Tuesday Topic: What Have you Tried in Pursuit of Healing?

Dimples-painting-small

Yesterday’s post seemed to resonate with many of you. I apologize that my comment system wasn’t working, but many of you left comments on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page. Comments are up and running again, so please try leaving one.

Your response to the post left me wondering about the many different therapies, methods, schools of thought, trainings, books, etc. we’ve all pursued in pursuit of healing our children and families. It would be interesting to compile a massive list of the things we’ve tried, even the things that seem sort of “out there.”  If it was helpful, let us know, and if it was a complete flop, feel free to share that too.

I think we’ll find that we’re all working really hard to help our kids and our families heal. You may also share something that another family has never considered that just might help their child.

Take a moment to leave a comment, even if it’s just one or two words. If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it’s likely that I’m busy homeschooling or running kids to piano lessons, but I’ll be sure to approve comments as soon as I can.

If you have a question you would like  me to use as a Tuesday Topic, please email it to me at lisa@onethankfulmom.com  It’s helpful if you put “Tuesday Topic” in the subject line.

Thanks everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say – who knows, one of you may introduce me to something that might make a difference in our lives.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

25 Comments

  1. Kathleen Peter Benckendorf
    October 1, 2013

    Lisa,

    A few years ago after we finally found some success, I did a major brain dump of just about everything I knew at the time on my then brand-new website http://www.attachmentandintegrationmethods.com .

    I haven't been keeping it up very well, but if you look on the About / History pages, you can read our story. The History Part 2 tells about some pretty amazing results we had with BIT (Brain Integration Technique) and IH (Integrated Healing). These were as close to a magic bullet as anything we ever tried – short-term, quick fixes. Didn't fix everything – but fixed a significant amount.

    Since then we've learned and done some RMT (Rhythmic Movement Training) – works on retained reflexes like NR does, but not as intensely, and may not cover everything NR does.

    However – the one I've learned most recently is Lifespan Integration, and it impresses me GREATLY! This would be good for parents and kids. It works directly on the trauma, claims to be less traumatizing than talk therapy or even EMDR for both therapist and client, and can produce some significant results in short amount of time.

    Reply
  2. Paula Miles Spears
    October 1, 2013

    EMDR was almost like a magic wand for us. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but for our family and one child in particular, it has been a lifesaver. We also have "regular" therapy sessions with a therapist who is specially trained in attachment and trauma issues.

    Reply
  3. angela
    October 1, 2013

    We are doing Neurological Reorganization. It's pretty intense. I have seen progress in both children. I have had a cognitive behavioral therapist in my home for ten weeks. Not helpful. I use an in-home care-giver for one of my children after school. I could have it for both because they both qualify for funding through the department of developmental disabilities (DDD) but it is not necessary for James. Missy's Sleep Apnea was addressed at Children's Hospital and she uses a CPAP. This makes her less crabby. I have done colon cleanses and probiotics, and various herbs and vitamins and both children are still on a gluten free diet. This has had good results on their over-all health because they truly have had major bowel issues, but no big breakthroughs with behaviors. I've read a ton of books and tried various ideas…. it comes down to patience, wisdom, prayer and courage. What else can I say?!

    Reply
  4. angela
    October 1, 2013

    oh! I guess I forgot to mention we do equine therapy, speech, PT, OT and all that sort of stuff, too.

    Reply
  5. Erika
    October 1, 2013

    Neurological Reorganization (NR) was the game changer/life saver for our family. Other complementary therapies have worked with NR, but if I had to pick one, NR was it for our family. Love your blog!

    Reply
  6. Sue
    October 1, 2013

    I tried the method in "The Healing Code" – which is kind of like meditation- and I don't know if it works as described in the book, but it does give my son something to focus on and do when he "melts". Also helpful for our son was getting a German Shepherd dog – he has learned to love that dog and he has a faithful companion. Not sure I recommend it for others, as it really does depend on the dog's personality and dogs are high maintenance. Also, Dr Purvis' idea about a drawer full of bubblegum in the kitchen has done him some serious good. His issues are more ADHD and PTSD -he doesn't seem to be an attachment disorder case.

