Psychotherapy, or personal counseling with a psychotherapist, is an intentional interpersonal relationship used by trained psychotherapists to aid a client or patient in problems of living. (Wikipedia)
Here are seven common therapies that can help an adopted child (and her parents):
- Massage Therapy
- Play Therapy
She very clearly refused to play with the Asian baby, which was a surprise but was also a valuable way for her to express her anger at being different. As she matured, she began to choose Asian dolls over Caucasian ones, but as a toddler, it clearly upset her and needed to be "played out." Interestingly, when we put our four-year-old son into Play Therapy after his sister came home, his play involved mommy animals leaving their babies behind in the forest. After many repetitions of the same game, he began to have a different animal mommy care for the abandoned baby. Heartbreaking, yet beautiful.
- Music Therapy
- Art Therapy
It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. (The American Art Therapy Association)
While we haven't explored this with Mae yet, it is clear that pummeling play doh and drawing are great ways to relax her. She will often draw the same picture, which is herself in our house with a tree and a sun. Very typical. Recently, she's begun drawing the same picture upside down - so that there are two pictures on the page, upside down from each other. When I asked her about it, she explained that the other picture was of her in China. Ah ... oh course. I do love art.
- Narrative Therapy
Narrative therapy holds that our identities are shaped by the accounts of our lives found in our stories or narratives. A narrative therapist is interested in helping others fully describe their rich stories and trajectories, modes of living, and possibilities associated with them. At the same time, this therapist is interested in co-investigating a problem's many influences, including on the person himself and on their chief relationships. (Wikipedia)
Fascinating, as Spock would say. Our therapist had us create a narrative for Mae by way of a simple Lifebook, softcover, with lots of room for growth and change. By reading this simple little book to her each night, or whenever she asked, she was able to learn the skeleton of her life story which naturally led to further probing about possible details. It is a constant process with our children - those "what if's" of their life before we met them.
- Sleep Therapy
Our family has explored many of these therapies, not only with Mae, but with our sons as well. This is another area to recognize that many children suffer issues in their childhood and sometimes adoption has nothing to do with it! A sensitive child is just that - sensitive, and therapy may help.
What, if any, therapies have you explored with your child? Do you think therapy can help some of the issues your child faces, or are you dealing with them successfully on your own?