What if something bad happens to me? What if my family isn’t safe?
(Patrick, age 7)
You may have heard my favorite quote, “worrying is a waste of the imagination.” When children perseverate on topics of the unknown, they appear to be stuck like a record skipping over and over at the same mark just needing someone to lift the needle point to hear the beautiful music again.
When Patrick heard in the news about the unexpected death of professional basketball player and his hero Kobe Bryant – he became stuck again in his common fears of the unknown. How could this happen? How could he ever prevent loss from happening to him or his family? The questions and thoughts felt endless.
We worked with his parents to provide communication for accepting these feelings and thoughts as true. His parents gained support to provide clear communication on their family safety plans, and created a ritual to honor and celebrate their son’s compassion and interest in life and others.
Then, in therapy, we embodied his thoughts and put words into movement. When working with imagery and movement, Patrick was able to lead me through his thoughts. He created a pretend scenario in which we were flying, we were out of control and we felt stuck in a tight restraint. Everytime, he moved quickly around the room, we suddently stopped and fell. Everytime, we slowed down we began to spin and feel dizzy. All the time, he remained serious in his face, and tense in his body.
With support and time, he allowed me to introduce a switch (ie. if someone yelled switch we could literally and physically change our scene, our movement, and our feelings to the complete opposite). This was difficult at first, but with humor and playfulness our bodies started to have choices. Patrick was incredibly creative, he had us go from spinning out of control to placing every inch of our bodies into a supported posture on the floor (not any part missing contact to something steady).
Patrick communicated that using his imagination and changing his body movements felt like a relief, felt way more fun, and way less stressful. He realized that changing his body was easier than trying to think away his thoughts. He acknowledged that just as real as his worries were, his curiosity, play and choices to live were just as true! Movement brought Patrick into the here and now, in order for him to start to embrace his full sense of safety.
Everyday, I work with children of all ages and their families to support their worries, communication styles, movement choices, and beautiful connections! For more ways to learn how to embody parenting and support your child through life, Email me at email@example.com.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.