Child-centred family therapy
What is child-centred family therapy? In these sessions I spend an hour playing with the children and talking with the parents. Sometimes I work with a colleague so that both children and parents are given the best attention. I watch how the parents interact with each other and with the children. I watch how the children react to their parents. Usually parents book these sessions because of major issues within the family that need to be addressed and a balance needs to be found. There is no training to be a parent and we are usually only as good as our own parents who are often not the best example. Sometimes the child needs to release the trauma from a difficult birth.
Each session lasts one hour and costs £55
One or both parents can bring the child. The surroundings are informal, with bean bags, games and toys. A child can bring whatever he or she likes to play with.
When most of us were children we were brought up to know our place in the family. It probably was not at the top of the pile. We were less important than adults and needed control and discipline so that we would become well integrated into society and behave respectfully and politely. We were taught to put our own needs second. As a result we grew up to be inhibited and conditioned adults with low self esteem and in some cases a high degree of passive aggression. The person we present to the world is not the person inside. That person inside is slowly dying of lack of self love. When we hear of untimely deaths from undetected heart problems it always makes me wonder. Any disease in the region of the heart chakra is energetically caused by lack of love, usually of self love. Often we are able to project ourselves as wonderful human beings, we give everything we can to others, we are kind, considerate, respectful, and yet we have never given any of this to ourselves.
Child-centered families are families where the children are put first. Listen to your children, follow your child’s lead, go where they are going and they will amaze you with their imagination. When a child speaks to you, feed back to them what they have just said to reinforce that you have heard them. This is very honouring for them. (Do this with the adults in your life too; the child in them also needs to be heard!) Children need to be important; they need to know constantly that you love them. They are not equipped to handle the emotional roller coasters of adult behaviour and when they are subjected to it they think they are going to die. Lack of safety brings a huge fear in a child and they will shut down and become unresponsive. It is our duty as adults and their parents to make our children feel safe and loved.
How often have you heard the expression tough love? I really hate that expression. It may have some good intention but it is so abused. People believe that being tough with their children is what tough love is. That is not true. There are always gentle ways of showing our children what is right and wrong. Usually tough love is our need to be in control, as were our own parents. It is a reaction to our own childhood and we take it out on our children. We need to let go of any old pattern that is even mildly abusive and know where it came from. If I see a parent being very controlling, I quietly say “I wonder who did that to you when you were a child. How did it make you feel?” It is our job to give our children loving boundaries, not prison walls.
Discipline is exactly what it means. Notice it comes from the word disciple, which means to “follow the example of”. Discipline has never meant punishment but that is what it means today. Children learn by example, not by words. They see their parents’ behaviour patterns and copy them. If you don’t like your own children’s behaviour take a good look at your own. The one place we can be ourselves is when we are safe behind closed doors in our own home. Children will always give away your secrets. Truly kind loving parents are modeling that kind of behaviour to their children. Angry, irritable parents will have angry irritable children. If your own relationship is stormy then how can you expect children to be calm, loving and respectful? If we have no boundaries then neither will the children. A child has an innate knowledge of what they need. Watch what they naturally do, are they always taking things apart, always listening to music, always playing video games, always on the computer? Translate this into future careers. This modern high tech world suits our children perfectly and they have a purpose in it. Yes, we need to give them boundaries around bed times, and time limits on video games etc, but negotiate with them, don’t demand. Some children will not go to bed until they are exhausted, others need to go to bed before they are tired and have time to read. Recognize their patterns even if they do not fit in with yours.
Children who are brought up like this are confident and full of life. They are not quiet and “well-behaved”. They will speak their minds, be demanding, passionately give their opinions and join in heated discussions. This is sometimes too much for the parents, but the children need free rein to express themselves.
Being with conscious parents is what children need to grow up. Remember we are bringing into the world tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers. If they are brought up with the truth of who they really are they have the tools to change the world into a better place. If they are suppressed and conditioned to society’s expected behaviour patterns they will grow up and take it out on the world.