Last spring, Sara came to my office. She appeared to be very nervous and worried about her family’s interactions. She began to talk about her concerns for her partner, John, and their daughter Emma. She talked about ‘the conflicts’ between her and John that made her concerned about their daughter’s life. She was upset that she wasn’t able to protect her daughter from ‘the conflicts’.
She said “my daughter is living in a state of panic everyday, there is no joy in her life; I don’t see her eyes sparkling anymore; she doesn’t want to go out; she doesn’t want to go to school; she is sensitive to the tone of our voices and looks at us when we ‘fight’”. She said: “I am here to end this; I need your help to end this”.
We discussed what ‘the conflicts’ looked like in her family life and what effects it had had on her relationship with self and others. I extended my invitation to her partner, John, and their daughter, Emma, and asked her to give them my invitation. I wanted to see them all; I was interested in hearing John’s concerns for Emma. I wondered if Sara and John shared the same concern.
They all came in; such a pleasure to see them all together as a family!
We began to talk. John said he was concerned about Emma too. He said, “Emma is the apple of my eye and I don’t want anything negative to affect her”. Emma was very quiet in our meeting; she played quietly and didn’t say a word but she listened to what her parents told me about her; she quietly discovered how important she was to her parents and how much her parents loved and cared about her.
As our conversations developed, Emma and I gathered that like us, her parents didn’t like ‘the conflicts’ and wanted to do something about it.
Emma became more comfortable and less ‘nervous’ as our meeting went on. At the end of our session, I asked her if she would come back to our meetings again. She nodded. Her parents interpreted her nod as a big yes.
I was pleased that Emma was part of our meetings; she witnessed her parents’ commitment and looked excited to see her parents deciding to put a stop to ‘the conflicts’.
We planned to invite Emma to our meetings on a monthly basis; however, we planned to continue our weekly couple sessions with both parents.
I looked forward to seeing Emma’s reactions and reflection on her parents’ progress each month.
Sara and John attended our meetings every week; we talked and characterized ‘the conflicts’. We learned what ‘the conflicts’ have done to them as a person, a couple and parents. Their hopes and visions for their couple relationship were explored.
As they became aware of and traced the footprints of ‘the conflicts’ in their relationship, they became closer to their vision and hopes for their family.
Emma came to our meetings every month; she began to talk; she didn’t appear to be panicked anymore. Her parents talked about her achievements at home and school. She smiled anytime her parents broke the news of her progress and achievements. Emma had very expressive eyes; her eyes were communicating with me how she felt about her family. Her parents shared stories of her strengths, abilities and hobbies. I learned dancing was one of her abilities.
In our last meeting, Emma and her parents came to my office very excited. Emma was wearing her pink ballerina dress with a pink pair of shoes and a pink handbag. She brought a CD with her too. Her parents said ‘Emma would like to show you how she dances’. Emma played the music and began to dance. We were all quiet and almost in tears while watching her dancing.
We reflected on Emma’s performance in life. Sara, John and I were amazed to see how Emma freed herself up from ‘panic and anxiety’. Sara and John realized how influential they are in their daughter’s life; they found out that ‘the conflicts’ were taking life out of their daughter and themselves; they became more determined to keeping ‘the conflicts’ out of their interactions. They said “they want to have a happy family and a daughter who smiles and dances and has fun”.
After 20 sessions of collaborative conversations with Emma’s parents, Emma became the child that her parents always wanted; Sara and John became the parents they always wished to be.
Without Sara and John’s commitment to wanting what was important to them and without their efforts to put limits on ‘the conflicts’, what was achieved wouldn’t have been possible.
If you would like to enhance your couple relationship and your children’s lives or if you know a person(s) who can benefit from my service, please visit my website at www.taherehbarati.com and make an appointment or a referral.
Looking forward to talking to you!