Workshop-BUILDING SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR CAREGIVERS OF DISTURBED FAMILY MEMBER

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Workshop May 2018-page-001

 

 

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Role of Art & Art Therapy

Role of Art & Art Therapy in the Holistic Development of Children and Psychological Healing of Clients with Emotional Issues

A brief descriptive summary of the Workshop on Art Therapy held on April 14, 2018

Art, Art classes, Painting sessions, Summer Art Classes! What are they all about? How do they help or benefit the growth and development of children at all ages?

Art can help children improve their communication skills, their social interaction and emotional and physical development.

Are art classes different from Art Therapy? Who can benefit from Art Therapy?  What activities are involved in Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is the deliberate use of art to address psychological and emotional needs. Art Therapy uses the media of art and the creative process to help in areas such as, but not limited to, fostering self-expression, creating coping skills, managing stress and strengthening a sense of self.

Art includes visual (like painting) and expressive arts (like music, clay work, poetry, dance, sand therapy and drama/theatre). Art is different from Art Therapy. Art Therapy involves the use of art for psychological counselling to treat developmental (mental or intellectual limitations), medical conditions (cancer, dementia), and resolution of unexpressed emotional conflicts. Art Therapy can also be used to manage troubled behaviors (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, self-injurious behaviors, anger issues in children), building interpersonal skills (socially shy, introvert temperament), regulating emotions in stressful situations (occupational, academic, career related areas) and to achieve insight of more troubled emotions (in abuse, loss of loved on, failure etc)

Art Therapy has several benefits.

Some of these may be physical like building strength in arms, hands and fingers (in young babies/toddlers, in those with weak hand or limb muscles) by activities like holding crayons, paint brushes, pencils.

Art Therapy also helps in sensory exploration, as a fun filled, pressure free, pleasurable activity of creating things that are colorful.

Art Therapy also helps in improving eye-hand and motor co-ordination.

For preschoolers, the creation of art maybe a big accomplishment as they enjoy the process of involving in art by representing real or imagined objects. This helps them develop their thinking process and imagination.

For school going children, Art may help in preparation or further improvement of writing skills and better motor control of the finger grasp. These children can also develop a sense of sharing, responsibility, social skills development and social interactions as they work in groups. Art also helps improve observation skills necessary for life and academics, helps them to interact or be more sensitive to nature and the surrounding environment. Art also helps them share their experiences, express or verbalize their feelings and helps them improve their self-esteem.

Art Therapy can include activities like painting, drawing, sketching, doodling or visual arts. Art Therapy can also include activities of movement or expression like music, dance, drama, role plays, and sand therapy.

Art Therapy facilitates positive change by involving in the creation of something- productivity as an achievement in depression. Art Therapy can also be used as a distraction in obsessive compulsive behaviors shifting the focus away from the obsessive compulsive behavior.

Art Therapy can also help with the ventilation of emotions that are difficult to express using words especially in conditions of anxiety, abuse, or anger/acting out in children as well as in adults.

Art Therapy thus allows an individual to get in touch with their feelings that they find difficult to express otherwise.

Art Therapy modifies the physiology and structure of the brain and leads to a more flexible, adaptable individual. The therapy works with multiple senses (vision, touch, smell, hearing) in addition to muscle movements and social interactions with others. Art Therapy can thus help to heal an individual mentally, emotionally, and physically while they build skills to cope with the pressures of life.

At our center, Manasvin’s Center for Marital and Family Therapy, we use art therapy effectively as a psychological healing method.

We have an artist (trained from Shantiniketan) who works individually and through group sessions. Art Therapy sessions are customized to the needs of each client based on inputs from a trained clinical psychologist and includes visual arts (painting, drawing, sketching) and expressive arts like Music Therapy (Guitar, Flute), Work with Clay, Sand Therapy, Role Plays, Poetry and Story writing and telling sessions.  

 

Does one’s body comfort influence interpersonal relationships?

Let us look at a hypothetical situation. This is a normal life event that every mother with a new born baby goes through. The newborn is completely dependent on the mother for nourishment. Apart from her own requirements of rest, nourishment and hygiene,  the mother has to cater to the needs of her baby. This places demands on the mother in terms of disturbed sleep-wake cycles and extra nutritional requirements. That can be stressful to the mother. But we usually consider it as a normal life event or a transformation or adjustment that the woman has to make to care for their baby. However, when there is a body illness such as a fever or cold, or when three is a long term illness such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer or nervous system disorders or hormonal disturbances, the discomfort with the body can influence relationships with other people. The ability to take the hassles of life such as long or irregular working hours, adjustments to be made to the needs of other family members etc can become additional stressors . Irritability, low tolerance levels and changing needs of family members can aggravate discomfort. Long term effects of inability to listen to each other, reduced understanding levels, lead to misinterpretations, misunderstanding and the feeling of independence rather than interdependence and further leading to isolation and loneliness.   When there are problems or crisis situations, then extra need for support systems in terms of working together and emotional availability can become challenges.

