It is recommended for those persons seeking separation related therapy that they seek out adoption competent practitioners. Otherwise, an effort to address the wounds created by relinquishment – whether into an adoptive family or foster care – may cause more harm than do any good.
Many conventional therapists accept the “adoption is amazing” mentality and have not researched or studied the deep unconscious wounds that such persons have suffered. One adoptee describes her personal experience this way – “I saw a therapist who shut down (and shut me down) any time I mentioned the trauma I had experienced in relation to adoption — both my own and that of my children. I wound up leaving therapy and haven’t gone back since.”
This is a personality based outcome – the therapist’s personality. Another describes her good experience this way – her therapist was “absolutely amazing and had no experience in adoption at all, but she chose to research and learn. I can’t thank her enough for helping me through some horrendous PTSD adoption memories. It honestly all depends on the therapist and which ones are more likely to open to the reality or not.”
Those adopted in infancy are likely to experience pre-verbal trauma. This is trauma that happened before the adoptee could speak/comprehend language. This is trauma held in the body but the sufferer is not able to verbalize the memories / put this into words – even as an adult – because their brain was not developed enough at the time the trauma occurred to make sense of the related emotions.
Some adoptees are diagnosed as ADD when they are actually PTSD and medicated as children. This solution merely puts a band aid on the problem.
One horror story conveyed by an adoptee went this way – “I had a psychiatrist who locked me in a room, in the child psych ward with no interaction with anyone in order to ‘break’ me and force me to talk to him. Didn’t work. Further isolation of someone who already feels isolated.”
So one suggestion is to look for a therapist trained in trauma. The truth is there isn’t one universal “type” of adoptee trauma. If you wish to seek therapy, look for someone you connect with, that you feel heard by. Someone who is open-minded will be more effective than someone who shares your view of adoption. A good therapist will not allow their previous biases/perceptions to impact giving you solid therapy.