Archive for www.attachplace.com – Page 2

Love Matters Bootcamp Day 5–Empathy and Blaming

Love Matters Bootcamp Day 5–Empathy. I have sent this out to YOU before, but do yourself a favor and take 2 minutes and 53 seconds to watch it again. 
 
Brene Brown on Empathy 2
And now, the very thing that blocks Empathy–Blaming. Come on, just 3 minutes and 14 seconds more.
 
Brene Brown on Blaming
 
These are my two favorite things to watch.  I do it over and over. They are short and on-point. I wonder what the world would be like if everyone ate-up these two videos every morning for breakfast.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Empathy supports connection. Play more. Blame less.
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Love Matters Bootcamp Day 4–Hope

Love Matters Bootcamp–Day 4. There was once a time in my mothering life when “Despair” was my middle name.  I don’t know how I got through it.  Must have been some kind of divine intervention.  All I know is that I felt like an anvil was embedded in my chest and there was an awful vibration rattling me to the core.  I felt like I was going to explode, implode, or both; every day I had to white knuckle this horrible experience in a way that didn’t further harm my already traumatized children.  At that time I was sure my kids were never going to grow up and that I was going to combust before they made it to adulthood. I told you it was “Despair.”
 
Turns out I have a few characteristics hardwired into me that rose to the parenting occasion:  seriously die-hard work ethic, blind faith, and a belief in the healing power of love.  Together those things buoyed me when I was going under for the third time.  I didn’t even know enough to tell myself this, but it turns out it was playing in the background anyway: Just keep going, keep loving, and have faith in what you believe.  
 
If you find yourself living side-by-side your own version of “despair,” take heart. YOU are your child’s best hope for healing. Don’t personalize their trauma reactions. They do grow up. They are better for having YOU. Never give up. Your hard work pays off. YOU just have to wait for it.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Hope springs eternal.
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Love Matters Bootcamp Day 3–Diving Deep

Love Matters Bootcamp Day 3–Diving Deep.  Yesterday YOU looked at what is bugging you.  Today, dive a little deeper. Sometimes things happen to make us feel really upset, super dooper worried, or scared out of our wits. These things strike us at the core and we go into survival mode.  What puts you into survival mode?
 
Truth zone
Triggers send you straight to fight, flight, flee or freeze.  Zero to 60 and you are gone baby.  Write ’em down.  This is your work. When you see a challenge up ahead, regulate before you get your survival on.  That’s how you treat a trigger with lots of good fresh air–deep, deep breaths, space, and TLC for the tremor at the core of YOU.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Know thyself.
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Love Matters Bootcamp Day 2–Owning Your Own Sh#*t

Love Matters Bootcamp–Day 2 starts with “owning your own crap.” I have suddenly become very PC.  What is bugging me is my problem. 
Bug
My son enjoys talking to me a lot of the time.  He is doing nothing wrong, but it bugs me; therefore, it is my crap, not his.  When I get crazy irritated, it is my irritation.  He isn’t making me feel anything. I am responsible for taking care of myself, and, as a mother, helping my son see how his desire to talk can be annoying to others who are not in the listening mood.  His talking is not the problem, per se. My not taking care of myself is.
 
The solution might be managed entirely by me, entirely by him, or by collaboration.  If I were to handle it in a vacuum, I could walk away every time I am not in a listening mood or I could announce that I am not in a listening mood the second I realize it.  On my own, there is no way to make him stop talking or to have better social skills.
 
If he managed it entirely, he might stumble upon a social cue that could help him read the listener better, so he knows when enough is enough. He could decide he doesn’t like talking to me and never speak to me again. Then again, he could have some kind of sudden spring into maturity realizing that everyone is not interested in his every thought–we know that is not likely to happen.
 
If we collaborate, I could ask for what I need from him–some non-talk together time.  I could suggest we divine a signal to help him see that I am not in a listening mood.  I could help him see the social cue every time I am giving it.  If he has trouble observing the cue, I can go back to resolving the problem on my own–leave the room.
 
