live in another, and most therapists have no idea that this separation of planets exists and that they aren’t even speaking the right language to their clients. All they are doing is smoothing the surface and taking a bunch of cash.

I can look normal. I can go on dates or out with friends and seem very open and friendly and real. People praise me for being authentic. And I am authentic. I am open and friendly and real.

To a point.

But let the conversation go on too long, and I can’t get out of the room or off the phone fast enough. And what’s too long? It’s this feeling that if I keep talking or listening, I’m going to turn to wind and disappear; for those of you who aren’t adopted: it’s that fear state you temporarily have as a child when, watching water swirl down a drain and forgetting that you have a corporeal body, you think there’s nothing to prevent you from swirling down, also.

I think this is where the preverbal memories come into play, because, I would argue, the adoptee’s cellular makeup is different from someone who isn’t adopted since the loss of the mother is the slide down the drain—not the fear of sliding down the drain but the actual sickening loss of control and slide into nothing—and then strangely enough life goes on even though this death thing happened, and for the rest of the adoptee’s life, some part of her brain is trying to figure out how this is possible. How did she both die and live?

And if you’re not adopted, if you didn’t go down the drain, you can’t get it. And so you should ask each of your clients if he or she is adopted, and if the answer is yes, and if you aren’t adopted or at the very least if you haven’t had a LOT of specialized training regarding adoption, you should refer out. You wouldn’t take money to fix a sink if you were a painter, so don’t charge to talk to an adoptee if you don’t know what you are doing.

Thank you for helping to make the world a better place.




Yup. This assuming authority really works. I totally feel better.

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