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Parent Balks After Family Therapist Accuses 11-Year-Old Son Of Being In Gang With Two Best Friends

Photo by Sam Balye/Unsplash

Let’s face it… we all need therapy.

That is a major life lesson.

Life is hard and we need to vent, but to a competent professional.

Finding the right therapist is key.

Case in point…

Redditor Lonely_Passenger_795 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for firing our family therapist after she thought my son was a gangbanger?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I have an 11year old son who had a traumatic event happen a couple of years ago.”

“He didn’t show any signs of being messed up. Actually he was his normal self.”

“With his starting middle school, my ex and I decided to do family therapy with him.”

“To be honest, it was more about his mom but whatever.”

“After six months of therapy, the therapist told us that she was concerned over something my son said.”

“A million things ran through our heads.”

“She tells us that he’s joined a street gang.”

“She said it was hard to believe but the gang had a name and everything.”

“First off, our son is 11 and still plays with action figures.”

“He’s barely 4 and a half feet. We thought it was a joke.”

“She said the name was AND.”

“I sort of lost it and said AND stands for Andrew, Nick and Dashiell.”

“That’s him and his best friends. They use that name when they do co op gaming.”

“I told her that if this is what she got out of months of therapy – our son is a gangster.”

“Then we’re not wasting our time. I told my ex she is free to do it all she wants.”

“Now the therapist is backtracking and insisting that it’s not what she meant and we were making good work together.”

“My ex agreed.”

“She’s not young either. She’s in her 50s.”

“Another thing I overlooked was that my son was never going to open up with a female the way he’d open up with a male.”

“I feel bad about that but next time I’ll be more selective if he needs therapy.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“Lol, usually I’m ready to mouth off at a parent who wants to override the trained therapist, but clearly this therapist person is an idiot.”

“NTA, I wouldn’t put my kid in the hands of an idiot.”  ~ mixy2305

“This. It doesn’t sound like the therapist is listening at all.”

“Who wouldn’t think to ask a young child more details like well who does it consist of and what do you do. “

“Therapist made a huge leap.”  ~ BecausePancakess

OP, fire the therapist and get a new one who understands your background.

“For reference, I’m queer and I will not see a non-queer therapist.”

“I specifically sought out a queer trauma specialist to help me process my many many traumas. “

“She understands things about how I move through the world than a non-queer person just wouldn’t.”

“NTA – and also seriously good on you for standing up for your kid. He’s a child. Period.”

“I love that he named his friend group. “

“My two best friends and I called ourselves the ‘the trouble sisters’ in middle school. “

“Three little nerdy ass band girls. 🤦‍♀️ 🤣” ~ OnlyEliKnows

“NTA. Anyone who doesn’t clarify what a client says before telling their parents their child has joined a street gang is someone who shouldn’t be a therapist.”  ~ NUT-me-SHELL

“Agreed. The therapist clearly isn’t good at her job and is just reaching because she doesn’t want to lose a client. NTA”. ~ KaiserSussy

“Also breaking patient confidentiality.”

“Unless a therapist/psychiatrist is positive that a patient is a danger to themselves or others.”

“They are not allowed to disclose anything to anyone else, regardless of that patient’s age or dependency. “

“And I guarantee you that this nutjob didn’t get the kid’s permission to share delusional conspiracy theories about him with his parents.”

“Sure, being in a street gang would potentially fulfill that requirement.”

“But she clearly didn’t ask the kid any clarifying questions prior to leaping to, ‘STREET GANG!'”

“Otherwise she would’ve known what the acronym stood for and what it actually applied to.”

“I have to think that this ‘conclusion’ was racially motivated in some way because I can’t think of any reason that isn’t ‘racism or bigotry’ that explains why she would’ve immediately assumed that an 11-year-old was 100% involved in a bonafide gang.”

“Regardless, OP should absolutely consider reporting this ‘therapist’ to the appropriate boards/ associations.”

“She seems thoroughly incapable of doing her job at various integral levels.”

