“I have constant pain. I am uncomfortable when I’m surrounded by people asking me questions, and the unknown prognosis of my illness…“ (age 14, Kata)
When I met Kata, she identified pain in her head and stomach. I curiously engaged her in dialogue to learn about her preferences and preferred activites. I sat at eye level and she initiated talking about her favorite shows. She stated “I love knowing the characters in a show and feeling connected.” With this, I knew our relationship and my support would allow her to move through her pain.
She immediately showed tension in her body when met by others (medical professionals and family) about her pain. The more people the more her body tensed up, the more her voice grew quieter and the more she picked at her bracelet and appeared to be digging her way out of the situation (literally/physically showing her wish to move away). Her pain (from my perspective) shifted from physical to psychological – she was scared and vulnerable.
I narrated my observation and she looked at me, tears filling her eyes as she stated “I have to protect myself.” She explained her fears and her hope for a connection and to feel safe.
I provided a therapuetic “container” for her to safely explore her discomfort by joining me in a movement exploration. I had her identify what her pain felt like, looked like and how it moved. She described “slim” a teen toy preference but for her this slim was filling her head, and really yucky. She described and moved her body as if being overpowered by this “gooey substance” (rocking side to side and pouring upside down, waving her arms around her head as if tracing the pain and stretching her body out). Metaphorically, pouring the pain from her head down her shoulders to her stomach. We rephrased her pain from agony to a protective message (For instance, we acknowledged her tense muslces as similar to a protective shield). As soon as she identified this powerful choice, she shifted into a relaxed posture.
She looked at me and asked, “how do I do this alone.” We reviewed the steps – Differentiating her movements and feelings, Attaching them together with a theme, Narrating her experience, Connecting to one another by moving, and Engaging her choice to find ease. She was enthusiastic about having options to support her anxiety and pain. She was appreciative for being recognized and for my “hearing her body.”
Do you know of a parent or child who could use support; understanding their body and emotional needs? Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to help navigate childhood and parenting.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
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.
Support to The Andréa Rizzo Foundation – Dreasdream.org