My methodology of therapy is based in mindfulness and allows the lead of the child to create trust and anchor into support from self, peers and the adults they come into relationship with. My main mission is for kids to trust their guts over what any external force says, conveys or believes. Ad long as kids can trust themselves first, then and only then, are they able to discern and take in the ideas and suggestions from others!
I have a deep belief and knowing that kids know their own directions. In life, in their imagination, in other realms etc. I believe that they are so connected to source as they aren’t fully conceptualizing time and space quite yet. They are multidimensional and I know they have so much to teach us on their should missions here. It’s usually parents who hold fear that their kids might not “know.” Keeping in mind that parents have their cognition developed with a risk assessment and a past, it makes so much sense why those protective parental instincts come online! When children are faced with big life transitions, changes, traumas and experiencing great grief in their worlds, the most valuable tool they can utilize is a safe space to process their emotions, their thoughts and their unique perceptions of their experience. They want to know that they are loved as they move through whatever challenge they’re having.
I also believe that all parts of self are welcome here, even if they seems wild, crazy, out of this world etc. What others on the external might judge them is totally allowed to exist in the therapeutic setting. As we build familiarity, rapport and trust, we begin to know each other on new levels. Shadows of a doubt might even become befriended once we learn that we can embody something so valuable from the parts of ourselves that are tender and needing care. We can embrace the skills that come with allowance as we move at our own pace and our own rate.
One of my favorite child therapy techniques includes attunement. The way you would tune your voice or your guitar before playing it resembles the fine tuning one can have with their nervous system. Our culture loves to romanticize being in our heads. There is so much to feel when we come into our bodies. As soon as we drop in, we might notice details that we weren’t noticing prior. And don’t worry! It’s the minds job to race, worry, ruminate and wander- so just know that you are right on track with that! In the therapeutic relationship, it is vital to listen carefully to deeply understand each other as opposite as we may seem. It’s also important to shows a great deal of patience, persistence and commitment to the development of growth, change and acceptance.
The art of relationship is another amazing child therapy technique. Formulating the necessary components of a healthy relational dynamic gives us the chance to practice using our voice to express our needs. As we are playing out the most challenging and most terrifying moments of our existence, we know that it is safe to show up and safe to be ourselves in this space. What a beautiful metaphor this gets to be! As we lean in to ask through the play, moments that communicate “Am I seen? Am I loved?” are at the forefront. When we practice unconditional positive regard and unconditional acceptance, we get a felt sense of what secure attachment feels like. Secure attachment is demonstrated when we know that there is nothing we could ever do to have someone love us any less. We then get to try that on for ourselves saying: ”There is nothing I could ever do that would make me love me any less.” The interactions are unique, powerful, personal, in the moment and serendipitous. Sometimes we have no clue what our subconscious or unconscious mind has in store to be revealed that day! It’s all part of the unfolding, in real time. Play is such a natural way for each experience to have the potent healing power of full emotional expression. Sometimes it can feel extra cathartic because expressions can come through where perhaps it’s perceived as not safe to do so in certain external settings.
As a therapist, I create authenticity, organization and transparency for myself which then is modeled and translated with the child having their own process. In the process, we communicate safety, accountability, responsibility and trust. Nurturing all ruptured parts of ourselves that have been scarred, wounded or hurt in the past requires patience, slowing down, tending to and full felt permission to go at their own pace. As the therapist, I am communicating that we are entitled to our own pain and we have the ability to transform it into something really beautiful.