Many emotional disturbances, or negative patterns of behavior that are in the way of fully experiencing life and social relationships, originate from some sort of trauma or multiple traumatic events. When we do not adequately process these traumas, they remain in our nervous system, brain, body, and the emotional self in an unprocessed form. It is as if part of us is "frozen in time". The old feelings of hurt, anger, fear, rejection, mistrust, or disturbing intrusive thoughts or images might surface to the consciousness for no apparent reason. Triggers in the present time open the gates to the wounds of the past, and we may find ourselves drifting uncontrollably in the sea of emotions or unpleasant body sensations.
The good news is that we know the reason why these experiences continue happen even years after the trauma is over. They have remained locked in the nervous system in an unprocessed form. As long as trauma is unprocessed, it has an impact on us. EMDR helps a person overcome trauma by activating the natural processing system of the nervous system. It sort of helps the mind "digest" all the bad things that happened, put them in a new perspective and constructs an inner order that feels more balanced and neutral. In Dr Shapiro's work, it helps to leave the past in the past!
I use EMDR a lot in my work and continue to be amazed by the positive results. It truly taps into the inner resources, strengths and healing powers of the individual allowing transformations to occur from living in the shadows of the past to living a fulfilling life.
EMDR can be used with both adults and children. Please ask me more about EMDR to determine if this might be the right treatment method for you.
To find out more about EMDR, please look into the following resources:
Children use toys and play activities as a way to explore the world and to express their emotions and needs. Play therapy is informed by developmental neurobiology that discovered it promotes optimal brain development of children.
For children, play is serious and purposeful activity through which they work to resolve inner conflicts, anxieties and fears that underlie problem behaviors. Play as a form of therapy differs greatly from regular play in that it is a structured and strategic method of therapy that is theoretically sound and conducted by a trained professional. In play therapy, I strive to create a trusting and safe relationship with the child and provide an accepting, respectful and free healing space.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PLAY THERAPY HERE:
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SANDPLAY HERE:
In typical therapy, we express ourselves in words and body language which allows us to communicate thoughts and emotions in a safe environment and thus getting in contact with realities of our psychic life as it exists at that moment.
The limitation of “talk-therapy” is that the inner experience shrinks as it passes through the analytical left-brain and is formulated into words. Verbal language makes it easier for us to communicate and understand each other, but it also tends to label experiences rather than to describe them, which leads to only partial expression of the issue leaving much in the shadows of the unconscious.
Sandplay offers a different and deeper form of communication. A type of communication where a person can connect with the totality of their being, the True Self.
It is based on the premise that the body, mind and soul have a natural capacity and tendency to heal when given the chance and an optimal environment to do so. In sandplay, this environment is provided by the presence of the therapist, the office space, the miniature toys and the sandtray. In this setting, both children and adults can use their innate drive towards wholeness and healing.
Sandplay is the language of our own inner being that stimulates fantasy, imagination and growth. The images (miniature toys) in sandplay provide a medium for that which cannot be spoken.
Engaging in sandplay requires no skill or understanding of symbolism from the client’s part. During a sandplay session the therapist encourages you to look at the miniature toys and select ones that you somehow feel connected to or interested in or perhaps feel a strong aversion.
You are then instructed to create a “scene” or a picture in the sand using the image you selected. In this part, you allow the body and the unconscious to do the work as you just follow a purposeful inner guidance as to where each image should be placed. You can also shift and mold the sand as you please. Water can be added to the sand if needed. You will then let the therapist know when you are done and both of you take a moment to look at the scene noticing how it feels to do that.
Engaging in sandplay is like embarking on a journey into the depths of your own being- it takes time, commitment and patience. Like in any journey, there will be danger and challenges as well as times to rest and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
Children truly are our hope and our future. They have the potential to shape the direction of our culture and our world. This is the task of the new generation: to help humanity evolve. But which direction we are evolving, depends on how we raise our children.
Dr. Montessori believed that if we give children the right kinds of supports for their development, they are the answer to create a more peaceful world that is based on love, altruism, social cohesion and collaboration. I share this belief and it forms the foundation principal for my work with children.
"Peaceful world is created by peaceful people who inhabit it."
Each child has the capacity to develop these values and transmit them to the society around them. This, however is difficult to see nowadays as many children experience challenges from tantrums to unexplained fears and anxieties, learning difficulties, ADD/ADHD, depression, anger/aggression or general defiance and misbehavior.
Our typical response to remedy these issues comes from the medical model of seeing the child as "the problem" and the behaviors as something that needs to be "fixed." In this process of trying to fix things, we often lose sight of the wonderful, unique person behind the problems. We lose sight of the nobility of the soul and dignity of the child.
We desperately try to directly influence the issue by teaching rules, implementing regulations, instilling consequences, teaching about proper behavior and conduct, pouring our values and morals onto the child teaching them "the lessons of life" hoping that they will turn out ok.... We fill the child with what we thin is the best for him.
I understand that we do all this out of our very special love and need to protect the child. However, this approach has lead us further away from understanding our children. It has not solved the problems, and we have not been able to provide for their emotional, developmental and educational needs. We have not listened to them and their cry for:
I would like to invite all of us adults and parents to let go of the idea that we know the best. LIFE itself knows the best: the caterpillar has the wisdom inside how to become a butterfly, the seed knows how to grow into a magnificent tree, and the baby will follow a beautiful pre-designed path of development to become a full rounded person.
"When we trust and follow the child, he will, when given the right circumstances, develop into a happy, loving, kind and balanced adult."
Nature, and life itself, has a master plan of development which includes certain needs, universal human tendencies and sensitive periods when optimal learning can happen.
It is through understanding these special times of growth, their needs and providing the child the right kind of nourishment, we help them become who they are meant to be.
As Alison Gopnik says, we need to be gardeners to our children rather than carpenters: As each flower or plant needs the right kind of light, water, and soil for it to manifest its' true beauty, so do our children. They follow their own time and path. We do not need the mindset of the carpenter who has exact ideas of what he wants to build and how. We should not instill our precise measurements and plans onto our children. THIS is what stifles their spirit, and goes against the natural path of development leading to the problems we see in our children today.
"So, I offer a view that is a bit different from the general public, but it is a view that has proven to work, and is backed by the current knowledge provided by developmental neuroscientists regarding the needs of children."
I strive to towards a deep understanding of the needs of children, following the laws of nature and utmost respect for the child as a unique individual with a rich emotional, spiritual, cognitive and social inner life.
"I invite the parents I work with along this miraculous journey of discovery so we may all grow and learn through the child."
In my work with children, I combine aspects of the Montessori Philosophy and pedagogy with child-centered play therapy. This allows children to work through the issues that are bothering them and restores them to a more natural state of being. I trust that the child will communicate to me through play what he or she needs. It is my job to understand this and respond in appropriate, loving and caring manner whether it is just listening and witnessing or eliciting the parents to help the child.
I typically meet with the parents first to discuss the concerns before I meet the child. It is imperative that parents stay involved in their child’s therapy. It is expected that parents come in for parents-only sessions every 4-6 weeks. This is a time to discuss pertinent issues and offer support in understanding the child’s behaviors.
"It is not through attempts of control and authority that the problem changes, but through understanding, love, respect, and collaboration."