Regular sleep and adequate nutrition, and family time together in terms of fun time or relaxing times, communication at appropriate times, help to maintain the body and mind balance, in turn helping with the ability to relate to significant others in one’s life. Good exercise, Yoga, taking or seeking help from other family members on days that are more demanding, to meet specific needs, will help strike a balance and help in smooth functioning of the family unit.

In certain situations, processing of sensory inputs may be disturbed and there may be increased sensitivity to different sensations. In such situations, the environment may have to be controlled to help maintain a level of comfort with the body. These situations may add more distress to the already stressed mother and all family members have to work together to keep everyone happy.

 

SENSORY OVERLOADING AND IT’S EFFECTS ON OUR FUNCTIONING

With the fast growing technology all around the world, what we knew today is already outdated by tomorrow. Does this ultra fast pace help us grow or pull us down or challenge us with new issues to tackle?If stability and consistency help us move with better integration,too much use of technology can definitely have ill effects on our psychological health and healthy human relations.With so called fast moving life/routine we all are supposedly busy with, how much meaningful interactions are really happening?

Sensory overload is our new terminology that can undoubtedly have effects on our not so meaningful human interactions at work place or with in our own family members. How many of us really listen to,see what is happening in front of us with undivided attention and sense right meaning of what we hear ! With thousand-and-one things running in the background of our minds we end up half listening/seeing and so impatient that we want just the conclusions or solutions! Is it not our common experience? But still we move on with our routines reassuring to ourselves  how we managed a meaningful and productive day.Sensory overloading can have drastic effects on the young growing minds of our children with no meaningful learning happening in spite of all the necessary gadgets that as parents proudly feel, we provided for our children irrespective of their receptive status. It has nothing to do with lacking intelligence or unable to remember information.Sensory overloading is inability to filter meaningful information from the meaningless.We all take our brains for granted that it can handle, process endless information! When we cannot have peaceful sleep that lost it ‘s refreshed feel, when we can’t have a healthy meal at regular intervals, our body indicates by easy fatigue and low concentration levels. So does our brain and it’s functioning.

Sensory processing disorder/sensory processing dysfunction is the condition clinically diagnosed in children. Child is happy to go to school but unable to make friends,always jumpy/nosy coming in the way of others,quick to grasp new concepts able to recollect one time but cannot at other times,sensitive to touch/noise, clumsy in eating/ dressing, easily tearful,moody, likes open places/outdoors and extremely restless indoors/restricted mobility, always fidgeting/restless can be confusing for parents and teachers as well. Is this child autistic or hyperactive? neither. These are symptoms of sensory perceptual dysfunction.No issues with intelligence, no sensory deficits but needing right doses of sensory stimulation.Is it treatable?definitely and very effectively not by medicines but by individually tailored occupational therapy.

Occupational therapy is the treatment module specially tailored to meet the individual child’s need for right sensory stimulation. It is usually very interesting fun filled activities to meet the right dose of sensory needs of your child.This includes wide range of activities of swinging,sand play,art & hand work such as free painting, knitting and most importantly unhurried and relaxed environment where children can be spontaneous and at their best. Can they become like any other child? go to school? A definite “YES” as long as you provide the right sensory stimulation at home until your child adapts to (based on each child’s need for right sensory stimulation).

Who can help? it’s a team work of developmental pediatrician,curative educator,physiotherapist and occupational therapist and of course an open minded parenting and not the least a sensitive teacher.

Then what is the way out for an adult overloading? An adult can easily recognise the symptoms of overload and work accordingly. Mould your environment with right mix of fun and work. It’s alright if every minute of your day is not focused towards spending only on productive activities but it’s not alright if you lose a precious relation or fail to listen to your child in need. Explore what can relax your mind and body -art/music/yoga/fitness in body and mind/travel/nature/good food/explore your own interests if you never explored so far.That will provide you the right solution.

Is School sufficient to meet the learning needs of our children?

With wider choices now available for schooling of our children,a possible lack of clarity is developing in parents as to the right choice of school for their children. The search includes affordability of fee to an individual opinion of what purpose a school should meet. More wider choices of schools means more options to choose from and more schools that are better or more worse.

Parents are the best persons to choose for their children, but are they able to do the best? Some of us go by opinions of our friends/families, some feel more strict discipline at school is much better for children, some focus on academics and some on sports or extracurricular activities. Overall, everyone tries to make a decision with a focus on what is good for the future of their children. But do we ever look closely at or sensitively at our own children’s needs in terms of how our child is same or different from rest of the them? Or if placing a child in a particular school is helping or harming our children? Does the infrastructure- big building & large school grounds, digital classrooms reward or intimidate your child? It’s time for parents to think rather seriously as to what is a right choice of school for our children’s long term growth!

