Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Attachment focused family therapy with foster/adopt children

A good resource book that I recommend to the parents in my practice is "Parenting from the Inside out" written by Daniel Siegel, a Psychiatrist and Neuro-scientist and Mary Hartzell, a Nursery School Teacher. Although first published in 2003, I find the information extremely relevant and useful today, as a parent and a therapist. In the first few pages they mention that this is not a 'how-to' book, it is a 'how-we' book. The authors share examples from their own parenting experiences and experiences with families in their respective fields of learning.
There is also some basic, easily readable, useful information about neuro-science and brain research describing how we as human beings remember and learn; the relevance of implicit and explicit memory; how we attach; how we make sense and meaning of our internal experiences.
Each chapter of this  book is  followed by easy and useful exercises for a parent  to do to gain personal insight and learning. Personally, I find new learning is freeing! The chapter on child and adult, attachment includes in it a page with 'Questions for parental self-reflection'.
I encourage the parents in my practice to take the time to answer these questions to help them gain some self-understanding and gain some freedom from the bindings of old negative internal working models  (ie. the way we were parented often shows up in the way we parent and what we believe about parenting - both negative and positive. 'Children should be seen and not heard' is an obvious example of this ).  The hope in this approach is that a parent can gain some space to try new ways of relating with their child.  Gaining the information and space to try something new is extremely important for a parent, particularly when you find yourself entrenched in a power struggle with your child

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