So where do we start?
We start with an initial assessment. Even after all these years, the initial assessment still takes me back to my own struggles as a child. Every time it’s fascinating to see how a child tries to do his or her best, showing who they are and how they can perform different movements in keeping with what they assume are my expectations or those of their parents’.
In the process of the assessment, I often witness the child struggle to cope, even though they display an enormous level of energy. After the initial assessment, constant encouragement and reassurance is needed to connect the child to what he can do; support his abilities and at the same time challenge him to reach further and achieve more accuracy in his movements.
Following the initial assessment, the child enters a C.Q. programme of weekly sessions. Most of the exercises in the C.Q. programme are perceived by the child as ‘fun’; they trigger the survival mechanism by directly increasing responsiveness and accuracy of movements. The drive to sharpen one’s abilities is a strong survival need, which I believe every child has in preparing himself for adulthood, regardless of his socio-economic background.
As therapy progresses,the repetitiveness of the exercises leads to ‘registering’ the achievement in the motor cortex of the brain. As the brain manages to ‘make’ the muscles perform the right movements, those feelings of success develop a sense of security and hope. Witnessing a child attempting to conquer a group of muscles in his body is the main driving force that has kept me ‘alive’ all these years in my work.
In some sessions when the child tries to perform an exercise, he might struggle, look lost or frustrated, but I encourage him to keep on trying. My strong identification is mostly with the rawness of it all; witnessing for the first time how he manages to do something different , do something in a better way. I have found that this then feeds hope and deepens the child’s trust in the process.
The ‘you can do it’ attitude is constantly at the back of my mind and is the message I bring to the room. The child learns to deepen self-belief, while I try to inspire him with the ‘fun’ and the ‘power’ of movement, from the slow to the fast, in all directions and sometimes in the most impossible postures, which leaves some parents overwhelmed by their child’s abilities. The parents’ excitement with the child’s achievements, coupled with my own enthusiasm, provides the ‘fuel’ for the therapeutic process, as it strongly contributes to their child’s hope of making a change for themselves.