We as parents have to exercise the right choice if we believe learning is a life long purpose/process than restricting it to a career for survival or to develop a meaningful occupation.How many of us adults are convinced that what we learnt as kids is of use to us now for our personal or professional growth or for identity/survival purpose? We are in such a rush that our children has to meet our foregone dreams or decide their career path by 16 or 17 years or much earlier before their 10th birthday. We want to just fit our kids to an ever changing society or help them to somehow adjust to harsh realities of life, like more money, more fame, high social status and a better life without understanding the needs or pace at which the child wishes to develop. How many of us think that playing is necessary for child’s personality growth? Do we have a value system for ourselves as a family? Does our value system evolve with time or does it remain stable? Does it change as per our view at different levels in our life’s path? More questions often lead to better search or more confusion. Do we feel is it necessary to spend time so seriously when we have so many choice of schools available?

Irrespective of above questions,as parents we have responsibility to provide / expose our children to a wider system of learning.That cannot be possible in one day or one year.Listening to our children,observing their behavior or rather taking time for our children by meaningfully interacting with them will provide opportunity to question and find answers.It gives solutions to much more questions than that posed in above paragraphs.School is just one system in the process of learning but currently considered the most powerful system as it occupies /shapes our children’s lives in their rapid growing years.This is the time to sow more meaningful seeds in their tender minds.If we stop looking at academic achievement alone as the goal & expose our children to more wider areas of learning such as  less competitive sports & games to promote their physical growth needs,field trips/family tours focussed  towards natural animal/wild life exposure,(which kids can relate better), by introducing informal systems of learning , it may help to form firm basis to sciences in a practical sense. Hearing children relate their daily experiences of  routine  spent at school gives an idea of their experiences with peers, teachers &the kind of environment they are exposed & how much positive or negative experience added in their lives & how much meaningful learning happening  rather than judging them based on their progress report. Exposing children to different environments helps them & parents to figure out regarding their areas of interest such as sports,arts,music etc.This further helps  to plan right path for them.It’s not necessary to panic if child takes time to explore & decide where & what is their choice or area of interest.Inspite of our good intentions to give our children the best,if we cannot relate to them at their level of communication,our intentions may not be productive.Forcing kids to take our choices make them more dependent on us and lead to a situation where they fail to exercise their potential.A system of education that gives an impression of failure in academics is only damaging a child’s personality even before it is starting to unfold.

There is sensible need for parents to take time and think seriously about what is the best learning for a life time for their child. This has to be an individual decision that considers the individual child rather than rushing to conclusions that has effects for a life time.

Help children by introducing them to a wider world of learning not restricted to a formal classroom.

Highly Career Oriented Parents are a boon or bane to their children?

Career oriented parents maybe considered as good role models for their children but sometimes can be disastrous if children have their own dreams to fulfill or limitations in their abilities. Often, children are brought to clinical attention for psychological evaluation with stress related to perceived expectations even though not obviously spoken by or demanded by their parents. Unspoken influences by parents seem to bother children especially in the teenage group. Often, parents talk to their friends about their children (in the presence of the child) as to how he/she stood first in a game/academic performance, indirectly suggesting the child that he/she will be appreciated when in limelight. The growing teenager with an unfolding temperament of wnating to be accepted and appreciated may be sensitive to such statements. Often, conversations between adults focus on “how many children do you have, what do they do, which school they are in” without any malicious intent but possibly leading to unforeseen consequences. Parents may also consider their children spending time with their friends without engaging in any meaningful “academic” or “competitive activity” as a waste of time or being aimless.

Can parents recognize this change in their child (a drop in motivation) with their own stress, the limited time spent with children, lack of common routine with time shared together? Sometime of a day or at least a day in a week should be set aside for everyone to share their day. This could be structured or unstructured with the focus on sharing both the perceived gains or good stuff as well as the perceived pains or bad stuff.  These sessions may also help to understand specific needs of children. The focus of such sessions is to share and listen and not to sermonize or be judgmental thus encouraging children to feel free to open up about their experiences.

There is a need for parents to recognize that career is important but it alone does not make their child a well groomed or well adjusted personality in future.  Spending quality time together even if it is just talking is a great stress buster for children, quality time will imply that one parents do not multitask during this time period.

Often, parents want children to follow their own career paths so that a separate foundation for career need not be laid, children can just piggy back onto their parents career. Although the intention is often to have their children settle faster and not have to go through the same growing pains, this may sometimes be at the cost of the child’s own dreams and their abilities or limitations.

Success is often a perceptional point of view that will vary with each individual. People can be successful in one aspect of life and be considered as failures in another aspect of life. Showing sensitivity towards your child’s dreams and aspirations may help them reach their full potential and make them a happy person.

