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View from the far side of the recliner
Kids or whose goal is it?
Working with children can be great, they can so easily be in their imagination. If a child wants to come see me for something that is important for them we can both feel successful. Kids usually come with parents and that often includes parent goals which may not be kid goals. Sometimes a parent will be in the room talking about the kid’s “problem” which the kid doesn’t consider their “problem” if a problem at all. If a person doesn’t own an issue they are not likely to feel that they can change it. Once we get through our three way interview and goal setting part of the session I end up doing the best I can. Usually I teach visualization, stress reduction, focus and relaxation techniques that can be used for the specific issue as described by the parent or at least the child can hopefully use them for whatever they want.
I once had a session with a girl and her father with the issue being that the daughter was hypersensitive to the sound of people eating, especially it seems at home. It turned out that her sister had something similar going on. We had a very extended interview and discussion. The girl didn’t really seem too concerned about the situation. I’m not sure that we accomplished much in the session. Some days later her dad called and after a long conversation it seemed that the parents had very different ways of dealing with their daughter. My recommendation was family counseling. There are situations where the best thing I can do is not do. This seems especially true when there is more than one person involved and not everyone sees the same problem or even agrees that there is a problem. I like to feel successful.
Not Kids but whose goal is it?
I have been smart enough (just barely probably) not to fall for the “Can you make my (usually boyfriend or husband) quit (usually smoking or chewing)? My automatic answer is “No, I can’t make anyone do anything” (not even my kids) “but if (he) would like to (make some change that is pleasing to the significant other) then have (that person) get ahold of me and we’ll see what we can do”. Occasionally I’ll hear from the person with the habit that someone else wants to change but not as often as I would think. Could be a lovely Valentine’s or anniversary present. Think I’ll make it a gift certificate.