Often parents request that I teach tools to their children and teens for overcoming and coping with strong feelings. Parents are witnessing their child in distress and wish to make the difficult feelings go away. And understandably, everyone would like some relief from the anxiety that can disturb the whole family.
However a focus on tips, tricks and tools can give a child the impression that they are problem, a solution is located within them and it is their job alone to get better. Some children and teens will exercise their power to say "no" to tips, tricks and tools, because refusal can give them a sense of power and control that they need, or they might not have the capacity to say "yes". And then everyone gets to feel their sense of helplessness.
What we know about resilience is that it is developed in relationship with others and it is continually developing. Countless ruptures and repairs in relationships are the foundation of emotional resilience. The ability of children to tolerate difficult feelings comes about through the core feeling that one can get through a difficult time and this learning starts in infancy through the experience with caregivers.
The most important mental heath intervention for children and young people is their relationship with their caregivers.
Hence what I do in a parent/caregiver session is to think aloud together about what is going on for the child, and how to be with the child in their experience without the pressure to "do" anything.
Child and adolescent psychotherapists develop a unique formulation and treatment plan for each young person which is based on the meaning and root cause of the feelings from within the child and from their family, home, historical, school, spiritual and community life. The theories that underpin my work include psychodynamic and relational psychotherapy, attachment theory and neurobiology.
Please ask me in our parent/caregiver sessions if you would like to know more about how I work.