Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Parenting With Awareness Workshop

Standing in a showroom of baby furniture and parenting supplies, I felt confounded by the sea of bouncy seats, baby swings, and feeding chairs.  I wondered why people wanted so many places to put their baby down. I wanted nothing more than to be a parent, and I couldn't imagine any reason why I would strap a child into some device and walk away. I didn't want some brightly colored, hard plastic, baby chair with pastel cartoon pictures on it. I had my arms, and that was enough.

Just a few weeks later, I realized the implications of having a newborn and never having your arms free. It's not even safe to not have an appropriate place to put the baby down. I realized that the most heartfelt dreams of parenting, which come from deep places of wanting to do well, can actually lead us to places that are not best for us or for our children. I quickly became the owner of a yellow baby swing with little turtles on it.

We are rarely prepared for the in's-and-outs of the daily realities of parenting. Even the most planful, well resourced parents-to-be taking part in birthing classes, infant CPR, and new moms groups inevitably find practical and emotional surprises, unanswered questions, and triggers that catch them off guard.

We are likely the least prepared for what we, perhaps, want to do most: parent from a place of integrity, warmth, humor - to parent in ways a little or a lot different from the parenting we received. Parents often find themselves in places that are not best for them or for their children, but struggle with how they got there, and how to find a different way.

Parenting With Awareness is a three hour workshop that honors that desire, as well as the in adequate roadmaps we have for parenting differently than what we were shown. Participants will explore the legacy they want to create for their children, the ways they are succeeding, and the challenges they want to address. Participants are encouraged to share at a level that feels comfortable to them, and will leave with hands-on experiential activities they can continue in their daily lives after the workshop.  When parents spend time working and reflecting on how to parent from their best selves, they and their children often end up in a better place together. 

Please join us on May 14 from 10 am to 1 pm. Registration online or by phone, fee $65.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Listening to the Untold Stories

Stories via Greenbookblog

As a therapist, I listen to the untold story. I am the midwife to a narrative that needs to be constructed, told or infused with compassion and new meaning. The loss of the ability to make meaning is crippling. Therapy not only touches the lives of our clients but also transforms the experience of the therapist. It is a cliché to say our clients are our teachers, although it is a truth. How a therapist lives life has everything to do with the capacities of a therapist. I have had the opportunity to train and mentor many therapists. I want to say “live life more fully and your work will follow.’ So therapy changes lives and life changes us. My writing is about moments that have changed my life and lives I have had the privilege to touch. It is also about the spaces in-between where meanings emerge.

Image Via KPLU

Traumas are often wordless. I learned that words were a gift. If you were allowed to name it, describe it, teach it, you could master it or at least tame it. When it remains wordless, the horror and shame takes over and limits people lives and potential.

Image Via Woodbridge

The walls of the counseling room are constraining, although filled with people’s truths and confidences. The moments are profound, yet secretive and private. The lessons, I believe, need to be shared integrated back into community. Words give voice. Abuse silences. My willingness to companion my clients as they face the sometimes-unimaginable horrors changed me. So my work is about moving from wordlessness to words and making meaning out of the traumatic and the ordinary.

- Laurie Kahn, MA, MFA, LCPC

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