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Trudi Gosch

Trudi Gosch

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A message to parents and carers about the importance of caring for yourself.
A message to parents and carers about the importance of caring for yourself.

 

Much has been written on the subject of positive role modelling. In all facets of functioning children and young people seek and need positive role models. Now here comes the good bit – parents and carers your mission, and I so hope you accept it, is to actively and purposefully care for yourself whilst your child is engaged in therapy… And even if they’re not.

Being the front line support person for a child is an incredibly important and rich role. Being available, being patient and kind, being able to meet their many and varying needs requires energy, enthusiasm, commitment and at times great stamina.

Taking time to rejuvenate, recover, rest and care for yourself demonstrates the importance of self -love and care. Taking time to connect with family and friends, to have fun, share a laugh, be silly and playful. We all know that actions speak louder than words so taking time out for a cup of tea with a friend, a soak in the bath or a walk on the beach is showing that we value and prioritise care for self and makes us better able to care for others.
Those who have travelled on a plane will be familiar with the safety message – please put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Parents and carers commitment to their child or young person’s therapeutic plan for self-care can result in their own plan falling by the way side. Consider your therapist as flight attendant offering you the same sound and evidence based advice – care for self means we are better able to care for others.

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Therapy with kids and teens

Some say don’t work with children and animals, I am not one of those people!

Working with kids and teens is hugely rewarding. It can also be very challenging and lots of fun. Working with young people is quite different to working with adults. Therapy with adults usually involves sitting and talking, therapy with kids and teens can involve sitting and talking but more often than not sees us (therapist and young person together) drawing, story-telling, role playing, creating, playing even being silly (that is if silliness is clinically indicated and I assure you it can be).

It takes a great deal of courage to meet with a new person for the purpose of therapy. What will they ask? What should I say? What will they (the therapist be like)? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them?

Creating a safe, respectful and comfortable therapeutic space is essential if we are to then invite young people to share their thoughts and feelings. In the absence of child and adolescent focused engagement techniques we fail to genuinely connect with young people and so the therapeutic process is hindered. Dr Dan Hughes (Clinical Psychologist) talks about creating a special PLACE for the children in our lives – Playfulness, Love, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. In creating this special place for young people in therapy we are giving then the best shot of resolving their worries and challenges and we give them a positive experience of help seeking.

This Blog draws from some of the wisdom and experience of Kathryn Geldard and David Geldard, Violet Oaklander and Dr Dan Hughes.

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