    Reply
  7. sleepyknitter
    October 1, 2013

    Loved yesterday's post! Thank you. We are continually reading about the next great thing that is supposed to work on every child, and it is discouraging, largely because simply can't afford to try every new promise of hope. But anyway, here is what we have tried in the past:
    **We've mostly tried Purvis's Connected Child and Forbes' Beyond Consequences. These have worked well with two of our four children, one of whom came to us at ten months and the other at eight years as an ESL speaker. Of the two for whom Purvis and Forbes have not worked, one came to us at six months and the other at 14 years as an ESL speaker. Our 14-year-old did not benefit at all from Purvis or Forbes, in part because these are language-based approaches and our child appeared to view language learning as a weakness or surrender that threatened (rather than assisted) her physical and nationalist survival. I think Purvis hasn't worked for our middle one because her panic-driven "stubbornness" just can't even "hear" what's being said or communicated in the various scripts. She is six now, and we are seeing a little more benefit from Purvis with her, but when she was two, three, four years old, scripts and tone of voice did not cut through to her panic.
    **We have also done attachment counseling with our middle child, and on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give that a 5 for effectiveness in this child's case. She (and we!) did benefit from it (because she is always "on" in a public setting like counseling), but it was definitely not a "fix all."
    **We are going to try occupational therapy next for our middle one, as our attachment counselor feels OT issues, particularly vestibular processing, are at the heart of our middle child's struggles. That is what my hopes are fixed on now.
    **We have tried diet management such as the GFCF (Gluten free, cassein free) diet, but we didn't follow it carefully enough to see definite results — our life was too chaotic to effectively follow such a difficult diet. I still wonder what it might do for our family and would still like to try it "for real".
    **We have tried "food journaling" to watch for allergies, and that has been very helpful. Stay far, far away from Red Dye No. 40 (among other problem foods) at our house!
    **We have tried Vitamin C for managing cortisol levels, and it's hard to say whether that has been beneficial because we started three other (non-conflicting) approaches at the same time.
    **I would really like to try Isag*nix (the weight-loss, energy system) but can't justify using a product so expensive we would have to become sellers in order to buy it. That's not simplifying our life, that's taking on yet another role, one that we're not particularly suited to in lifestyle or personality.
    **We have tried a "sensory diet," filling the kids' days with sensory experiences, and that does seem very helpful for leading children to self-regulation. Swinging in particular seems helpful for several of ours during meltdowns, and swimming, when we were able, was wonderful.
    **We focus on having a "balanced" level of structure to the day, but so far I think what is "balanced" seems different from one day to the next.
    **Chocolate — Mommy locked in the bathroom for five minutes eating large amounts of chocolate peanut butter cups while crying and praying — this is of limited impact on the treasures but seems to put Mommy in a calmer mood.
    **Limiting our lifestyle, meaning accepting very few opportunities outside our home (other than church and work) seems to be one of the most helpful approaches for us. When we are "going out" frequently as a family, the kids seem more hyper-everything. At the same time, we have to keep our middle one sufficiently entertained to keep her regulated, and "going out" is one of the easiest ways to do that, so we are continually looking for balance in family activity.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what other people have written. Maybe someone will suggest just the thing! We are always looking for that, and as you seemed to be saying yesterday, it is hard when someone else has found "just the thing" that was needed, and we try it but it doesn't work for us.

    Reply
  8. sleepyknitter
    October 1, 2013

    P.S. Love the picture of Dimples painting!

    Reply
  9. Emily B
    October 1, 2013

    Our second child struggles with PTSD and moderate SPD. We've found EMDR therapy to be highly effective for her. We also have her in OT and on swim team. Swim team regulates her SPD better than anything else. Swinging and high sensory activities (climbing the oak tree in shorts and bare feet) are helpful, too.
    Our third child has ADHD, PTSD, and moderate SPD (mainly vestibular and auditory). EMDR has had a huge positive impact on her, completely eliminating dissociation, bed wetting, and regression to baby behaviors. It has been amazing the difference we saw after only four sessions. Purvis and Forbes' methods are also very effective with her. ADHD meds have been helpful, too.
    Our fifth child…ADHD, PTSD, severe SPD, OCD, and some attachment struggles. EMDR did not impact her in the least, which came as a surprise after the success her sisters had with it. Working with our family therapist to give her an emotional vocabulary (naming her feelings) has made a difference. OT is hugely helpful. A rich sensory diet at home helps her regulate when we're at home. Purvis/Forbes also seem to help her. We have not yet tried ADHD meds because she is only 5.

    With everyone, we've gone gluten free. Initially we tried this because my bio daughter and I both have celiac disease, and it's easier to keep our whole home gluten free. HUGE impact on overall physical health and well being for our whole family. We avoid processed foods, rarely eat sweets, and push fruits and veggies. Diet makes a big difference. The in-home cognitive behavioral therapy did absolutely nothing…may have even made things worse. Play therapy accomplished nothing. I would love to try equine therapy, but the closest center to us is 45 minutes away…too far.

    Reply
  10. Debbie
    October 1, 2013

    Very little gluten helps immensely. Also, our therapist recommended the PACE model by Daniel Hughes and that has helped a great deal.

