Family T session #31 2-10-11
the conversation started with congrats for making the transitional unit...no longer on probation.
t: there were lots of great comments on BPDd-13 at the staff meeting tuesday...she has been struggling with intense emotions lately brought on by the transition and goal of going home. her behavior has been stable even though she is in a heightened state of emotion at times. we are going to be working a lot on this.
BPDd-13: I recognize that my emotions are valid and real, I just would like to control the intensity level more.
t: we will keep working on imagery and Wise Mind. I have told the staff when you are having intense emotions to ask you to get into your Wise Mind and that it will help to calm you. lets talk about chapter 4 of the book "i don't have to make everything all better". dad tell us what you thought was important in this chapter.
dh: that it is important to practice good listening skills until you can master it as an art. I also realize that it may be easier for older people who are more patient than young people.
t: mom, what was important that you learned from this chapter.
me: that the art of listening is a technique that you develop through practice, that non verbals are important and that asking validating questions keeps communication flowing and can lead to problem solving.
t: do you agree that mom and dad are working on developing good listening skills?
BPDd-13: yes. and I know I do have a short attention span.
t: yes. while you were both talking she was fidgeting and looking out the window and moving around a great deal. yet she heard everything you were saying.
me: when she was about 2 her preschool teacher told me that she could be playing with something and facing the opposite direction and still hear every word that is said. I did not ever force her to look at me to assure myself she was listening. it was not necessary. she is capable of multi tasking.
t: she is pretty bright and catches on quickly. when you get home BPDd-13 you will need to work on your non verbal communication. people out in the business world and teachers in colleges want your undivided attention sometimes and it will be important for you to communicate with them that they have it. they won't know what your mom or your preschool teacher knows about you. mom and dad, can you work with her on that?
dh: yes we will work together on it.
t: what else stood out to you in this chapter?
me: the non validating word "but". as a general rule, if I can't substitute the word "and" for "but" then I have to consider whether or not what I am thinking about saying should even be said.
t: right. don't cancel out all the good with a 3 letter word. words that are helpful for validating questions are a big part of this chapter too.
me: the words how, when, what, do, are words that can begin a validating question and create a safe environment for honest communication. so I will give that a try by asking BPDd-13 "how can we create a safe environment for you to share your feelings, thoughts, and details of your life honestly with us?"
BPDd-13: well, if I come to you and I am honest about a mistake that I maade maybe if you don't punish me right away it would be easier to tell you about that stuff.
t: first lets clarify punish from discipline. punish means to hurt and discipline means to teach. your parents don't ever want to hurt you and they do want to teach you. if you are honest about doing something your parents aren't going to protect you from the consequences of that. do you think just because you are honest that you should not have consequences?
BPDd-13: no. like if I come in from school and mom asks me how my day was and I say 'horrible' and she asks me what happened and then I tell her the truth and then she grounds me or something that makes it harder to tell her why school was horrible.
me: before, when you would come in I would say "hi sweety how was your day?" and you would say "horrible" then I would ask "did something bad happen at school today?" and you would just say "no, its just school that is horrible". that shuts down communication.
t: lets say that when BPDd-13 comes home that does happen. what would you say to mom now?
BPDd-13: well, I would say "i got a bad grade because I didn't study for my test". I don't want to be punished for the bad grade.
me: I try not to add extra consequences to ones that are naturally occurring. I would not discipline her for the bad grade. I would however ask her to look at her priorities and see where she got off track and perhaps restrict the use of whatever it was that came between her and her homework...like the xbox live or the computer. in the past she would get online and refuse to get off and do homework.
t: BPDd-13 your grinning. it sounds kind of silly now doesn't it. is this going to be a problem when you go home?
t: you have matured a lot since you have been here. if you begin to struggle just be honest in your communication and ask for help. covering up a struggle or lying about it won't help you. changing your mindset about discipline being a help to you and not a punishment is a shift in your thinking. ok, the chapter discusses indirect messages. do you practice this at home?
me: we have a lot of that at home. I reinforce this kind of behavior because I am pretty good at reading between the lines. husband will say "i'm going to pass out!" and I know that means he is hungry so I will reply "do you want me to make you something to eat?" or if I am feeling ornery I might say "did you forget where the refrigerator is again?".
BPDd-13: I drew him a map from his chair in the den to the refrigerator.
. it sounds like you have a lot of fun at your house. just don't be offended if people don't understand what you want when you use indirect messages. BPDd-13, your life is not going to be easy. you will have to deal with your intense emotions and it won't be all roses. when you stay in your Wise Mind you will do much better and be much happier. let mom and dad help you by listening to cues and using the coping skills list. next week we will look mostly at chapter 6 and if there is something you want to discuss from ch 5 we can.
BPDd-13: love you mom, love you dad. talk to you later.
me: love you too trans girl.
dh: so proud of you and your accomplishments.
me: bye sweetie.