“What we need, to ensure the mental and physical health of future generations, is something far more radical and far-reaching than Sure Start – nothing less than a revolution in public policy on the early years. We need parenting classes for girls and – crucially – boys built in to the education system; and psychological support for all new parents, to stop damaging patterns being repeated”
Guardian Article explains ” Parents should not worry about their teenagers’ delinquent behaviour provided they were well behaved in their earlier childhood”
“……. adults who had a long history of offending showed a smaller surface area in many regions of the brain compared with those with a clean track record. They also had thinner grey matter in regions linked to regulation of emotions, motivation and control of behaviour – aspects of behaviour they are known to have struggled with….”
A Rite of Passage is a process or ceremony or weekend or experience (traditionaly an adolescent, but can be any age of male) is invited to go through / attempt / face / embrace.
The Experience is organised / held / facilitated by Older/Elder Men, each of whom will have previously completed the same process. (So they understand what the Adolescent is attempting)
The content of the Rites is not known by the young person beforehand but includes Physical, Emotional, Mental challenges, ceremonies, might be outdoors, might be educational, involve mythology, stories or tales or indeed anything.
The Challenges are such that the Participant male won’t know if they can necessary attempt and/or complete what is being asked of them. They will have to look within themselves to tune into hitherto untapped inner resources. There is some fear in the sense that the particpant won’t know if they can do it until they’ve tried it and managed it.
Fear can also be in facing inner emotional challenges, tuning into their vulnerability and, feelings and realising that not only is it survivable but can be very life enhancing
“…the elders were so open and vulnerable, that I felt comfortable to do the same. It’s crazy to think of how us guys are never able to truly express ourselves and the power in having other men to be real and honest with.”
the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself, and I know that this was in no small part down to the leap of faith that I made in going for it with very limited foreknowledge”
“We don’t understand the meaning of our internal experiences until we see them externalised, or played out for us in the faces and reactions of our caregivers”
“This pattern of empathising, then reframing and de-shaming looks uncannily like the mirroring-and-soothing exchanges between mother and infant in the first years of life”
Guardian Article about Early interactions with caregivers can dramatically affect your beliefs about yourself, your expectations of others, and how you cope with stress and regulate your emotions as an adult
“It isn’t hard to see how such attachment patterns can undermine mental health. Both anxious and avoidant coping have been linked to a heightened risk of anxiety, depression, loneliness, eating and conduct disorders, alcohol dependence, substance abuse and hostility. The way to treat these problems, say attachment theorists, is in and through a new relationship. On this view, the good therapist becomes a temporary attachment figure, assuming the functions of a nurturing mother, repairing lost trust, restoring security, and instilling two of the key skills engendered by a normal childhood: the regulation of emotions and a healthy intimacy”
How good are we at passing between generations our learning though experience ?
We are great at documenting and passing material, scientific, technical, and factual information between generations. Year on year more discoveries are made and progress is made as a body of wisdom is generated…..
Or is it?
How good are we at passing between generations our learning though experience, our learning about things that can’t be measured….things like
-Feelings, Thoughts, Intuition, Perception….our Psychology or
-Experience in Relationship, Marriage, Choices, Life, Vulnerability, Daring to tell someone how we feel, taking a risk, opening our hearts?
Alain De Botton in this article likens this absence of sharing of the latter things to being similar to asking each generation to discover the Laws of Physics for themselves…..How crazy would that be?
Counselling can be one way to learn the type of Wisdom that is harder to measure and harder to pass from one generation to another
You have a problem. You go to the Doctor. You might carry some of the following conscious or unconscious assumptions…
– I will tell the Doctor my problem -The Doctor will draw conclusions relatively quickly to allow a ‘treatment path’ to be activated -They will make my problem go away, ideally without me having to do much (apart from maybe take medicine, take it easy etc) -The ‘fix’ is from the outside to the inside -Many similar ‘fixes’ might have been offered by this Doctor to other patients -It might be about getting rid of something or removing something from you
Counsellor or Doctor? How is a session Different?
How is this different from coming to see a Counsellor / Therapist?
-I won’t try to ‘fix’ you -It’s not about making progress necessarily (unless you tell me that’s what you want) -Instead it’s about understanding more clearly WHERE you are and WHY this might be -It’s about understanding how you are affected -It’s about understanding your hopes, fears, imagination, worries, thoughts, and feelings -We might wonder, ponder and consider things in more detail and with more time -You are an individual-We will consider your past, your present, your future -I believe you have all the wisdom and help you need within yourself, but there are some things getting in the way of you being able to access this inner wisdom -You might have to put a bit of yourself in the process and I realise this can be difficult, scary, and hard to imagine, but I’ve taken these steps before you so I might have an idea of how it could work for you
-There is the potential for lasting, real change and growth
Do you sometimes find yourself feeling Anxious or Avoidant in company or in Relationships? There are many many ways to consider this. One possible way is using the idea of “Attachment Theory”.
Your Attachment “style” influences how you are, conciously, or perhaps also unconciously or just in the edge of awareness.
There are 3 major “styles” of Attachment: Anxious, Avoidant, Secure.
Your attachment style evolves as a result of several things like, how you were related to throughout your life starting with pre-verbal times. It is influenced by your experiences, ie ‘nurture’ but also perhaps by “nature” ie how you were born.
How we relate to someone and feel in someones company can change from one person to the next ie it is person and situationally specific.
“Earnt Secure” is another Attachment Style. This means that you “Earn” this way of being/Attaching. For example, it can be possible to change your Attachment style (eg from “Anxious” to “Secure”) by working for/earning this transformation . This can be achieved by any sort of inner or soul or reflective transformational work, whether it be counselling, retreats, reading, journalling etc.
However I’d argue that to change an Attachment Style that was formed “through relationship” (ie as a result of early relational experiences, ie experiences with another) , it is also more likely that your attachment style can be changed more quickly if the work you do to change it, involves relationships or ‘Relational Work’.
Getting to know your Counsellor and working in depth with them is an example of the sort of “Relational Work” that has the potential to change your Attachment Style.
Parent Child Connection is illustrated as 11 year old boy shows Stepdad a video he made of their time together
2 minute video that hints at a childs desire to belong, to be part of something, and hints at the joy the 11 year old feels when in the company of his step-parent. Even when a family still lives under the same roof, it takes some effort, awareness and availability on the part of the parent or caregiver to create a relationship with their children like this. Sometimes there can be reasons why this sort of connection isn’t possible.
What was your experience like of being parented or looked after by a guardian?