Making talking the problem is the problem.  Ownership is the answer.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

If I’m bugged, it’s my bug.
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The Wink

It was 4 PM and my contractions were intensifying. I still felt on top of them and naively considered that maybe I had grown more pain tolerant since my previous labor. This time around I wouldn’t want/need an epidural.

Hahahahahahahaha…

The nurse examined me and shook her head grimly saying, “You are only 3 cm dilated. ” She informed me that they had a strict policy to not admit women until they were at least 4 cm.”

I said, “But I’m 42 years old.”

The nurse looked at me sadly and said she’d check with her boss before sending me home. She returned looking positively cheery. She exclaimed, “Good news! We can give you a ‘pity admit.’”

Yes, it’s a thing: “Pity admit,” for those women who are managing labor so pathetically that the staff relents and lets them take a bed.   Luckily, in the midst of excruciating pain, my pride takes a back seat.

I was instructed to walk around for an hour to speed up the labor, which I did with my husband, Randy, on my right. The contractions intensified more. I remembered my previous two un-medicated labors and insisted that we return to my bed so I could get the epidural NOW, to which they complied. The epidural nurse was magazine-beautiful with long blond hair. She announced, “I love my job,” as she stuck the needle in my back.

All better.

Then we chilled for four hours.

Finally the nurse said that I was 10 centimeters. The doctor arrived in 20 minutes. She was a slim, dark-haired, no-nonsense, energetic woman in her 50s named Dr. M.

Dr. M told me to push and I did as instructed.     Except, Sam didn’t come. He didn’t move an inch. He appeared to be stuck. Not only was he stuck, but his heart rate decelerated every contraction, which was a red flag for the doctor.

I tried harder to push. Nothing. Sam didn’t move and his heart kept dropping. Then during one contraction, it dropped down so far that the nurse and the doctor grabbed me and pushed my knees to my chest while pushing me over onto my left side. I was exhausted and in a dreamy altered state so their intervention felt intrusive and strange.

“What are you doing?” I demanded.

They pointed to the monitor and said that his heart rate had dropped too much. I knew they were worried.

This is my third child, third pregnancy, third labor, and so I know something that first time moms can’t possibly fully understand. Being a mother is a profoundly vulnerable experience because you realize that your child could die right before you, and even if they live there is only so much you can do to protect them from pain. The realization is searing.   Every single parent bumps into a horrifying reality: ultimately, I am powerless. We do what we do to protect our little ones from danger and heal their hurts, but there is always that edge of powerlessness we must learn to live with at the cost of loving deeply. There is no way around it, and I hate it.

This was the first time I felt that fear with Sam. I squeezed Randy’s hand and he squeezed back.

The doctor instructed that I stop pushing.   It was decision-making time.

Dr. M said that there were three choices:

  • Vacuum
  • C-section
  • Stay the course

The third option was the most risky.

“I’m scared.”

The doctor replied, “Me too.”

When I tell people this part of the story they always gasp and express righteous indignation, “You should have told her to go get someone who knows what they are doing!!!” I don’t share the outrage.

I loved the doctor for this honesty. I loved that she gave me a choice and didn’t have an answer because that’s life and I imagine (If Grey’s Anatomy has taught me anything) that this is never truer than on the operating table. The crossroads don’t have definitive signs and cost/benefit analysis must be done in a split second. Sometimes intuition is our only guide. So when Dr. M told me she was scared, she let me know two things:

  • She cared.
  • She owned her vulnerability. She wasn’t omnipotent   She was like me, but with a medical degree.

The next contraction came and I threw up. Baby Sam skootched over to the middle of my stomach. I decided to stay the course, for now. I pushed again. Dr. M looked at me. Her face 3 inches from my vagina, her hands ready to catch the baby, and then….She winked.

