My post regarding Mindful Children has generated some interest. I have been asked to elaborate regarding the self healing abilities of children in particular.
Non-Directive Therapy for Children.
Parents can create therapeutic conditions for their children at home. Parents primary job is of course, to mother and father, however children are possessed of extraordinary abilities to heal themselves and parents in-formed about this can ‘get out of the way’ and let therapy happen.
1. Have toys on hand that do not suggest themes. The more blank the toy, the more your child has to imagine it’s attributes. You’ll be amazed if you eavesdrop ; a cylindrical block becomes the wicked witch of the west, or the fireman comes to the rescue. To the extent that themes are not suggested, the character of the figure is imagined by your child.
2. The source of that imagined ‘stuff’ can be from the unconscious of your child. I say ‘can be’ because if your child is simply replicating the plot of a video he or she has seen many times, the material may be coming from memory. Encourage your child to tell stories to bypass this clutter.
3. To the extent characters and plots come from the depths of imagination they will be ‘corrective’ experiences. Your child has complete control in the game. If, in his or her mind, someone was mean to him, he can now turn the tables on the perpetrator of the crime and have a character be mean to ‘the bad guy’.
How does this work?
The imagination of the child is so vivid and your child’s ability to immerse him or herself in play is so complete that IT IS AS IF THIS SCENARIO DID INDEED OCCUR. the child can emerge from the game with his confidence restored.
The therapeutic result noted above is more likely to occur with solitary play.
I will write more re the psychological immune system of children in the future. Stay tuned.
About Diane Kern
Diane has been a practicing psychotherapist for over thirty years. She is credentialed to teach college level psychology, social science and anthropology. She has taught at California Community Colleges and Universities. She studied psychoanalytic theory and practice in the School of Criminology at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her doctorate degree. She traveled to India to study cross-cultural conceptions of mental illness. Research was undertaken in social work agencies and at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. She has had a balanced yoga practice for twenty five years.