by Anne Maxwell, LCSW
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
~ Albert Einstein
It has become clear to me, having worked as a psychotherapist for the past 25+ years with children, families and adults of all ages and kinds, that there are particular cultures of thinking or attitude in regard to the way people, and especially kids, should function. Those that don’t function according to the rules and regulations in play around them are labeled with ‘disabilities,’ especially in educational and medical communities.
Autism is one such definition.
I have a different way of viewing people who have been labeled with autism, and, 10 years ago, when I discovered the tools of Access Consciousness®, my practice changed, as did the children and adults I was working with... more ease, longer-lasting change, happier families.
Some questions I was invited to...
“Can you help me? My son needs to be in some therapy, like a therapy group. Can you recommend one for him?”
I was at the bank, and my favorite banker was doing some last-minute paperwork for me, before my move to another state. She knows I have worked as a child and family therapist for years, and, was lamenting the fact that I would be moving my practice out of state.
“How old is he?” I asked.
“What’s up? What’s going on that makes you look for therapy for him?” I asked.
She looked worried and slightly embarrassed.
“He won’t sleep by himself, and I’m exhausted. I stay in his bed until he falls asleep, and usually, when I get up, he wakes up and cries. If he doesn’t wake up then, he wakes up at two in the morning, screaming and crying for me. He’s a mama’s boy and he’s mad at me a lot of the...
How many New Year’s resolutions have you made?
And how many have you kept?
Not so many?
I cannot tell you how many times I tried … and tried … for years … and I would greet each New Year with renewed seriousness and earnestness and intention and gravitas … It was exhausting!! And ultimately not very satisfying, as I observed my weight creeping back up or my continued attraction to men who preferred to be with other women or my inability to sustain a workout routine or my continued attraction to people who viewed themselves as superior to me or my earnings that never seemed to go above a ceiling … the lists went on.
So, I decided to quit with the resolutions … except I never really did … I just didn’t announce them or claim them or admit that that was what I was up to … with similar results.
And whose beliefs were those, anyway? Where did I make myself think I needed to weigh...
My family always had a thing about money.
Sometimes we had it, sometimes we didn’t. And during the times that we didn’t, we never let on … it was a secret. We kept up the appearances of having it and nobody was to know.
Money was not that big a deal to my dad. His point of view was if he had it, he spent it … and if he didn’t have it, he still figured out a way to spend other people’s … they would either loan him money (which he rarely repaid) or gift it to him. For my mom, appearances were important.
I grew up in an affluent suburb of Boston, in a beautiful old house, surrounded by fields and woods, with a river just over the hill. My childhood consisted of private schools in Boston, summer camp in the French Alps, a boarding school in central France, and multiple trips to Paris and to the south of France. By all appearances, we had money.
And yet, there was always an undercurrent … a...
What are children saying when they “act out”?
A mom brought her five year old son to see me. He had been getting into trouble at school and was difficult at home. They sat on the sofa … he couldn’t keep his hands off her and she was clearly irritated.
At one point, I asked him: “What do you know?” He sat bolt upright and appeared to stop breathing. His eyes locked into mine. He said: “Mikey (her boyfriend) is going to move in with us, and then he’s going to leave and Mommy’s going to cry.” She burst into tears.
A week later she called to tell me that his “naughty” behaviors had all but disappeared, and, that she had broken up with her boyfriend!
Tool: Ask a question!
The next time your child gets into...
So often the conclusion is reached that children who don’t “fit in” need to be taught how to behave so they can learn to function as if they were “normal” and “average” and just like everyone else. The problem is that they are not normal and average. My point of view is that by asking them to be normal and average, we are doing two things: We are telling them that there is something wrong with them, and we are asking them to become someone they are not.
So many of the parents I have known and worked with tell me they are frustrated – with the schools, with their kids, with their families, and, with themselves - for wanting the best for their kids, wanting their kids to be happy, recognizing that they are different, and, feeling at a loss as to how to help their kids … and themselves … have an easier go of life.
Here are 5 tips and tools from my therapy practice and from Access Consciousness® you can use to create...