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HOPE on the Other Side


May 10, 2018

Today Dr. Ken Campos is joined by Dr. Jim Colbert. Dr. Colbert is a seasoned clinical psychologist with a small private practice in Southern California. He trained at UCLA and lived and worked in the Los Angeles area many years. Dr Colbert works with families as well. His area of special expertise is with both younger and older adults with anxiety and depression and the area of memory assessment & enhancement. His therapy emphasizes the personal life journey and restoring the locus of control to the individual. Please see his website for more information, www.jamesncolbertphd.com.

Dr. Colbert has two daughters who have schizophrenia. He worked for the Los Angeles Probation Department for a time and then private practice. He has been married 3 times. He became disabledat the age of 28. That ended his first marriage.

Dr. Colbert's first daughter had her first major breakdown in her early 20's. She responded well to recommendations he had. She was able to function well with medication during the first period. At one point she attempted suicide. He recounts the aftermath of that suicide attempt and explains that at the end of her life she died from cancer. This daughter became the leader of schizophrenic's anonymous and began advocating for people to take their medicine. Dr. Colbert read to her nightly towards the end of her life.

Dr. Colbert speaks of his second daughter with schizophrenia. She also had thyroid problems. She was not one to take the medication. She used to work for the Los Angeles Times and developed the idea that there was a conspiracy with the Los Angeles Times ownership and that she was part of it. A friend called him and let him know of the difficulty hsi daughter was experiencing. She didn't resist him being involved with the care, but she resisted almost all forms of treatment. She had a number of breakdowns where she would have hallucinations. At some point she wrote a threatening letter to President Bill Clinton. She was interviewed by the Secret Service.

Dr. Ken recounts when the US Secret Service came to his facility for a talk. There are a couple of hundred people in the United States who have a severe mental illness and have made threats against the US President. The agents said that when the President switches the new focus goes to the new President. It isn't the man himself that causes the threats.

Dr. Colbert says he tried to get his second daughter to go to a medical doctor. It was during one of those visitis they discovered a major thyroid deficiency. Dr. Colbert recalls thinking that maybe with the proper thyroid medication, his daughter might be back to normal. She refused the medication. He decided to use every power of his being to get her to take that medication.

Dr. Ken discusses how common this situation Dr. Colbert described is. They've come to believe some people have this as a feature of schizophrenia.

Dr. Colbert describes how he helped his daughter find her own place, but after she was settled in, she decided to have nothing to do with him. This is also very common behavior in schizophrenic patients. He discusses losing that connection with his adult child. He says parents strongly want to be with them because they still feel that parent-child relationship. At the same time, there was slight relef because her denial of time with him allowed him to avoid dealing with her issues. He describes how he spent two years in psychogtherapy as a patient dealing with his feelings about this.

Dr. Ken discusses how developing self-confidence through therapy is very helpful. Support groups are very important as well.

Dr. Colbert describes the experience as a parent as overwhelming. His own experiences gave him a connection to other parents going through the same thing.