It's not at all unusual for mums to express doubts about how I will get their child or teen talking about their feelings. I understand that. Sometimes it's because they don't have the words. Maybe they fear the consequences, what we as parents might do when we know. They know we love them and this might blind us to the darker side of what's happening or they might panic us. They don't want to be responsible for our feelings. There are resources at school of course but they don't always want to involve school.
Children google their symptoms and talk to their friends and usually decide that what they have is anxiety which as we know covers so much. This is what I'm told in the parent's enquiry from my website or on a phone call. Here are some of the questions I might ask you.
- what specifically have you observed?
- is it both at home and at school?
- are there any patterns, triggers or anything that seems to make it worse?
- when did it start?
- what happened just before it started?
- what was their pregnancy and birth like?
- any early years problems/accidents/operations?
We talk about how I work with children and teens and there may be other questions that come up if I feel them to be necessary. I then send an email with my suggestions as to how we might move forward and ask that I have a little chat with your child before a first appointment is made. This is so they can see who they're meeting to make it less of an anxious occasion. I also tell them a bit about the sort of things we might do and some of the problems I work with so they know they are in safe hands. Once they are happy to see me and work with me, we arrange this first appointment.
I've been working as a children's therapist for so long now and I approach it in much the same way as I did my Qualitative Market Research work. In other words;
- I want the experience to be fun and fruitful for everyone
- Yet bear in mind the objective and make sure it is met to everyone's satisfaction
- I need to listen hard and pick up patterns and insights
- I need to listen more than I speak
- We need some pauses to allow children to think, after all, this is a new experience for them and the reflections and thoughts may take some time to emerge
- I want the child to be invested in the outcome so I make sure that we are fully aligned throughout the process
The therapy room is our dining room so it's a relaxing room to be in, warm and bright with a view onto the garden and my hens which children love to see.
You'll see on the table my sand tray and that's often an activity I start with, asking children to use the dinosaurs, sea creatures, shells and moshi monsters to create their world. This activity appeals to all ages.
You'll see there's some Lego on the other table and making a happiness machine from Lego is another favourite activity to get them talking about what makes them happy.
Another popular one is the Superhero exercise and this has them realising that they have their own superhero inside them.
This first session helps to build trust. It is up to your child whether you are in the room with them. Some are fine on their own, others want you there the whole time and others ask you to come in for the first 15-30 minutes and then are fine to let you go.
You may wait in our lounge or there's a small room where you can make a tea or coffee and use the desk. Next door to us is Huntswood Golf Club which is open to guests so you can go and relax there, eat, watch TV, read the papers etc. This is very handy is you have another child with you so they can run around there.
After this session, I suggest you have a chat with your child and decide whether you'd like me to work with them. If you do, you have an option of sets of four or six sessions to get a discounted rate or pay for individual sessions.
I expect my child clients to practise what they do in our sessions and keep a journal so they can monitor what's working well, focusing on the positive changes. Many are happy to also use crystals and essential oils to manage their emotions on a daily basis along with using NLP and EFT techniques they learn with me. We will be setting intentions and affirmations and creating new ways of thinking, whilst retaining those patterns that have been working well for them.
Your child will find our work challenging, after all it's different from anything they've done before. They won't be talking that much, I use a lot of art and play therapy as well as EFT Tapping but nevertheless they will be tired afterwards so let them be quiet and process what we've done and be patient as they integrate the new learning and new ways of being.
You can phone me at any time if you have questions and certainly I will expect to include a session with you as part of the process so you can fully support what we're doing and so I can pick up anything you may be inadvertently doing which could be getting in the way of them making optimal progress.
If all this seems a bit intense or more than you want to commit to at this time, consider buying one of my books. These will take you gently through many of the processes we do in therapy and will help you support your child. I would specifically suggest 'Empower your kids! A coaching guide for parents' as there are chapters for each issue you may face with helpful 'how to' exercises that you can do with them.
If you're not sure whether you need therapy or whether a more structured programme of life skills for confidence and resilience will help then I would recommend the Junior NLP Programme which comprises 4 one hour sessions with me and covers
I have a couple of more lightweight, less 'therapy' type programmes for children who don't have a specific problem or those who need a more wide ranging approach.
This is a leJd programme, it is not therapy. Your child or young person will be taught many NLP and EFT techniques in an engaging and interactive way with exercises and questions, where they can use examples from their own life. They will learn:
How do you think and process your world
Metaprogrammes - choices/process, towards/away from, global/specific, match/mismatch etc
How will knowing how you process, learn and communicate make life easier at home, school and in your sport
How would you like your world to be different
Applying SMART goal thinking
What skills do you have to achieve this
Overcoming limiting beliefs
How to be confident
How to get rid of the bad feelings
How to step away from the 'I can't
The Drama Triangle
How to be a problem solver
How will they integrate the new knowledge
What will they do differently
If your child or teen isn't open to therapy then this course gives them loads of great skills and the opportunity, if they choose, to share their concerns with me and get help once we've built trust.
Whatever you decide or if you're not sure, just get in touch for a chat and ask any questions you have. I have written lots of practical workbooks for children, tweens and teens. Maybe one of those is what's needed.