“ETA: When I said that OP should report the therapist, it wasn’t strictly due to HIPPA violation. “

“It was also due to the fact that she clearly is not suited towards working in this field since she apparently is not capable of asking basic clarifying questions prior to jumping to the most dramatic conclusions possible.”

“Imagine if someone told her, ‘Sometimes I think about what my life would’ve been like if I’d married a different woman’ in a private family therapy session and she went to that person’s wife and said, ‘Your husband told me he is actively having an affair and wants to divorce you.'”

“Regardless of whether or not that breaks confidentiality, it would still have the potential to ruin those people’s lives based off of nothing except that therapist’s baseless assumptions.”

“Hence why I said that she should be reported regardless.”  ~ DumpstahKat

OP had a more details to share…

“Edit: The therapist was a marriage and family therapist.”

“We did not do therapy afterwards because he had to do invasive interviews with police detectives and forensic psychologists.”

“It was never ending.”

“For clarity, the whole idea of therapy was something his mom wanted to assuage her fears that he was going to have some meltdown as he entered the turbulent puberty years.”

“The therapy was about her. Neither me nor my son were invested in it.”

“He was never going to talk to her or his mom about what happened.”

“If they tried, he’d shut them down. He’s asked me questions and told me things here and there.”

“All it ever came down to was talking about daily stuff because nothing of significance was ever brought up.”

Reddit continued…

“NTA. Not all therapists are good. However you had reasons to start this.”

“I’d suggest to find another one, and gave it a shot.”

“However If a similar story repeats then you will have to wonder why.”

“Some therapists simply are bad, but some children who felt to be forced in therapy just try to twist stories sometimes.”  ~ ghostly_ink

“She was targeting at least part of her therapeutic approach based on a completely, and bizarrely, incorrect assumption.”

“How long has she been assuming that?”

“How long has she been filtering his accounts of interactions with his friends as gang activity?”

“I would not be able to keep faith in that therapist.”

“Does your son actually need to continue with therapy?”

“You and your ex-wife need to have an honest, open discussion; and if you feel he DOES, seek another therapist.”

“You are not obligated to stay as a client, nor is your ex, nor your son.”

“NTA and best of luck.”  ~ ZaphodBeeblebrox-FtW

OP wanted to make sure we had all the facts…

“Edit: A bit of background. My ex and I had 50/50.”

“This thing happened at her house with her roommate.”

“Long story short and after CPS got involved, I got full physical custody and my son visits her twice a week.”

“She wanted the therapy to build up a case to go back to 50/50.”

“I’m not opposed but that’s up to the courts.”

More thoughts poured in…

“NTA- this therapist sounds awful.”

“You don’t have to agree for your child to continue to see this therapist.”

“My guessed that you have 50-50 legal custody which means that you can revoke your permission for your child to see this therapist and that therapist is no longer allowed to see them because both parents have to be in agreement.”

“Hopefully your ex will agree to finding a new therapist who is not an idiot and you won’t have to pull that card.”  ~ Llamamamma1981

“OP please PLEASE listen to me.”

“If the event that happened to your son is what I think it is, please find a therapist that is a right fit for your son.”

“My son had a traumatic event happen to him when he was 9.”

“We didn’t find out about it until he was 11.”

“My son didn’t want therapy, I didn’t want to make him go.”

“I lost my son at 15.”

“You are NTA for firing that therapist because in reality she was not the right fit for your son.”

“But please try to find someone that your son can work with to make sure he is ok.”  ~ lostmom03

“NTA. What kind of garbage therapist is that?”

“When people go to therapy, they want to work with professionals, not with stupid idiots who would assume a 11(!) year old is in the gang!”

“For f sake, If I were you, I would NEVER recommend her to anyone – she’s clearly not fit for the job.”  ~ DrunkOracle

So much to unpack here.

Hopefully OP feels Reddit’s support.

Therapy is sacred. It has to be right.

Lesson learned.