When I think of my labor this is the indelible imprint of the whole experience, not my baby’s arrival. Sure, that was earth shattering and transcendent, but my tiny OB perched between my legs with a smile and a big wink cannot be erased. It’s funny that we cannot escape ourselves. Even though this was a real life, cliff-hanger moment, my brain had the stamina and the gall to have an awkward social moment. “Should I wink back?” I wondered. I decided against it.

It was 1 AM. I pushed with everything I had left. With a mighty UMMPH, he slipped out and everyone cheered. He cuddled onto my chest and I held him close. Big love. One minute into a relationship with this baby and I already knew that I was sunk. I was totally and completely crazy in love with my sweet blue-eyed baby boy, Samuel Reed Olden.

The Attach Place  Center for Strengthening Relationships

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Parenting with heart,

Jennifer Olden, LMFT

Love Matters Bootcamp Day 1

I am so excited.  I must be, because it is 5am and I am up and ready to roll. The Attach Place is in “Love Matters” Bootcamp–Day 1–with a family of six from out-of-town. Bootcamp is an attachment-intensive therapeutic dose of family healing–no boots required.
 
Come along for part of the ride by trying on something new each day for two weeks that can help propel your relationship with your attachment challenged child forward.  Since it is Spring Break for most kids, this might be a good time to pump up the volume on the heart of things.
 
Day 1–Try This:
Get out a nice fancy piece of paper, giant poster board, or even a recycled lined notebook sheet (if that’s what you have.)  During snack time today, put a nice treat on the table and tell your child(ren) that YOU really want to acknowledge his/her “fabulousness.”  Then, proceed to write down on that paper (big and celebratory or small and humble) your child’s strengths.  YOU start with one strength and then ask your child for another.  If you have more than one child, have everyone contribute a strength for that child.  Repeat until your brainstorm naturally runs out.
 
If you have lots of children, this is a great opportunity to take turns around the table shining on everyone in round robin style.  Make it quick and light, being sure to stop before the fun runs out.  If your child(ren) gets into it, then make an art project out of it by having your child draw/color a picture of him or herself being all these wonderful qualities at once.  Pin it up somewhere public.
 
If this activity goes sideways, it will likely be because of shame hiding in the background.  No worries.  Take over, list a few strengths YOU see, and quickly stick the paper on the frig with a magnet. Your child is watching, so don’t let shame reign. Be proud. Be delighted. Be done.
 
See YOU on Love Matters Bootcamp–Day 2.  
 
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Resist letting your child’s hardwired shame rule the day or draw yours out.
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Coercive Therapy

I read an article this morning about a psychologist in Oregon who primarily treated Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosed children who lost her license and is being held accountable for wrongful doing after an 11-year-old child committed suicide.  I don’t know the intimate details of the case, so I am not writing this to you to say shame on anyone, her or the system.  I am writing this to you to say that treatment of children with attachment challenges is tricky and needs to be very thoroughly thought through.  
 
Be careful what advice you take.  There are coercive therapies still being readily practiced that have been deemed harmful to children. In the early years of having my own children I sought advice from many experts and the prevailing treatment for RAD was coercive.  I subjected my own children to recommended interventions, such as strong sitting for too long, forced calisthenics for punishment, therapies that demanded my children scream that they hated me, and lots of pointless hard labor.  I did this for about two years before my heart just couldn’t keep going.  
 
I made my children afraid of me through this coercive treatment.  I honestly had no idea what else to do and I followed the prevailing wisdom of the therapist I was seeing.  Actually, I sought many therapists who did this form of therapy and I did some myself. There is one popular book I still see parents come to me with that I have to dissuade them from using.  Every time I ask them not to use the interventions, they say…”But they work.”  Coercion works in the short run, but it causes long term-negative effects.  Trust me on this.
 
Over the years, I learned other ways of intervening with love and structure, empathy and understanding.  It is both harder and easier in the long run.  I had to repair much of the damage my early interventions caused, like fear and hatred in my children toward me. I did that to them, and I will be forever remorseful about it. YOU can know I have made my amends, but it doesn’t undo the damage to our relationships. 
 
