Do you speak “kid”? Would you like to? Play therapist and LCSW Anne Maxwell does, and she can teach you to speak it too!
“I have a way with kids in that I speak the language of kids. I am really good at translating what they’re saying and what’s going on with them to the people who care the most about them and spend the most time with them, like parents, nannies, day care providers.”
Are you in despair that you DON’T speak the language of your kids? No worries, Maxwell can show you how! She applies the tools of Access Consciousness® to her work, which is backed by 20+ years of experience in the mental health field, working with kids and adults.
One of her specialties is working with parents who are raising kids that they did not give birth to—some of them are relatives, some of them are foster kids, some of them are adopted. She has served on the advisory board of an adoption agency.
“From my training, there’s an emphasis on going back to the original trauma and replaying it over and over again so you can come to peace with whatever it was. It sounds great, but it takes a long time. In some cases it works. In many cases it simply re-traumatizes the kids.
“One of the gifts of Access and my working with such little kids is the awareness I have that kids are nowhere near as traumatized by what happens to them as the adults with whom they live and spend their lives with.”
“What I’ve found in play therapy and therapy with kids and families is that kids simply want to be acknowledged for what they know. When that happens, they’re ready to move on.”
“One of the things that I like most about this work is that it takes kids out of the role of being the victim, which actually they don’t like very much. It takes us out of the jobs of being the problem-solver/fixer/protector/rescuer. As a therapist, it allows me to ask the question, ‘Okay, so here you are, awesome, where would you like to be, what kind of change would you like to have, what can I do to help you with that?’”
“I have the point of view that there’s nothing wrong with anybody, nothing wrong with kids, nothing wrong with parents, nothing wrong with the way kids behave, the way parents behave, the way anybody behaves. What if it’s a question of choice, the kind of choice that’s energetic, not cognitive?”
What’s an energetic choice? Maxwell has a classic example of it—the three year old and the hot stove. (She lives in Colorado where there’re a lot of wood stoves.) “When you say to a 3 year old, ‘Don’t touch that stove, it’s hot, what does every self-respecting 3 year old do? He slams his hand against the stove and recoils in horror.
“What does every parent say? ‘I told you not to touch the stove!’”
Maxwell proposes another way: ask the child a question. “That stove’s pretty hot. What do you think might happen if you touch the stove?’
When you ask a child a question they get to tap into the energy and the awareness of what they’re going to create by touching the stove or not touching the stove. What most kids will do is put their hand right up to the stove but not touch it, and they’ll feel the heat. They get to feel in an instant whether to touch it or pull their hand away.
“What if instead of being made wrong by being told not to touch the stove, they were empowered with a question? By being asked the question, they get to tap into the energy of burning themselves or not burning themselves simply by feeling the heat.”
Her target is to create a “generation of conscious kids and conscious parents.” What does that mean? It means kids being acknowledged for the awareness that they have, and parents trusting the awareness that they have about their kids, as opposed to what everybody tells them.
“It means generations of kids who are happy. How cool would that be? And kids raised by parents to have permission to know what they know and be what they are.”
Seeming miracles abound in Maxwell’s encyclopedia of experience unraveling the knots that children and parents get themselves into. One 8-year-old girl had her parents and all the experts in a panic because she had lost 20 per cent of her body weight because she was terrified of drowning if she swallowed anything. She was afraid of drowning even in her own spit. After 6 visits with Maxwell, she recovered from her fear. She regained her body weight loss to return to normal weight within 2 months.
Another 10-year-old boy, born with multiple birth defects and medical problems, lost the will to live following cardiac surgery. He was described to Anne as “a skinny little guy with legs like toothpicks.” Maxwell talked with the mother about whether she could let the little boy die if he chose that. The mother initially resisted, but once she could allow the little boy to choose, the little boy told her, “But Mom, there’s so many things I want to do.” He’s now filling out and getting stronger, after about 6 sessions total.
Another little girl whose mother was brutally murdered acted out at daycare and clung day and night with a “death grip” to her grandmother who was raising her. The grandmother wanted to protect the little girl from the horror of how her mother was killed. At Maxwell’s urging, the grandmother asked the little girl what she knew.
The little girl described in vivid accurate detail exactly how her mother was killed. The grandmother was so surprised, she asked the little girl how she knew it. The little girl said, “He told us he was going to do it and he told us how he was going to do it.” After her grandmother assured the little girl that this bad man was locked up and could no longer harm anyone, the little girl slept on the other side of the bed from her grandmother for the first time, and by the end of the month, she had moved into her own bedroom where she still sleeps.
Maxwell worked with another little girl diagnosed with separation anxiety. She hated school and every morning put her mother through a 2-1/2 hour ordeal of crying and clinging before she would let her mother leave.
Maxwell asked the little girl a question, “What do you not like about school?”
“Wow, what’s it like to go to a school with no toys?” asked Maxwell.
“No fun!” replied the little girl.
After this simple conversation, her mother came to Maxwell and said, “Oh my God, what happened? This morning she was already dressed and ready to go to school. She barely ate breakfast, she didn’t cry once, she’s engaged, and she’s making friends.”
After that one session and a total of 3 sessions, the girl was able to stay at school with no difficulty and even moved to fulltime soon thereafter.
What advice does she have to parents interested in raising a conscious child?
“Ask your child what they know. That’s the bumper sticker.”
To learn more about Anne Maxwell and her classes and private sessions, click HERE.
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