Parent Mentoring Play Therapy and Sensory Attachment Intervention
What I Say When I Meet Parents: “You Always do your Best. Your Child is Always Wise.”
When parents come to me regarding the challenges they are facing with their child they sometimes believe that they may have damaged their child in some way or that their child is broken and needs to be fixed. In response to that perception this is what I say to parents.
Firstly, I reassure them that their child is not damaged or broken and that as a parent they have done their best. I explain that their child is expressing how challenging their experiences and relationships in life are for them. They do so oftentimes in the only way they know how and that is through their behaviours… how wise.
- I explain that when a child feels any sense of threat to his sacred self, that is, threat to his sense of worth in his world, his sense of belonging in his family, at school, with his peers or in his community, then his sense of lovability and capability will be put at risk and his self -esteem will be low. With low self-esteem, their child will endeavour to protect himself at all costs. He will build walls to protect himself creating a shield around him to keep out any further hurt. The walls being his challenging behaviours and each brick representing the threats he has experienced. Behind the shield is a very scared child, not a broken or damaged child.
- I make clear that the only way a child will come out from behind these walls is if he senses safety, safety in his relationships with the adults in his world that is predictable, consistent, nurturing and unconditional.
- I have a conversation about how to create that safety for their child and how in order to do so a parent may need some additional support themselves as in parent mentoring.
- Along with this support I offer play therapy for their child where a safe space will be provided for him to process his challenges through play and where the therapist will bear witness to the emergence of the child’s true self and true potential. This occurs as a result of patience, understanding and above all trust and belief in the child that he knows unconsciously what he needs to do for himself.
- In play therapy the therapist allows the child to problem solve, express his or her feelings, to make decisions, to think critically without interrupted and all self- directed by the child, for how can a child learn how to problem solve or make decisions only by doing so for themselves and not by following instructions.
- I inform parents that safety is provided for the child to find his solid sense of self from where he will find the strength to better withstand any attempts to hurt him and the therapist assist the parents to do the same.
- It is a space where the child will rediscover his true self and identity and how to “be” and think for himself.
- I will enlighten parents on how to establish boundaries for themselves therefore mirroring how children can do so for themselves, how to discipline with love not fear and how to communicate effectively.
Sometimes if a parent attends for a number of sessions of Mentoring there may be no need to see the child. On the other hand, it may be necessary and beneficial for a child to attend for play therapy.
How long does the process take?
The process is different for everyone. However, Parent Mentoring and Play Therapy sessions are usually one hour and take place once a week. The number of Parent Mentoring sessions is usually decided by the parent themselves whereas Play Therapy is a process which starts with the parent attending for an introductory session and then if the parent is satisfied that this is the process that would best suit them and their child, the child is booked in for 12 sessions. After 6 sessions, I meet with the parent when I will discuss the themes that have arisen in the child’s play. It is a co-creative process where the parent can help me understand their child as much as I can help them do the same. A further six sessions are completed and another review with the parent, when it will be discussed if the child needs further therapy.
“There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.”
― Marianne Williamson
How can Mentoring help you as a Parent?
Mentoring is a co-creational process between the mentor and the client where the client is guided and supported to uncover his or her full potential not only in the role as parent but in all his or her relationships.
This is achieved by:
Allowing the client to
- Reflect on his or her relationship with self and with each child and by providing information that will help the parent to deepen their understanding of self and each individual child. This in turn will lead to competence in parenting.
The Mentor creates a safe, nurturing, empathetic space which promotes
- increased confidence
- renewed motivation and energy
- empowerment of the parent and the child
All of this is achieved because equal emphasis is placed on the needs of both parent and child through the following support
One to one Mentoring: Every family is different and each member is a unique individual. This private support offers parents an opportunity to explore issues specific to each family and to become more effective in parenting self and their children
Small Group Mentoring held over a 6- 8 week period. This service provides a support network for parents to share the challenges they face in parenting. The safe non-judgemental environment helps them to realise that every parent does their best and that sometimes they overlook all that they have achieved in their role as parents.
The following are topics for exploration either during one to one hourly sessions or in small groups over a 6-8 week period, 2 hours a week
- Parents – Architects of the Family – Mirrors for their Children
- Rediscovering your True Self and your Child
- Self- Esteem – Key to your child’s future
- Receiving and Expressing Emotions
- Academic Achievement is not an Indication of Intelligence. All Children are Geniuses.
- How to Help Children Embrace Learning as an Adventure
- Understand that All Behaviour Makes Sense, both Parents’ and Children’s
- How to Communicate Assertively
- How to Discipline so that your children will become both responsible and empowered to reach their full potential.
Further support available for parents, teachers and all professionals working with children.
“Inspirations” is a series of talks, seminars and workshops developed by me for parents, teachers and all professionals working with children. They were inspired by the great minds whose teachings have endured the test of time and whose names are still prominent in the field of the study of human behaviour. My approach encompasses the philosophy of Socrates’ “Know Thyself” to Bowlby’s “Good Enough Parenting” through to the present day teachings of Psychologist Tony Humphreys’ Co-Creation approach interwoven with up to date neuroscientific research of Bruce Perry M.D. PhD, Child Trauma Academy Houston, Allan Schore Neurobiologist, Peter Levine Psychologist , Dan Hughes , Dan Siegel and Eadaoin Breathnach’s Sensory Attachment Intervention approach.
