The first step in helping a child to regulate is finding a calm, regulated place within ourselves. We need to tolerate our OWN distress in order to help our child. The image below is a metaphor for the difference between an adult’s and a child’s capacity to tolerate distress.
As parents, our capacity to manage stress is like the larger tea cup on the right. While we have a large cup, if it becomes too full, a tiny amount will cause the cup to overflow. If we can monitor our own stress level, we can take steps to manage our distress and create space in our cups.
A child’s cup (image on the left) is much smaller. Children have a much lower distress tolerance and haven’t learned how to empty their own cups. They easily become overwhelmed and their cups overflow. One of the safest and most natural ways that children create space in their tiny cups is by pouring their contents into their parents’ cups. Parents act as safe receptacles for a child’s overflowing distress, but only if the parent’s teacup has enough space to hold the child’s.
As parents, we must continually monitor the capacity of our teacups so that children have a safe container for their overwhelming feelings and aren’t left to manage on their own.
*Adapted from the teachings of Alicia Lieberman, PhD, Patricia Van Horn, PhD, and Chandra Ghosh Ippen, developers of Child Parent Psychotherapy
Next week is OCD awareness week. We, at Feelings School, highly recommend this short film for families with children who are struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or the related symptoms. Click on this link for free access to this short documentary:
Feelings Work is hiring fee-for-service therapists (LMSW, LCSW, LMHC, PsyD, PhD,) looking for a clinical home where they can grow their skills in child psychotherapy. We are a Brooklyn-based, small group practice with a collaborative approach to treatment. Our clients often seek us out because they are looking for short-term, family-involved clinical care for their children. Hours and caseload are flexible.
Check out our website at feelings-school.com for more information about our practice.
- Provide short term psychotherapy treatment to children aged 5-12 and their caregivers
- Provide parent and conjoint sessions
- Be engaged in the ongoing pursuit of clinical knowledge and psychotherapy skills
- Complete clinical documentation
- Participate in a collaborative treatment team
- Experience working with children/parents preferred
- Flexibility to work hours to meet productivity goals and deadlines
- Strong teamwork ethic; positive, flexible attitude; ability to take complete ownership of responsibilities
- Strong desire to increase clinical skills and receive training
- Must have one of the following degrees and a current NYS license to provide psychotherapy: MA, LMSW, LCSW, LMHC, PsyD, Ph.D.
- Value and engage in anti-racism and social justice education
- Be curious, engaged, empathic clinicians
- Be organized and able to work autonomously
LGBTQ+ & Candidates of Color are encouraged to apply