Mother Blame
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Reported by Leanne Rondeau
October 20, 2000

Recently I've attended a Human Rights Conference in Mass. which was sponsored by Dept. of Mental Health
(DMH).The opening remarks were from the Mass. DMH, Director of Human Rights and by the Commissioner of
DMH.They discussed some legislation that is in the works and some that have been passed but not yet law..

The keynote speaker was Paula Caplan,author of "Don't Blame Mother".Paula Caplan has researched the history of
"mother-blame" and discussed her findings and her experiences. She addressed questions such as: How does
mother-blame affect the lives of clients?, What are the consequences of mother-blame?, How is mother-blame a
human rights issue?, How can understandingthe history of mother-blame help us to change the relationships in
healthy ways?, What are the human rights implications?, How can this understanding enhance and deepen
relationships between mothers and children?

As Paula Caplan was speaking I kept thinking of how my relationship is with my mom.Luckily we have a good
relationship and I don't blame her for any of my problems.I do remember as a teenager I blamed everything on
her.As I got older that changed.My sister and I were discussing her and my sister who praises my dad was talking
about how my dad would blame my mom for anything us kids would do as kids,as if she would have allowed us to
get into trouble we did like skipping school,stealing a beer from my dad,coming home late from curfew and other
things teenagers do.If my mom didn't know we were doing them, how in the world can she be blamed for them.

The book is geared towards mothers and daughters.The front cover says:Avoid the blame-game ; Break down
the emotional barriers ; Build a strong and loving relationship ; Mending the mother-daughter
The back cover says: Too often mothers are given all the blame for our problems.Paula Caplan shows us we've
got it all worng.In this new edition of her classic work, now fully updated and with a new introduction.Paula
Caplan reveals the true causes of the anguish between mothers and daughters and shows how they can
reevaluate the barriers between them to gain a new appreciation of each other and their relationship.With
compassionate advice and moving personal stories,Caplan shows us we can come to more fully love and accept
each other and ourselves."The New Don't Blame Mother" will explain how mothers and daughters can become allies
and,at best,find the love they have last and create new possibilities for caring about each other.Her credentials
are-Paula J. Caplan,Ph.D., a clinical research psychologist, is an Affiliated Scholar at the Pembroke Center for
Research and Teaching on Women at Brown University. Her work has been featured widely including on "The
Today Show" and "Oprah" and other television shows, and in "USA Today" and "Psychology Today".She is the
author of "They say You're Crazy: How the worlds most powerful Psychiatrists decide whose normal" and "The
Myth of Women's Masochism".

After the conference was over,my sister and I were talking with Paula Caplan.We bought "Don't Blame Mother"
and "The Myth of Women's Masochism". She was autographing books and every book she put "In SisterHood".Her
speech could of lasted longer.She really had everyone captivated.Listening to her was well worth the fee of the
conference.I would gladly listen to her again.

All the workshops I attended were for Children/Adolescents issues.They all were very informative to Mass.
statutes and laws.Exactly whats available in Mass. and to get in some programs what it takes and then once in
whats expected of the client,parent and/or guardian.

The discussion focused on the difficulties of choosing an appropriate psychiatric medication.Also discussed the
definition of Informed Consent and the DMH policy on informed consent for children and adolescents.Reviewed
areas of controversy and contrast a good and poor Informed Consent process.
The presenter was Ward Bein,MD, Medical Director,Adolescent Unit,Taunton State Hospital in Mass.
Dr Bein's philosophy is to "Put your $ and your time where your heart is".

During discussions with the clinician,they will determine if client or parent is competent to give informed
consent.If its deemed that the client and parent is not competent, a guardian will be given to the client.In order
to get guardianship,anyone can take parents to court to prove parents are not competent and to get
guardianship.The guardian will make decisions that are in the best interest of the client.All children must be
provided with a competent person.
If a child reaches 18 and is not competent,a parent,clinician can go to court to obtain guardianship until client is
deemed competent.The guardian can be anyone who is looking out for the best interests of the client.
Ages 16-18 Mature Minor Rule-It allows clinicians to determine if client is competent enough to make own
decisions.If the client is declared competent,they may make any decisions in their treatment as long as they
aren't in harm of themselves.They may put themselves in hospital,discharge themselves.The client must meet
certain criteriers as determined in your state.

Therapeutic Alliance-Teaches children/adolescents with age appropriate material,ways to seek treatment,to
recieve treatment,what the treatment and options arethats available,what the illness consists of.
A partnership should be allowed between the client,the parent and clinician.It should consist of an open dialogue
between all concerned parties.Any and all subjects are open for discussion to help the client.
Differences between privacy and confidentiality-
Privacy-Parent and client has the right to privacy.
Confidentiality-Parent and client has the privilege for confidentiality

Poor Informed Consent-There are no discussions allowed by clinician.You are just given paperwork to sign.No
chance of any dialogue.You are expected to go along with whatever clinician wants to do with client.
Good Informed Consent-The clinician discusses every aspect of clients treatment.Will discuss any options that are
available or that may be available in the future.Clinician will give or let you know what reading materials would be
helpful to help client.Any information thats helpful in clients treatment or that will help the family.Not be on a time
limit,will allow as much time as needed for discussions.

Dr.Bein brought in examples of different materials you may see at psychiatric hospitals or through the clinician.The
The form starts out who may sign for treatment for the client if not client him/herself.The material discussed and
put on form are--facts about the client,any treatments done,meds taken,duration of treatment(Not more than 1
yr at a time),desired outcomes,possible changes in meds,any alternative treatments being considered.Theres an
area for each subject to be filled out.The client,parent/guardian initial each part separately.The next section ia
about any materials that were given whether it was verbal or in writing that was given by clinician.A section to
accept or reject the treatment thats being suggested.The final part is for all parties to sign including client.
The client can refuse or revoke consent at any time during treatment.
A MEDICATION INFORMATION FORM-It contains any information that is pertinent to the medication.It contains
what the use is for,side effects and risks.When meds should and should not be taken.Also who med had been
approved for.The example he brought in was for zyprexa.It contained almost any info thats needed to make an
Informed Consent.

Different ways to access services in the community for children/adolescents with psychiatric disabilities were
discussed.Specifically,eligibility for services through DMH and local school districts.
Most of the programs discussed were located towards Boston,Mass.If anyone is interested in any of the programs
let me know and I'll forward the information to you.The programs were called "YouthCare".The website address is
E-Mail address is
Phone number is (617)724-8241

website address is--
For more info contact Laura Irvine at (617)774-6031.I did ask if these programs were else where in Mass. but
they are not.

The last workshop I attended was about basic civil rights for children/adolescents.We were given copies of the
rights that pertain to children/adolescents.Most of the rights are common knowledge.The rights pertain to Mass.
laws and statutes.If anyone in Mass. needs to know statutes I can let you know what information you need to
I was also given a copy of the HUMAN RIGHTS HANDBOOK.It also contains the Mass. laws and statutes but I'm
sure the info pertains to any state in the United States.

toll-free in Massachusetts

The OCER information and referral specialist,Pamela Mason, can provide basic information and/or refer you to the
appropriate agency, organization or DMHpersonnel regarding access to services, self-help and empowerment
groups, legal resources, human rights issues, complaints,family support,social security and housing.

They also offer access to library resources including books,articles and videos pertaining to mental health issues.

OCER is open during regular business hours,9 am to 5 pm, monday through friday.

All calls are confidential.They are not an emergency service.

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