My presentations promise to be educational, encouraging, motivational, inspirational and stimulating!
The following are some of the Topics for my presentations
- Parents: Nurture Thyself so that you can nurture your child
- Help me to Thrive rather than Survive. The Voice of the Child. Creating emotional wellbeing. Understanding Why children behave the way they do.
- Make Connections rather than Corrections. Understanding how to respond to children’s challenging behaviours. Raising consciousness and creating safety.
- Communication: Build Bridges rather than Walls
- Nurture Children’s Natural Curiosity to Learn.
- Discipline with love not fear. Create boundaries for parent and child.
Creative Play Therapy 3-18yrs old
“You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation” Plato
Play Therapy uses the power of play to help children achieve optimal growth and development and prevent or resolve a range of developmental and or emotional difficulties.
The variety of modalities used to assist a child or young person such as art, clay, sand play, music, movement, puppetry make it suitable for children and young people from 3-18yrs of age.
Children and young people may be referred to play therapy for some of the following
Anxiety or grief. Nightmares
Sleeping or eating problems
Social anxiety (shyness). Difficulty making friends
Aggression, lack of Attention and hyperactivity. Obsessive and compulsive behaviours
Frequent conflict with siblings or peers
Separation anxiety or difficulty adapting to new situations, new school, teacher, baby, new house
Also, Embodiments -Headaches, stomach pains, vomiting, skin problems recurring infections………
The Benefits of Play
Play is essential for children to develop physically, emotionally & socially.
It fosters imagination & creativity
Encourages confidence & concentration.
Promotes high self-esteem competence and real expression
It helps them to learn about their ever-expanding world.
It allows them to learn from mistakes safely.
Play can be used to establish a relationship.
It can be used when “talking therapy” doesn’t work.
Confidentiality and Your Child
In general, Therapeutic Sessions with children/adolescence, and associated sessions with parents and carers, are subject to the same confidentiality arrangements as therapeutic sessions with other clients. You are requested therefore, to uphold the confidentiality of the therapy space and are advised to refrain from asking your child/adolescent to share the content of their play sessions. It is up to your child/adolescent to say as much or as little about the session as they wish, and to choose if or when to share any information about their use of the play time and space. I will however share the themes and feelings of your child with you at review sessions which will be agreed with you in an effort to assist in the therapeutic process. If I feel your child is at risk in any way I will inform you and advise you on what to do.
Your child’s sessions are reserved for you. If you are unable to make the appointment, you are requested to give 24 hrs advance notice so that someone else may use the time. In the absence of a notification, you will be requested to part-pay for the session.
Support for Teens
Through a creative approach I provide emotional support, while facilitating healing and growth for
· young people who have difficulty in expressing their emotions, feelings and past experiences
· young people who may find ‘talking therapies’ too challenging, or who find that they can feel ‘stuck’ when talking
The relationship between therapist and client is central to the process and the focus of the sessions is to provide a safe non- judgmental space which allows the client to explore ways of dealing with or resolving current issues or conflicts for example:
Acting Out Behaviours
Bereavement and Loss
Therapy choices available include: Sand, Art, Clay, Music, Creative Writing, Cope and Saga cards.
Seeking help is an indication of strength and is the first step to rediscovering your true self.
“Always remember that no matter what the problem may be, there is an infinity of solutions” Marian Weinstein
One to One Mentoring.
Sensory Attachment Intervention
SAI. Enabling Self Regulation and Co-Regulation. Developed by Eadaoin Breathnach
When children and adults experience abuse or serious neglect this impacts on their capacity to deal with stressful situations and to self- regulate. These adverse experiences can start in the womb and continue through childhood and into adulthood unless a safe and caring holding is established for them to process these traumas. There is a tendency to stay in a protected state of fight, flight, freeze, cut out or shut down and therefore to remain in a hyper vigilant state of fear. The ability to “filter out” background sounds and sights and sensory experiences is impeded. Therefore there is a propensity to be sensory defensive, as the sensory systems have become sensitised to the possibility of danger.
Children develop protective/defensive behaviours in order to survive their attachment experience.
In SAI the first requirement is to establish regulation of arousal states i.e. to shift from the Autonomic Nervous System bias of either freeze dissociation or flight fight responses. I use a just right combination of up regulating and down regulating exercises to assist the modulation of the senses. These experiences lead to higher level sensory, emotional and cognitive functioning.
The following supports are offered.
- Sensory Attachment Intervention Assessment for Children
- Just Right State Children’s Programme
- Just Right State Adults’ Programme
- Response to Distress Consultation for Adults
Also by exploring the engagement of the Child and Adult together a deeper insight into what might lie hidden may be revealed.
“It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found” D.W, Winnicot
I hope you found this information helpful. If you require more information please contact me.