Monthly Archives: April, 2014

“Stop cleaning and play with me, Mama”

My son literally said that to me. And just to give some context: I am NOT an immaculate house cleaner by any stretch. I try to stay on top of the dishwasher, the laundry, and getting chunks of food off the floor. That’s it. And that, most of the time, is an impossible, never-ending task. But when my son said that, it was a wake-up call. Pay attention. The days are long but the years are

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short. And children, especially children under five or even six, need to PLAY. And they need to play in an interactive environment of the safety of attachment relationships. Dr Gordon Neufeld, author of Hold onto your Kids: Why Parents Matter (2004) states, “Preschoolers have fundamentally different brain wiring and need to be free of consequences and attachment hunger.”

He cautions that young children need to be free from the work of pursuing attachment relationships so they can do their work, which is to PLAY.

Play helps children build problemsolving networks. At four, five, even six, children are not ready to learn by working because the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain where a child is capable of mixed feelings, is still under ‘All work and no play’ construction. It only gets wired at between five and seven years of age.

 

     And so I stopped and we did some “special time.” Special time is child-directed play for an allotted time. (See link below for more information on Hand-in-hand parenting and special time). You can set the timer for 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 45 minutes. It is a tool from hand-in-hand parenting that helps busy parents allocate time for special attention to their children in a realistic way. We played race cars. I was given “Purple pizazz” (naming them has been the latest game). Much better than cleaning the floor.

Resources:

“All work and no play…is not good for the developing brain,” Ottawa Citizen, February, 2012

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/work+play/6109961/story.html

 

http://www.handinhandparenting.org/2012/12/04/in-praise-of-special-time/

 

How Neuroscience is Helping Us Understand Eating Disorders and Recovery

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Have you ever eaten “comfort foods” to calm yourself down? What about having a little ice-cream when feeling sad or depressed? Or does the thought of eating chocolate cake after a meal totally stress you out with anxious thoughts about your body? According to the latest research into neuroscience, there is a reason for it…

To read the full article, click here:

http://www.psychedinsanfrancisco.com/how-neuroscience-is-helping-us-understand-eating-disorders-and-recovery/

But I don’t want to make a card about that!

SoulCollage® as a means of fleshing out the voice of wisdom in postpartum and eating disorder recovery

When women develop their voice (and with it their sense of self) and when they flesh out those parts of themselves that have been sacrificed to the Body Myth they can then move from…emotional emptiness…to the fully-grounded substance of their lives. Instead of changing their bodies so that they can change their lives, women can accept their bodies and get on with and celebrate their lives.

–Margo Maine, The Body Myth

What is soulcollage® ?

A kind of collage in which you make a deck of collaged cards (no limit on the amount) for yourself, each card representing one aspect of yourself, it is a collage process that images the multidimensional parts of one’s Self.  You can then create your own deck of wisdom from which to ask a question and find answers. (To read more, go to Soulcollage.com)

How I discovered soulcollage®

I discovered SoulCollage® as a new mom, finding it to be an expressive art modality that I could fit in between naps and breast-feeding. I had heard about it for years, but being a Psychologist who has been trained in so many expressive arts modalities, I thought SoulCollage® wouldn’t have anything new to offer. I was delightfully wrong!

The first card I made was to honor the generational legacy that I was spanning with my parents, grandparents, and now my own child. It imaged the lineage my parents had travelled, new appreciation of the difficulties of parenthood, and awareness of my own parents’ mortality. As I had already discovered with other expressive arts modalities, the images uncovered, expressed, and held multidimensional emotional aspects of myself that words alone could not have spoken.

The next card I made was about accepting my postpartum belly. I wrestled with body image postpartum and didn’t have a forum for discussing the feelings underlying these changes. Being a new parent was a liminal time, a rite of passage that included not only

muffin topa new body, but a whole new identity. Making this card of my postpartum “muffin top” helped me quiet my body image critic, honor my newly emerging mommy-self, and acknowledge both the grief and joy involved in being a new parent.

soulcollage® and Eating Disorder Recovery

For the past decade and a half, I have worked with women recovering from starving, restricting, or stuffing their voices. This shows up as “disordered eating.”  And yet, when I brought soulcollage® into working with these women, it became absolutely clear that the “disordered,” or not yet given a voice, parts of the self have a LOT of wisdom to share (and very little of it is about food). Just like new parenthood, eating disorder recovery is a rite of passage time in a woman’s life during which vulnerabilities and sometimes formerly unwanted or not-yet-voiced parts of the self show up with incredible wisdom.

The following is a SoulCollage® reading (shared with permission) by a client recovering from an eating disorder. This client was quiet in group, often restricting her authentic voice. She had an overdeveloped critical voice that constantly attacked her and tried to separate her from her authentic voice. During her reading, I was so inspired to finally hear her wise, authentic voice finally speak its truth, I almost cried. Her question was around how to maintain her sense of self when she went back to school after being in treatment for her eating disorder.

Card #1:
I Am One Who is desperate for connection, will take on the experiences of others, in doing so losing my sense of self. Although I think this is for safety, it leads me into an internal battle and brings about much pain. Stay true to yourself. Getting lost among others will ultimately never bring you the connections you strive for.

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Card #2

I Am One who is determined, even in the face of much adversity, even when overwhelmed with sadness, hopelessness, and solitude. Continue fighting for your passion, even in the most intense moments of isolation. You are never alone. You will always have somebody by your side to get you through the day.

 

 

Card #3

I Am One Who can overcome the odds. My internal force born within me can push me through even the most disheartening of IMG_2527situations. I have a well of support from which to draw. This will keep me going, even when there seems to be nothing left.

As evidenced by her reading, this woman clearly had incredible access to her own strong, fierce wisdom and power when given a modality that encouraged her to go within and listen!

As a right brain process that can bypass the critical parts of the self, soulcollage® can access the wisdom held in formerly judged parts of the self. Parts of the self such as disordered eating, postpartum bellies, chameleon-like parts,and  isolated parts begin to have a voice. Instead of being parts to avoid or silence, these parts become a source of wisdom and guidance. By doing this, they can illuminate the way in and through liminal times in a woman’s life such as disordered eating recovery and new parenthood, showing us that we always have a voice, and offering fiercely compassionate guidance we didn’t even know we had.

Dr. Linda Shanti McCabe is a Clinical Psychologist and SoulCollage® Facilitator in San Francisco.  To see current soulcollage workshop offerings, click here: soulcollageworkshops

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