Once we'd arranged to see Dr Joanne, the new psych, I asked Ben if he'd like me to sit in on sessions "as an observer and occasional contributor" or if he'd like to see her alone. Frankly I didn't mind which. Since Ben turned a corner in October 2010 we'd always seen CAMHS together because, as Ben said, we were working on this "as a team". And Family Based Treatment has been proven to be more effective than individual therapy. But, at this stage and at his age, I recognise that he needs to become more independent - indeed it's essential that he does.
Ben insisted he'd like me to be there. "After all we're still very much a team," he said. "You being there will save me the hassle of explaining to you what was said and done. I want you to know what was said and done because, without this, how can we continue to work together as a team?"
Fair enough. For the time being at any rate. At least for this week's session.
But, if at any point, it becomes clear that my presence is superfluous or Ben doesn't want me there, then I will stand aside. Indeed I plan to be less and less involved to enable him to become more and more independent - especially as he will need to be able to manage any therapy independently once he returns to university. This is part of The Big Plan. And, of course, being 18 Ben has the legal freedom to refuse to involve me if he doesn't want to.
So at the moment I'm sitting in on the sessions. Time will tell whether I will continue to do this or not. Like everything in the way Ben and I have worked to rid him of the eating disorder, it is flexible and can be adapted to suit the stage we're at.
One thing I am good at doing during these sessions, however, is getting any discussions back on track when things digress or go off on an irrelevant tangent. Kind of like being in the chair at a debating society.
We're seeing Dr Joanne tomorrow morning to discuss what areas need work - with a view to dealing with the remnants of the eating disorder and easing Ben back into "normal life" and successful re-entry to university in September.