    Reply
  11. Donna Jordan
    October 1, 2013

    We have also read many of the books and followed many of the programs listed above. Best bets so far have been Vitamin D3 and fish oils for concentration following a wonderful 6 months of high doses of probiotics and grapefruit seed extract; this has made the most difference for our son, along with time, he is now 13. We have done and are doing speech therapy and occupational therapy for sensory processing, auditory processing and language delays. Since our daughters official diagnosis of Intellectual and Developmental Delays we also use a specialized clinic for her issues. We had heard that puberty and PTSD were difficult—that is no joke! We are currently working with a licensed therapist doing EMDR and more with him.
    I saw the unkind comment on facebook about not using trained and licensed personel working with our kids and this guy thought that was the problem. I know some people are not well rounded in their knowledge of the issues, but I do think his comment was very off base. I personally have a large number of friends who work with well trained and licensed personel with their treasures. These are our kids we move heaven and earth to search out ways to help them heal.
    Thank you Lisa for this wonderful forum for people to share, even though I know you also get the unkind comments. This is how we encourage and help one another on this journey.
    Rocking heaven with my prayers along with so many others of you for our treasures, for His glory!

    Reply
    1. Angel Crawford
      October 5, 2013

      uhh, yeah, about what you wrote about puberty and PTSD….I believe we are dealing with that in our home too!!

      Reply
  12. Laurel
    October 1, 2013

    EMDR was extremely helpful for our son to address his trauma history. We are currently doing Parent Child Interactive Therapy, which involves me playing with my son while wearing an ear piece, so the therapist can guide me as he watches through a one-way window. It's been helpful for my relationship with my son and has helped him become more compliant/eager to please. It's focused on extremely positive parenting.

    Reply
  13. Tricia
    October 1, 2013

    Things that we've done:
    Post institute inner circle monthly cds – it helps me to fill my mind with my new parenting paradigm and there are some great experts that talk.
    Becky Bailey Conscious Discipline – another great thing to shift my parenting paradigm mindset
    Play therapy – long and slow but definitely has been so helpful to have a professional involved
    Therapy for me – may be the biggest help – truly!
    Work with a naturapath – major diet changes to heal intestinal permeability and now doing more neurotransmitter supplements. We tried NT supplements for years and without the gut healing, weren't very helpful. This is expensive and very time consuming but we have seen a HUGE difference in one of our daughters. Off of psych meds, for now…
    Implementing TBRI as well as we can. It really has been about learning a different parenting paradigm.
    Pretty small world – we keep it as calm as possible around here.
    Great question! Would like to do EMDR but still seeking a good provider.

    Reply
  14. Tricia
    October 1, 2013

    Lisa, I tried to comment on the back post but don't think it was functioning. I am a two back surgery veteran (1 week apart…after not taking good care of myself post adoption). I did need surgery but physical therapy has always been very helpful. After I recovered, doing yoga has been the absolute best thing to maintain a healthy back. I hope your husband gets relief – that pain is really rough.

    Reply
  15. Margaret
    October 1, 2013

    Lisa, thank you so much for yesterday's post. Yes, yes, mental health issues are just not ok to discuss openly. sigh. Wow, what a range of approaches and issues. We have mostly done every variation of talk therapy imaginable, family, kid only, parents only, one parent only, etc, etc. depending on who was struggling with what. We have one child who struggles with depression and anxiety for whome talk therapy was good but not enough when she got very blue and stuck. She recently went on anti depressant medication, started feeling better and now does not want to go to therapy. Her therapist doesn't think she should be forced, so she is taking a break from therapy. I do think that ideally that and mess would be great for her, but there is this whole adolescent wanting to be normal and in control thing, and not going to therapy gives her a feeling of both, so…
    It has been a learning experience to see how our kids use or don't use therapy, and also to try to find people who can work well with our children, have hours and locations we can manage, and then figure out how to pay for it…it is an unfolding challenge.
    I am intrigued by all the diet based ideas…how do these work without becoming major struggles…it seems that for our children food is a very deep seated comfort, control issue and it is a struggle just to make family dinners that everyone will eat and more or less enjoy. I would be interested in others' ideas about this.

    Reply
    1. Tricia
      October 5, 2013

      Margaret, we started the diet when the one who has been most affected was 8, almost 9. We went in with "let's give this a try" attitude. She literally felt so much better within 2 weeks and doesn't want to go off at this point. She is almost 10 now. I know this can all derail in the future, but it has allowed her time to take in therapy better, have better days, etc etc. It is an ongoing journey. We work closely with a naturapath – lots of tests and money involved… There are so many paths and we all have to do our best to choose which way to go.

