How to Support the Healing of Your Child

I am apart of a powerful women’s entrepreneurial group where we read a book and have a discussion about the impact the book had us. Our first book is Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What Your’re Going Through. This book is an autobiography where Iyanla explores her past trauma and the generational pathology of her family. One of the questions posed by one of the group members was “which adult from Iyanla’s childhood we thought was in the best position to protect her and make everything alright.” My response to the question was  “The adults in her life were not in a position to make everything right as they had never dealt with their issues and trauma. I run across so many families who want us (therapists) to “fix” children when the real issue is the parents. And when I say the real issue is the parents, I mean they have never dealt with their issues and that effects the way in which they parent continuing the passing down of generational issues.” Her response to me was “I see! Wow. Heal the parents which would enable them to support the healing of the child.” I thought, “Exactly! Somebody gets it!”

The first step to caregivers helping their children through issues that require therapy is to first deal with their own issues. One of the statements I make to the parents of the children I treat is “In order for me to help your child, you have to be a part of the treatment. That means there may be times when you have to meet with me alone where we may have to address things from your past that are impacting your relationship with your child. I cannot help your child without also helping you.” Many caregivers do not realize how their past issues have seeped into their current relationships and coping. Ignorance is not bliss! Ignoring what has occurred in your past is the breeding ground for pathology.

Caregivers for the benefit of the children you are raising, please face the issues from your past. Therapy is not for “crazy people” as it has been stigmatized in the past. Therapy is for everyone who is willing to face their past and want to change.

Man and woman holding hands at a table

Close up on a man and a woman holding hands at a wooden table

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How Will You Choose to Deal with Opposing Views?

This past week has been interesting to say the least. Emotions continue to be high as one president exits and another one enters. I found myself having to unfriend someone I have known since I was an undergraduate in college because of the personal attacks he made against others whom I am friends with during a conversation on Facebook. Here is the status that I posted after I unfriended him: “Please understand that I post about things that I care about and are my views. I love to spark debate as long as it is done properly. That is the point of some of my posts. I will not tolerate disrespect. Personal attacks is not the way to change someone’s view on an issue. Don’t quote the Bible if you don’t live by it. You will be blocked!” I am an advocate for having conversations about difficult subjects with people of different view points. That is how change happens whether it is someone adjusting to my view, or me to theirs. But we as a society have to learn how to have conversations without resorting to personal attacks.

I have also been dealing with an issue with a family where the teenager has dug her heels in and is refusing to see reason because she does not want to be seen as weak in the eyes of her peers even though her safety is in jeopardy. Today it hit me that what we have witnessed over the past couple of days is a great testimony. There was an expectation that the inauguration attendance would be record breaking, but instead people showed their voice by not showing up. Now I know there is discrepancy about how many people were there, but pictures truly are worth a thousand words. The very next day women across the United States gathered and marched for women rights. So many so they have not been able to collect the numbers yet. The statement of silence the day before and peaceful protest the next day spoke volumes! And how fitting that this all occurred the week we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday!

Our challenge today is teaching youth that they can show more strength by using wisdom to deal with conflict. Many of the past conflicts I have dealt with have been shut down and resolved using silence, peaceful protest, kindness, love, and a smile. So I challenge us all to use wisdom in how we approach things and find a different way of responding to those who have views that are in conflict with out own.

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Completion

So it has been a long time since I have blogged. Things have been crazy since the last time I wrote. Let’s see I was in a car accident while training for a half marathon. Then I got a promotion at work that turned into full time way earlier than expected. So I would say the last part of 2016 was a time of transition for me. But now we are in 2017 and I am at a place in my life where I have to learn to not just focus on just seeing clients and making it through the day, but I have to learn to maintain all aspects of my personal life at the same time. Which includes being more consistent with blogging. So here goes!

My first blog of 2017 is about what I am already learning for 2017 and not about my goals for 2017. My word for this year is “Completion.” God gave me this word because there are several things that I have allowed to be carried over into 2017 that should have stayed in 2016. For reasons of fear, procrastination, and just being busy I allowed these things to enter into a new year which is unacceptable. I can continue to make excuses or I can do something about it. I am choosing to correct my mistakes. Also, there are new opportunities that I will encounter in 2017 that must be completed in 2017. As I refuse to continue to make the same mistakes.

This year I am not going to publicly reveal my goals list, but as I go throughout the year I will share different things that are on my list and my personal journey to completing them. I will still be an advocate about issues that are important to me. And share the life lessons that I learn along the way. I look forward to the journey of 2017 and my continued growth. I hope each of you join me on this journey of completion!

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Connected and Unstoppable

So I haven’t wrote a post in a long time. The title of this post sums up my current feelings. On Friday I attended the monthly supervision meeting where my director asked each person to talk about the most recent time they felt connected. At first I could not come up with anything because for the past month and a half I have felt disconnected. My 2015 ended with a tragedy, the death of one of my nephews. Due to taking care of the arrangements and my family I did not have a chance to grieve myself. I came back and jumped back into work as usual. Forunately those closest to me knew that I needed to take time to grieve. By the time I was able to schedule a weekend by myself I was run down and ended up sick. So I spent that weekend and the rest of January sick. Hence the feeling of being disconnected. At the beginning of February I started to come around and feel alive again. I was able to come up with a  story during the meeting which was a relief, but as I write this I realize that maybe I was never really disconnected. Everyone deals with grief differently and for me I withdraw and throw myself into my work. Yes I know as a therapist it is not healthy, but it is my truth. I am greatful for the connection that I have with those close to me that they are willing to confront me and make me take care of myself. So I was never really disconnected after all.

Just when I feel like I can breathe life happens again. So yesterday I was awaken to find out that my uncle died. As stated above, I usually retreat but my Little from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program had contacted me and stated that she needed to see me. So I do what I do best suck it up and go. And I am glad that I went. I love that child and spending time with her gives me pure joy. But I began feeling down and went home and got in bed. I had two events to attend last night but as I laid there I started to try and talk myself into not going. But then I thought about how much I missed over the past month and a half and decided that I could not hide away for any more time. So I pushed and I went to both events The first event was the Unstoppable CD release put on by the lovely Danyelle (side note check out her CD if you love Christian Hip Hop). And boy am I glad I went! Talk about a God encounter! The Lord had a word for me from the moment the event began to the moment it ended. Danyelle’s song Unstopable spoke to me. The song talks about realizing that you are unstopable with God on your side. No mattter what comes my way I make the choice to get back up. No matter how many times I fall I will make the choice to get back up. It is hard but I can’t stop, won’t stop. I am unstoppable! Thank you Danyelle for that word and more.

So as I finally mentally start 2016 I am reminded that I am never disconnected from those that are closest to me and no matter what happens I am unstoppable because God is on my side!