Anatomy of a Failed Counseling Session

  I get a LOT of questions like this one through my website. I'll bet a lot of folks have been in this exact same situation: "I took my child to a counselor and was told after one visit that there was nothing wrong with him. I was totally frustrated about the whole thing. Why would a counselor say this? " First of all, most difficult and challenging youngsters are sharp enough to know when, where, and how to use their "Sunday behavior." They can turn on the charm and make everything look like there's no problem at all, or that it's everyone else's fault. They are good at it. ("Sunday behavior" is not entirely a bad skill, but it can be used in self-serving ways that can put off intervention.) Secondly, this professional is not a component of the compliance problem; the counselor or therapist doesn't have to raise or teach the child. To a good and experienced counselor, this "distance" from the issues can be an advantage. It pr