      Reply
  16. Tracy
    October 1, 2013

    Neurofeedback, Attachment Therapy, EMDR was to be started before her 3rd return to Residential. , Pastoral Care, Food Allergy testing is on the list, In home, Equine Therapy, Talk Therapy, MeDs. time ins, time outs, Karyn Purvis, Prayer~!

    Reply
  17. Amanda
    October 1, 2013

    Just went to a training session on "Circle of Security" Attachment Therapy…was very interesting! A book is about to be published: The Circle of Security: Enhancing Attachment in Early Parent-Child Relationships by Powell, Cooper, Hoffman, Marvin.

    Reply
  18. Anita
    October 1, 2013

    I am amazed and humbled by all of your incredible families. You are truly committed to healing your children as much as possible. So far, we have had none of the "abbreviations" so many of you are familiar with…ADHD, PTSD, etc. We became a family when my son was 5. He does well with balance in his day…some school work, some play time, some screen time, and intense exercise or heavy work. Lack of a good 10 hours of sleep and hunger seem to send him into the "naughty zone". We are ready for more intense issues come his teenage years (he is now 9) and will cross those bridges if we come to them. Keep up your great love and support…we are all so lucky to live in a time when there is so much knowledge and help for our children to heal.

    Reply
  19. Lea
    October 1, 2013

    Taking our 7 year old completely off of yellow food dye has changed our lives. It is terrible stuff and is well documented to cause angry outburst in sensitive kids. It is in sooo many things. Even chocolate pudding mix!! Also had her muscle tested by a Christian QRA practitioner. She is now on natural homeopathic therapy that helps her brain calm and focus similar to drugs for ADHD and sensory issues but without the unhealthy side affects. It's been truly amazing. I know it's controversial and you must have a honest practitioner that knows what they are doing but when I forget to give her the Rescue Calm I see a HUGE difference. And did I say stay away from yellow food dye?

    Reply
    1. Angela Crawford
      October 5, 2013

      Wow, this is interesting! We are looking into homeopathic remedies to help our adopted 8 yr old daughter! I have went back and forth on whether I really believe it can help her but we want to give it a shot!! something calming, anti-anxiety, along those lines!

      Reply
  20. Melissa
    October 2, 2013

    We adopted a daughter at age 6 1/2 and she is now 9. She has had attachment issues since the day we got her. We have tried neurological reorganization with some success (at a center called Brain Highways), have done attachment therapy for 18 mos. solid and then intermittently as needs arise, and have just begun neurofeedback, which has been interesting. We just got a system set up in our house for this neurofeedback to make it more convenient to have sessions since we have other children. With our other two children, we have tried OT, speech services and vestibular/proprioceptive input (through the Brain Highways program). We haver read like crazy- Bryan Post, Karen Purvis, Stacy Manning, Bruce Perry….the list goes on and on. We keep a VERY structured home with more consistency in routine than I prefer but it is necessary. We do not budge much on bedtimes and ensure 11 hours of sleep for each kid. We do not do many organized activities and avoid chaotic activities at all cost. We avoid processed foods and eat tons of fruits and vegetables. We go to therapy (my husband and I and each of us separately) and that has helped us tremendously. We are a part of support groups of folks in similar situations, which also helps immensely. We get breaks regularly, even when we feel we/our kids cannot afford them.

    Reply
  21. Molly Kitsmiller
    October 2, 2013

    We have had our kids home for 6 and 8 months and have already tried a lot. The one thing that has consistently made a difference is the use of Doterra essential oils, especially for my just turned 2 yr old. We use a couple different blends on her – 2X per day. I definitely notice if we don't use it! Recently, we just had her assessed using a "Zyto Compass" scan which evaluates what oils are needed right now in the body. I have noticed another jump up in helping her with her disorganized behavior since using the specifically recommended oils based on the scan. I have personally been helped by the oils as well – to maintain mood regulation and help with sleep. I also maintain a very clean diet and have chosen to go gluten-free with both kids just to eliminate anything that might add to their dysregulation.

    Reply
  22. Angela Crawford
    October 5, 2013

    I, too, am very impressed with these dedicated parents trying to find help and healing for their child(ren). We, too, have been on the road to trying to help our adopted daughter find help in her healing from PTSD and adjusting to our family as well as other possible mental illness. She has been with us for almost 2 years and it has been QUITE a roller coaster. We have tried vitamins, homeopathy remedies, we are on to our second therapist, this time trying playtherapy. We are also looking into more of a homeopathic constitution to help her with her anxieties, possible mental illness but it is just so hard to tell when you are dealing with so much!! I, more than my husband, have done therapy in dealing with everything and read so many books about adoption and attachment issues,…! We just recently have went more in depth with her current therapist to try more of a "treatment plan" to have in place. We are exhausted in dealing with so many issues and it is good to know we are not alone!!

    Reply

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