It is easy to be compelled by a dysregulated child’s presentation and become focussed on them as the source of both the difficulty and its resolution. However, the literature is clear that the incapacity of the child to manage their strong emotions is often embedded in a family that also struggles to manage powerful feelings. Attention to the family makes sense, but how best to harness the resources of the group to help a child?
A paper by Bocknek (2018) offers a charming suggestion. The author explored the role that family rituals played in young children’s emotion regulation in the context of urban poverty and parental stress. The results demonstrated a significant relationship between the two. Family rituals ‘present opportunities for young children to participate in their families’ identity development and learn about their cultural background in positive ways’ while also providing ‘a structure through which parents and children can develop protective processes together’. This is a concrete and tangible intervention that is gentle, appealing and potentially effective and well suited to many of the families who attend the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic who present with histories of trauma, poverty and disadvantage and a disconnection from their homes and culture.
. Bocknek, E., (2018) Family Rituals In Low-Income African American Families At Risk For Trauma Exposure and Associations With Toddlers’ Regulation Of Distress Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 44(4): 702–715
Upcoming workshop – Emotional Dysregulation
“A neuro-political approach to therapy with emotionally & behaviourally dysregulated children, adolescents & families”
A one-day workshop, combining clinical expertise, knowledge and training within the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic. An opportunity to explore research drawing on live clinical practice.
15th March 2019 – 9.30am to 5pm.
Cost $190 for full day training with Senior Practitioners in the field and Bower Place Directors Catherine Sanders and Malcolm Robinson