I offer parents and families a unique approach to more traditional parent-child conflicts. My program for families includes three components: calm, connect, and create solutions. To start, we focus on calming down everyone's stress and overwhelmed brains in the family. I use intentional movements from a brain balance program called Brainworx, to go back and recreate movements from the first year of life that help to integrate primitive reflexes that are holding on, which interfere or cause folks to compensate or work harder to stay calm. These movements are for everyone in the family because we all have gaps in our neurodevelopment that challenge us in life. We will work together to engage everyone in the family to practice the movements in ways that create fun and connection.
While we are working to calm down everyone’s neurobiology with directed, brain balancing movements, we will also be working to strengthen or repair ruptured relationships in the family. My sessions are divided into two parts. The first part is a parent session where I work with parents to develop x-ray vision, to see beneath their child's behavior to the hidden, unmet needs. In the parent sessions, I teach many new, science-based parenting tools that focus on developing relationships and trust. Then, the children come in for the second part of the session and parents are given the opportunity to practice the tools that they have been learning. I give families a very interactive and hands-on experience in therapy, even in an online format. Family therapy activities and directive homework assignments increase understanding and compassion in families and bring them closer together. It is never too late to bond with your child.
Once everyone's brains are calmed down a bit and trust begins to develop in relationships, we turn our focused attention to the unsolved problems in the family. I teach families how to use Dr. Ross Greene's Collaborative and Proactive Solutions approach to solving family conflicts. This is an approach that shifts the narrative in the family from the child being the problem to the parents and child joining together on the same team to face the problem together, which is not the child. Aligned together, I coach parents and children to talk to each other to better understand the unsolved problems that are creating the challenging episodes. We look underneath behaviors to the root cause. In the context of the problem-solving discussion, children and parents learn many new skills, especially around executive functioning. In a structured discussion, they learn how to asks questions, to listen with deeper understanding, perspective-taking, patience, the ability to prioritize and organize their thoughts and delay gratification. Emotional and social skills are taught indirectly, as parents and children learn to communicate and solve problems together.
Along this three-part journey of calm, connect, and create solutions, there will be times when I take parents on a journey back in time to explore their own childhood experiences. This in important work when parent become stuck in their own parenting and fall prey to triggers that began in their own childhood that negatively impact their current parenting. Noticing the triggers, acknowledging the past pain, practicing self-compassion and rewriting the parents story, are just some of the ways I help to free parents to step more consciously into their role of parents. Self-awareness and connection to oneself is the most important responsibility of being a parent.
This journey that I take parents and families on is intense and challenging for all involved. It is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. It will take time to unwind from the past and deprogram certain beliefs to make way for new, healthier perspectives. And, parents will be doing most of the work. This may sound overwhelming, but that is where I come in. I will be there with you at each step, guiding you to the next best thing for yourself and for your family. Together, we will co-create a plan of healing.