Sometimes good therapies are used punitively.  Beware of your own desire to punish with perfectly fine interventions.  For example, it is okay to ask your children to sit by you until they calm.  It is okay to keep them safe by holding them until they can regulate.  What isn’t okay is using these things when you are angry and when you want to scare and control your children just because they are naughty and willful.  This is the tricky part.  It is not healthy for children to be able to hold all the power in a family, so a fine line is necessary.
 
Here is a link to what is called The White Paper on Coercion in Treatment that sets forth the standards for treatment of attachment challenged children.  It is long, about 12 pages, but an essential read in order to protect your children from misguided harm by therapists and by yourself.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

The truth is hard to bear sometimes. 
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Sick Days Have Silver Linings

Today was a sick day for me–migraine from jackhammer.com. I don’t know about you, but my sick days have silver linings.  Both of my children are angelic when I am sick.  They are helpful, loving, concerned, and attentive.  It is down right weird.  Makes me think I don’t ask for help often enough.  Apparently, I am too capable. Only under the anvil of a migraine (and cancer treatment) do I become a bed-bound-blob.  I think it scares the heck out of my kids, but it shapes them up in a heartbeat and they were trained by the best on how to care for people–me.
 
I think I did a pretty good job of modeling caregiving, because they are good at it.  Makes me think about staying in bed all day just for fun once in a while–not really.  It sure is nice to see their soft eyes looking in on me, their sweet tones of voice asking me if I need anything, and their persistent checking back.  I love that.  I love that they both have this wired into them.  
 
Modeling love (even when you don’t feel terribly inspired in the moment) matters–we reap what we sow.  
I read that somewhere.winkwink 2
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Look for the silver linings.  
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Annoying For Attention

I have a number of children I work with who annoy for attention. Attention is attention to them regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Some attachment challenged children have difficulty being vulnerable enough to seek attention in a pro-social way.  To do that would be to admit that s/he has emotional needs in the first place.  
 
My son has mastered the art of the ridiculous question to get my attention.  Last night he came into the room where I was writing with, “Mom, I’m wondering why it is that I really like to go to those swim parks. Why do you think I like them so much?”
 
Out of the blue from another child, “One time when I was visiting my grandmother’s farm the dog farted so loud the cats ran into the barn.”
 
“Can you see air?”
 
“I noticed cats have big eyes.”
 
“Can we talk?  I have a mod and the thingys are cute.  Can I show them to you?”  
 
“Mom, I didn’t know you were home.  Are you home now?”
 
“Why do I like cauliflower that way and not the other way?” 
 
“The worst thing to call a teacher is Mrs. P.”
 
Really?
attentionseeking
 
Our children need attention and they need corrective parenting. They need help seeking attention in a positive way.  Give solid eye contact saying, I would love to talk with you about something more interesting or in a voice that I can better listen to or about something more meaningful to you. Here I am. Try again, Sweetie Pie.
 
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Genuine connection is a skill and a gift.
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Pigeon Holes Are Tricky

What we believe about ourselves, we manifest.  What we believe about our children, they become.  Be careful what YOU believe.
 
All day today I thought my son didn’t get up in time to go to school. At some point during the day I sent a note to his school saying so. Then in the afternoon I texted him a reminder that no school means no computer.  He texted me back, “I’m on my way home from school now Mom.”  
 
Wha?
 
Because he woke himself up by his own alarm, left no crumbs across the kitchen, and exited kindly without a peep so as not to awaken me from my sleep, I thought he was still cocooned behind his closed bedroom door.  I left for work believing he, as usual, did not get himself up and, as promised, I was stridently refusing to be his alarm clock.
 
My son is pigeon holed in my mind by my beliefs about him.  It is wrong of me. He can be a good family member.  He was this morning.  Once he “gets” something, he usually gets it for good. Of course, there are relapses, but my pigeon hole is not going to be the reason.
 
What do you believe about your attachment challenged child?  
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.

Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Believe.