Bringing out the hidden potential of your child

BRINGING OUT THE HIDDEN POTENTIAL OF YOUR CHILD

A SIX MONTH TRAINING PROGRAM ON WEEKENDS

With increased complexity of lifestyle and decreasing tolerance levels in our society, our children are the most affected group. Lack of life skills is one important area of concern for growing children. An over emphasis on academics and career is developing our children into incomplete personalities unable to face disappointments. The ability to see failures as stepping stones to their success and all round development is being lost.

Keeping this in mind, we have developed a holistic program on Sundays for children aged 8 to 12 years of age. The program aims to bring out the hidden potential of your child and focused on improving communication skills, assertiveness as well as improving control over anger and impulsive behaviour.

Children will be assessed initially to understand their strengths and areas that can be improved further. This assessment will be conducted by a clinical psychologist and will include collecting information on basic temperament of the child, academic performance, home and school environment and adjustment levels.

Selected children will be trained in practical skills using role plays, dramas, and situational awareness and improving group compliance, verbal expressions, impulse control behaviours, peer interactions and classroom presentations.

The training sessions will be of two hours duration (10.30 am to 12.30 pm) every Sunday and over a period of 6 months starting from January 2014. Each batch will have a maximum of 20 children. Enrolment will be on a first come first served basis. Interested parents should attend the screening session with their child by fixing an appointment.

Venue: Manasvin’s Center for Family Psychotherapy, Anand Nagar Colony, Khairatabad, Hyderabad 500004.  http://psychotherapyhyd.com

Interested parents can call Dr Kavitha Praveen at 9849924478 between 9 am and 9 pm to fix an appointment or for further clarifications.

Can a close/trusting emotional relationship damage the trusted person?

Can a trusted person be damaged by a close or trusting emotional relationship? Sounds illogical but it is possible. Deeper emotional dependence is often considered unhealthy but is an inborn tendency of humans. It is not necessarily a childhood characteristics that we need to outgrow.

Secure dependency is a sign of a healthy relationship, which helps one to be confident and independent in functioning. The more secure we are, the more independent we can be, rather, interdependent and self sufficient we can be. The availability of a emotionally close person provides comfort and security and their lack of access or unavailability can be distressing or hurting. Closeness with an emotionally unaffected person can reduce anxiety and help healthy unfolding of one’s personality. It gives confidence to take risks, learn new information, deal with problems and manage stress effectively in life.

Accessibility and emotional responsiveness are core of healthy bonding between individuals that help build trusting relationships. Our strongest of emotions arise in attachment/emotional relationships.

Insecure emotional relationships can be extremely distressing with anger and aggression experienced on loved ones. Requests for attention and reassurance from emotionally close friends or persons and their failure to respond can lead to anger outbursts, depression leading to detachment over a period of time. Depression maybe a natural response to lost emotional connections. This kind of response or reaction patterns can happen with any relation such as a parent and a child, siblings, wife and husband etc.

Maternal deprivation where an attachment figure is unavailable by rejection or abandonment or loss can be traumatic in the sense of ones ability to deal with fear and stress in one’s life. Unavailable emotional relationships can create insecure attachment with oneself and one’s world leading to inability to handle stress and their ability to emotionally relate to their loved ones.

On the other hand, a close or emotionally attached person can become manipulative or use ones closeness for their selfish needs of material or emotional gains which in the long run can be more damaging to the affected person than helping him or her to deal with the stress. An over-involved parental figure in child activities such as not letting child explore one’s world for fear of hurt or rejection can be damaging to the child in the short and long term as an adult.

In conditions like schizophrenia, it is a well established fact that over involvement, being very critical of ones behavior by an attachment figure or parental figure can be continuous stressors for the symptoms to reappear over a period of ones life time. Rather, these critical behaviors and over involvement can maintain ones psychological disturbance. Non availability of emotionally close relationship can lead to depression which can be limited to oneself or even run in families projecting relational  patterns in a family relationship with repeated cycles over generations.

The extreme form of malfunctioning can happen with unhealthy personalities, where ones close and emotionally related persons, manipulate emotions to the core leaving the attached person hurt and blunt by the distancing over a period of time. Here, such persons can use emotions and emotionally close persons as instruments of meeting their needs, using them as objects than emotional beings, even without their knowledge. In other words, the quality of manipulating one’s loved ones can itself become their natural personality tendency leading to more and more loss of loved ones over a period of their life time and possibly leading to isolation, denial and ultimately lost relationships.

Emotions and emotional relationships are complex and one needs to invest time and energy to analyze and retrospect in order to live and healthy and secure relationships. If one does not make the effort to invest time and energy into the relationship, one can be left depressed, isolated, and even ill.