Infants – Toddlers
“Every time you give a parent a sense of success or empowerment, you’re offering it to the baby indirectly. Because every time a parent looks at that baby and says ‘Oh, you’re so wonderful,’ that baby just bursts with feeling good about themselves…” -T. Berry Brazelton
The new parents are happily overwhelmed by intense feelings the first time they see their newborn baby. Someone could describe this phase as “falling in love at first sight”. Later on, the bonding that develops between the parent and the baby refers to the deeper feeling of true love.
Sometimes, difficult feelings, traumatic experiences and failed expectations can impede the formation of the bonding which is so vital for the development and mental health of the baby. Inconsolable crying, separation distress, difficulties with feeding, sleeping or elimination, and temper tantrums are symptoms that are not uncommon in the early stages of life. These symptoms can affect the baby and the parents and create family crises.
Therapeutic work with infants and toddlers is offered to parents who have worries regarding their difficult feelings brought about the birth of the baby, or reservations about their relationship to the baby or even queries regarding his/her overall development. Many parents who are interested in providing the best they can for their baby and create a facilitating environment for their child’s development can also benefit greatly from this kind of work.
It is a source of great joy to see how parents and young children interact and come to know the heart and mind of each other. One of the most rewarding aspects of parenting is to learn about how rich and deep is the emotional life of their baby. This allows parents to reconnect to childhood parts of themselves, parts that had been forgotten.
At this early age, the powerful bond between parent and baby and the inherent drive of the baby to develop forward, act as guardians and protect the most valuable thing at the beginning of life: the first of all relationships.
Children – Adolescents
“ “What is a normal child like? Does he just eat and grow and smile sweetly? No, that is not what he is like. The normal child, if he has confidence in mother and father, pulls out all the stops. In the course of time, he tries out his power to disrupt, to destroy, to frighten, to wear down, to waste, to wangle, and to appropriate . . .”
Every child and teenager is unique, just as is his/her family.
Phobias, temper tantrums, aggression, hyperactivity, separation anxiety, school refusal, emotional difficulties and depression, defiance, difficulties with sleeping and feeding, poor peer relationships and low self-esteem, are some of many symptoms that can present themselves during childhood and adolescence.
However, we firmly believe that symptoms like the above do not consist of the “problem”. In fact, these symptoms may represent children’s attempts to communicate their emotional burden to people around them. Maybe children turned to this sort of miscommunication because they could not find an appropriate way to express themselves and their distress.
Nevertheless, it is our conviction that behavioral and emotional symptoms are children’s attempts full of hope that their needs will be met.
In therapeutic work with children and adolescents, and always hand in hand with their parents, we pose the following questions:
We paid more attention to what they are trying to communicate? We tried to understand what’s going on in their minds and helped them feel secure from the beginning? Support them to find out new ways of communicating themselves? Ways more direct and efficient? Ways more appropriate for their age?
But again, what happens when children have difficulty telling their stories? Some kids are too young to talk, while others though quite verbal, are still difficult to open up.
In that case then, what if we made use of play as a means of communicating? After all, play is the language of the child.
In the end, our aim is not to “correct” or “fix” a child, but to help him/her return to a positive developmental pathway. So children can claim for themselves the best they can and fulfill their true potential in the future.
“If a community values its children it must cherish its parents”
The overwhelming majority of parents care deeply about their children and wish wholeheartedly to be the best parents they can. Parenting is accompanied by the most profound feelings one can experience during life and brings with it sense of personal fulfillment.
There are times, however, when even the best intentions of the parents can trip over external circumstances and family difficulties. At those moments, it is imperative to help the parents feel supported in their role so they can be able to help in turn their children.
And when difficult feelings and behaviors arise in the child, our experience speaks loud not to restrict our focus in the challenging behavior alone. Collaboration with parents is a critical factor here.
Our work with parents is about strengthening the parent-child relationship through the development of self-reflection in the parents· the ability to think about their child’s thoughts and feelings as well as their own.
Such abilities help children feel connected and secure, and promote psychic resilience against future challenges. Children raised by reflective parents seem to be better equipped to face life’s challenges and find their place in an ever-changing world.
“The universe exists as long as there is an intelligent being to observe it… without humans being there to observe, the universe could not realize its existence…”
– Giorgos Grammatikakis
Science? Art? Gift? Fashion? A Luxury?
For us, psychotherapy is above all a relationship· and a process of recognition. A relationship between two persons which evolves in time. And, to be efficient, it demands a deep recognition of one person to the other.
Anxiety and depression, panic attacks, relational problems, eating disorders, anger outbursts, impulsive and self-destructive behaviors, complex grief, psychosomatic complaints, and traumatic experiences are common psychological symptoms in adult life. Symptoms’ relief is the most common reason for someone to decide to and ask for specialized help. But is this the whole story?
Every human being is a separate person with a unique life story. Each one of us has positive aspects in the personality and also each one of us retains some aspects in the personality that have not been cultivated as desired so far.
Even if someone worth the whole universe, he/she could not realize his true value but in the presence of another person who mirrors back and recognizes his/her value.
The need for psychotherapy represents one of the most fundamental needs since the history of time: it is the need to feel that our subjectivity as human beings is recognized by other human beings. To share our thoughts, feelings, and intentions and feel appreciated and valued by others.