I’ve spoken about being told to see a professional and the emotions that came with it. I went on to cover how my daughter felt through the whole process. It has been hard to write and be so open and raw, but it also feels liberating. I didn’t write these pieces for sympathy but to acknowledge that sometimes, we need a little extra professional help. And that there is no shame in asking for help.
So, what did I learn?
One of the biggest things I learnt was to step back and let my child lead me when it comes to how she is feeling. She may not have understood what she was feeling, but she knew she was feeling something while I was merely assuming and guessing. We learnt that communication was key to building a strong, trusting relationship and that bottling things up isn’t a healthy way to deal with the tough times.
What happened at therapy?
We started with a downpour of emotions. What was wrong, how we were dealing with it and what we expected from the therapy sessions. We told her everything. Then it was narrowing down the major issues and how to help them. There was never any judgement – just the relief of someone listening.
Was each session different?
We had ten sessions the first year and each session started with the standard “How was your week?” From there, we dove into what went wrong and what went right. We focused on the positives and broke apart the negatives. Then we separated. Sometimes it was just me and the therapist, voicing my fears of being a failing parent and most times it was just the therapist and my daughter one on one.
What did the one-on-one sessions with your daughter include?
We weren’t told a lot of it as it was a confidentiality thing but the general gist of it was that it was broken into four steps.
- Talking – my daughter had the chance to talk about anything and everything. Including the things that she was worried might make her dad and I angry. It helped unravel how my daughter felt and what triggered those emotions.
- Play – the therapist used play as a way to ease my daughter into talking more and for a chance to observe her. It helps a child put down their barriers and creates a level of trust. It also promotes happy memories and gives them something to focus on which helps sooth anxiety.
- Activities – these were small games like role-playing or story-telling to see how she reacted to certain situations and so the therapist would work out a game plan on how to help her deal with the scenarios she struggled with.
- How to solve problems – The therapist gave us so many amazing techniques to help my daughter. The stepladder approach, wheel of emotions and deep breathing worked perfectly for her. We were also given a lot of information on how to handle anxiety.
Downloading ParentalEQ BackPack App since then has done nothing but strengthen and back up our therapy goals with helpful activities like detective thinking, defusing, and accepting her thoughts, recognising, and handling her fears. I also feel empowered. I’m helping my daughter.
What did the therapist recommend?
She actually recommended seeing a paediatrician as well. Turns out a lot of her anger and frustrations stemmed from never being able to properly sleep and recharge. On top of that, we realised that she needed glasses for a hyperactive nerve that made her focus too much on one thing and neglect others and that her adenoids were causing her to filter what she heard which in turn made things slip through.
How did you feel after therapy?
Relief. Pure, adulterated, near instant relief. There was something truly calming about having someone in your corner without judging. Someone that understood where both you and your child were coming from and had solutions to those hard questions.
Would I recommend therapy?
I would recommend therapy to anyone who is struggling or just needs a little professional advice. I have been to therapy for myself and it went a long way to help me as a parent. There is unfortunately still a stigma that is attached to seeking help that we need to break if we are to move forward to helping ourselves and our children.
Talking. Understanding. Helping. Accepting.
Today, my daughter is 9 (going on 21) and has lost a lot of her wildness. She still has bad days, horrible days, and days where we put on movies and call it a day. But she has grown into her personality and owns it like the mini-Queen she is. Communication is really important and helping her to understand her worries or fears is a big help in that aspect. Having therapy and now ParentalEQ’s BackPack App in our arsenal has been a monumental help.
We use ParentalEQ BackPack App’s so when those bad days happen, it is a mere speed bump and not a mountain to climb over. It is so much more helpful than sitting waiting for answers when they have already forgotten the question. It has been amazing in working with or without the therapy sessions. And having it available in your back pocket eliminates a lot of the fear leading up to seeing a professional.
From the heart & by the head of Casey Luxford