You are facing the reality that so many family members face, when they have a loved one with a mental disorder. Neither you nor they can force a loved one to get help. In fact, by and large, the mental health community cannot force an individual to get therapy or take medication. As you are probably well aware, only in the most extreme examples of attempted suicidal or homicidal behavior or similar ideation, can someone be hospitalized against their will.
Your daughter has refused treatment since she was nine years old. According to your letter she is now in therapy but is refusing to speak to her therapist, which is in itself a good example of “refusing treatment.” Many times individuals will submit to the requests of their loved ones to begin therapy. It appeases the requesters and makes the life of the troubled individual, easier. However the troubled individual has merely acquiesced to the notion of seeing a therapist but has no intention whatsoever of actually attempting to get help from the therapist. They instead will go there and say nothing of consequence to the therapist or will mislead the therapist with simple deception. Oftentimes, the client will be openly hostile towards the counseling process and the counselor. Sometimes they are polite and well mannered but remain completely secretive about their problems or are deliberately deceptive so as to mislead the therapist and steer him or her away from the real issues and problems.
The only help that I can offer is the suggestion that your daughter try another therapist or 10. Not all therapists are created equal. Some are better than others. Some are exceptional. The one thing that they all hold in common is that they all have very different personalities because they are obviously different people. A different therapist may bring a different skill level but will definitely bring a different personality to the therapy session. Perhaps a different personality will be more appealing to your daughter. I suggested above that it would be wise, if necessary, to try up to 10 different therapists. If economics allow, this is a wise approach for any client to take.
It is also of importance to note that your daughter has been in denial of her mother’s death since the age of nine. She is now about to graduate from high school. Though your daughter has been in denial of your wife’s and her mother’s death, she has progressed through life as evidenced by her upcoming prom and graduation. This raises the question: How much has her denial hurt her? I am not suggesting that her denial has not hurt her. Certainly she is in denial, but just as certainly she is advancing through life and about to graduate high school.
I wish you the best of luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle