I was given the amazing opportunity to attend the Reawaken Conference. It was utterly amazing and the first time in my life experience I've seen a community of strangers unite, resulting in a community of connection, compassion, and friendships. I also attended the Emotional CPR (for assisting people through emotion crisis) training that followed the conference.
I felt the desire to express what I have learnt and, apart from that, how it has changed not only my life but that of my son.
I left the eCPR training with renewed hope and awareness, challenging myself to bring this amazing therapeutic model into my home. My son is 8 yrs old. He is autistic with other complex needs. Zion has always found it difficult to self-regulate his emotions. He has an assistance dog to help him at times. To give you a picture, my son was having daily, if not more than once a day, meltdowns which were resulting in some behaviours of concern.
The morning after training, I landed in a situation where I could see the potential for using eCPR. I was able to sit with my son and use the model of Connect, emPower and Revitalise.
Me: Buddy, I can see your feeling very frustrated at the moment.
*nods head in his frustration of not being heard*
Me: I'm feeling frustrated also as I saw ___ chose not to listen and ignore you even though you tried to use your big voice. I feel proud you did try but, yes, also frustrated that you weren’t listened to.
*Zion starts calms as I acknowledged his and my own feeling*
Zion growls and states, “I am mad. “
Me: Yep, it is okay to be mad as you were being ignored and that is not nice.
Zion starts crying and says. “I am mad and sad. “
Me: I am feeling sad too as I can see you really tried and were so brave.
Zion reaches out for a hug, we hug.
Now normally this would have escalated to the point of a meltdown where behaviours of concerns would have come into play. This time I was not there to fix the problem but just to acknowledge and sit with those not-nice feelings.
We've used this model now for 3 weeks and we haven't had ANY behaviours of concerns. It has opened up my son's understanding that having emotions is okay and it is safe to be able to sit with another, connect together and be in a space of empowerment and healing. I have even expanded this to be included in all of Zion's therapy sessions. Even the therapists are in awe of his new-found awareness and understanding of emotions. As a parent, I don’t know how to explain, having done many years of therapy and seeing small steps, that in just 3 weeks this amazing, powerful model of simplicity, has changed our lives. Now we are no longer living in a battle field but in a field of understanding, acknowledgement, compassion and growth.
Thank You to the Reawaken and eCPR team.
Bianca is a parent of two amazing children. She is passionate about making positive change in society in the areas of disability, mental health and trauma.