Baby Speak

Infants are born with hopes and expectations. Their need to be loved, nurtured and safe are innate and they can intuitively sense when their essential needs for love and security are being met or not being met. While these set of expectations lie at an unconscious level, the baby hopes her cries will be heard, that she will be fed when hungry, allowed sleep when needed, that her gaze will be lovingly returned and smiles reciprocated.

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Depression in Children – Myth or Reality?

I have always believed that the sources of human distress lie in an individual’s story and the research facts presented in my recent article ‘A Crazy Idea’ spoke for themselves regarding there being no evidence for a biochemical basis to human misery. Whilst I have no doubt that those professionals who subscribe to the notion of mental illness are well-intentioned, there is the conundrum that they do not appear to have kept abreast of research findings. The position that needs addressing is that physicians either don’t read the research literature or they do read it and ignore it – in both situations there is a case to be answered. It seems that it has taken over two hundred years for psychiatrists to begin to realise that the causes and cures for human desperation be in relationship, not in biochemistry.

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ADHD – The Facts Speak for Themselves

Before 1980 no distressed children or teenagers were labelled with the ‘brain-disease’ attention-deficit with hyperactivity psychiatric disorder. Neither were young people medicated prior to 1980. In 1980 nearly one million US children were labelled with ADHD, such that ADHD could be found in every classroom. Five years later that number had doubled. Today, some 3.5 million American children are medicated for ADHD resulting in one in every twenty-three American four to seventeen year old children being medicated. This phenomenon has been replicated throughout the Western world.

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The Story Behind What We Do

Everybody has a story and each person’s story is a unique autobiography and only that person fully knows their story.

However, some aspects of a person’s story may be known only at an unconscious level and this hidden world will only become available to consciousness when the person finds adequate emotional and social safety, initially with another and, subsequently, within self.

The story of a person’s life is not the events he or she encounters – for example, difficult birth, loving mother, emotionless home, conditional loving, violent father, possessive mother, kind grandparent, affirming teacher. The story consists in the person’s inner responses to these events. What is amazing in a family or classroom or workplace is that each person responds in a unique way to situations that arise. This means that each child has a different mother and a different father, each student a different teacher, each employee a different manager and each voter a different politician. This makes total sense because when two individuals interact, inevitably, their interaction will be of a unique nature. Parents are powerful witnesses to how each child is completely different from the other and this happens whether children are reared in benign or difficult circumstances.

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What Lies Hidden

Leo Tolstoy wrote that ‘all happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’  The reality is that most families are a mixture of hurtful and nurturing experiences, but the most common illusion is that we all come from happy families!  The myth of the happy family is a clever creation that seeks to keep hidden the neglect – physical, sexual, emotional, social, intellectual, behavioural, creative – within a family.  The façade of the happy family is reinforced by regular contact, regular family meetings, family celebrations and an over-involvement in each other’s lives but every interaction stays at the surface level.  What lies beneath is skilfully avoided.  

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