Karen Fleming Sherman, MSN, LMFT is a senior family therapist on the faculty of the Family Institute of Westchester. Throughout her three decades of clinical practice she has worked with a number of adoptive families with adopted children, adolescents and young adults. Her practice is in Bedford, N.Y. (northern Westchester County) and she is particularly interested in the treatment model recommended by Northstar Consulting Associates in the case of adopted adolescents.
This model recognizes the need for the adopted adolescent to have her/his own “sanctuary” and privacy for discussing openly, in individual psychotherapy, whatever she/he wishes, without the common anxiety of “hurting their parents.” However, this model calls for the adoptive parent/s to share their own concerns with a different (but also adoption-informed) therapist who can provide couples treatment (or in the case of single parents, individual treatment), but also family sessions when indicated. The treatment plan is closely coordinated between the two therapists, depending on the needs at the time. Generally, at the beginning, it is important for the adoptive parents to meet weekly or alternate-weeks to discuss their concerns, but also to provide details of the adoption process and of their daughter/son’s pre-adoptive history. It is determined, according to the needs of each adoptive family, whether the parents will meet in treatment or in intermittent consultation over time.
Mrs. Sherman welcomes calls from psychotherapists working individually with adopted adolescents (and sometimes young adults) who recognize the need for the adoptive parents’ active involvement in the overall treatment plan.