Saturday, May 13, 2006

Self Capacities

Risking Connection ( ). is a foundational trauma theory course. The basic premises are that symptoms are adaptive, and that they are best healed within a RICH relationship (one containing Respect, Information, Connection and Hope). The underlying trauma framework is that:
Childhood traumatic experience(s) lead to traumatized development, which includes disrupted attachments, a sensitized nervous system, and impaired self-capacities. These self capacities are: inner connection, self worth, and feelings management. When the youth encounters a current stress, he or she experiences an intolerable emotional state. He only knows negative/extreme coping strategies. We call these coping strategies symptoms. They include: retreat, self-destruction and other-destruction.

The only path to decreasing these symptoms, preventing crisis, and helping the youth to have a life worth living is to increase the self capacities. The youth must learn how to keep a sense of a loving connection to others even when the other is not physically present. She must develop a sense that she is worthwhile and deserves to be alive. And she must learn feelings management skills.

So when a child has had a behavioral problem, how can our response help him develop these capacities? Our first step would be (in advance of a crisis) to assess which of the skills he particularly lacks (many of our clients do not have any of them), and which skill deficits tend to lead to the most problematic behavior.

Then our Restoration for the behavioral issue can focus on activities that develop these skills.

To develop a sense of a loving connection, the child could: write a list of people who love her, collect affirmations from people and put in a box to read in times of difficulty, make a poster of pictures of people or magazine pictures that remind them of positive people in their life, or chose a staff member she likes and interview him or her and write a magazine article about them.

To increase their sense of being worth while, a child could make something or cook something. He could make a list of his skills and his accomplishments with staff. He could do something for others- read to the younger children, collect food for a food pantry.

To learn feelings management skills a child can utilize a feelings chart or thermometer. She could make posters to explore her feelings. She could do a chain analysis. She could practice relaxation techniques, make a list of distraction activities, or create a crisis kit.

Children will change and grow when they master the skills they missed during their development, and thus become able to survive life stress and to make, keep and remember loving relationships.

1 comment:

personal development said...

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