It is a big step to book your first appointment to see a new therapist for yourself, never mind for a child who is extremely anxious and finds new surroundings and new people difficult. Suddenly, they are faced with a new person in a big chair, and a room with a massage table (and yoga mat in my case), and it can all seem a bit intimidating.
One thing that has always really irritated me is having to talk about my child in front of him when I’ve been to see various people: he is a very sensitive little person and having to talk about his difficulties and issues in front of him is not an option for me.
With this aspect in mind, I always make sure that I have a lengthy conversation with the parents of children I see in advance of a session – not just for first appointments, but also subsequent. I’m always available by email for questions and lightbulb moments in between appointments as well! The one thing I do not do is text, because I have an ancient Nokia phone, and can’t remember how to use it for texting!
During our initial telephone appointment, I’ll go through the “Client Questionnaire” and ask about anything that really stands out, or if there are any particular concerns. By talking ahead of an appointment, I can then concentrate on observing during the session.
When I call for a review, I ask what parents have noticed – are there any changes? Have they not noticed any changes at all – but hang on… their child suddenly has a best friend when before they didn’t? Perhaps their child has suddenly discovered the swing in the park? Perhaps the child is suddenly able to ride a bike or do cartwheels? Huge developmental leaps that suddenly happen… Could this be down to RMTi? YES!
Rhythmic Movement Training is so called because we are training the brain to make new connections, and training those who come to see us to understand when they need to use these movements and methods to manage their own difficulties going forward. For this reason, I have started referring to my “clients” as “students” – a far more cooperative description of how we work!
With our own background in mind, I have started working in a new way with parents who come to see me with their children: I do not work with their children in isolation. Instead, I work with parents too. That way, they may also feel positive change for themselves. In addition, a child is more likely to engage and buy in to the programme if their parents are doing it too! This way, a session with me really is a “lesson”, and my “students” have fun with each other, learning the new movements and trying them out on each other.
I have also noticed that parents find it a lot easier to stick to the programme when they are doing it themselves and start to notice positive change in themselves. Sometimes, parents can be very anxious themselves, and RMTi is marvellous at dealing with anxiety, as we already know… By helping a parent feel safe and more relaxed, we are helping the child also feel safe and more relaxed, and we will see a much better result overall.