Immediate goals apply to the heart of my sessions.
A child’s interest is elusive, so it is imperative that I act fast and
cut to the chase. Children are not into sitting there while an adult talks about the importance of feelings. And battles have to be picked wisely. Immediate action is taken to help the little kid experience feelings right then, during our time together.
Independence and the “I did it” moments of achievement may often a staple of life for most of the children I have seen in therapy.
Here, we look at the desire to achieve “bravery.” Who would not like to be considered brave and have evidence of this proven right before someone’s very eyes?
I present to the child, a sheet with levels and circles indicated for
each stage of bravery accomplished. The top stage is labeled “a little uncomfortable” to help signify achievement of actions which pose a small amount of anxiety.
These actions may require talking about family situations with me.
Notice there are 3 circles in the top-level of the sheet.
I can usually begin this exercise with the child by saying “Okay. When you do a little scary thing in here, I will fill in a circle. When we are able to fill in three circles, you get a token (3 tokens for reward). Then it’s time for the real brave stuff.
Depending on the child and his or her level of motivation, there is an understanding of how each level is achieved. Emotions and feelings are immediately presented and expressed in an individual manner. It is much easier for the child to talk about
feelings when these are experienced at the moment.