TAKLING = CARING = LOVING = Teaching Empathy

Many of us are concerned how to raise our children. What messages do you pass along to your kids in these politically vulnerable times? 

After doing some research, I came across an excellent article in Parenting Science by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D.  (© 2009 - 2014 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved)

I am sharing with you what I found very helpful and give you guidance how to talk to your young ones.   

Here are some tips for teaching empathy - tips inspired by scientific research:

Research suggests that empathy is a complex phenomenon involving several component skills:

·         A sense of self-awareness and the ability to distinguish one's own feelings from the feelings of others

·          Taking another person’s perspective (or, alternatively, "putting oneself in another person's shoes")

·         Being able to regulate one's own emotional responses

Teaching empathy tip #1: Address your child’s own needs, and teach him how to “bounce back" from distress

Teaching empathy tip #2: Be “mind-minded” parent- Treat children as individuals with minds of their own, and talk to them about the ways that our feelings influence our behavior

Teaching empathy tip #3: Seize everyday opportunities to model—and induce—sympathetic feelings for other people.

Teaching empathy tip #4: Help kids discover what they have in common with other people. 

Teaching empathy tip #5: Teach kids about the hot-cold empathy gap.

Teaching empathy tip #6: Help kids explore other roles and perspectives.

Teaching empathy tip #7: Show kids how to “make a face" while they try to imagine how someone else feels. 

Teaching empathy tip #8: Help kids develop a sense of morality that depends on internal self-control, not on rewards or punishments.

Teaching empathy tip #9: Teach (older) kids about mechanisms of moral disengagement.

Teaching empathy tip #10: Inspire good feelings (and boost oxytocin levels) through pleasant social interactions and physical affection.

For more go to:  http://www.parentingscience.com/teaching-empathy-tips.html

Let's celebrate our uniqueness

Whether Birthdays, New Year or any Holiday relevant to you and your family- the question is how do we internationals celebrate our cultural uniqueness.

For 25 years I have been working with families and couples who are internationals, who bridge cultural divides, and embrace religious intermarriages. Those of us who know immigration and acculturation will understand both the vulnerability and the gift of cross cultural uniqueness.

Here are few questions we can ask ourselves:

How does the culture/country you come from / your homeland / isolate you from others?

How does it connect you to others?

What values do you want to pass on to your children about their international cultural identity?

What is the language of your heart?

Connecting Beyond the Therapy Room: A New Beginning

For many psychotherapists, the work we do in the therapy room spans far beyond the walls of the office. Often the reflections we have outside of the office provide an important context for the relationships we build with people who come to consult us.  Being a psychotherapist is an ongoing process of growth and reflection. Writing is an important medium through which these reflections can be articulated.

Speaking about our vulnerabilities may feel risky. Whether you are experiencing your own struggles or you are concerned for a family member, too often, shame and embarrassment can keep us from reaching out and seeking help, or from reaching out to those in need.

Psychotherapy is about changing the meaning people make about themselves. It is about connecting to a voice that has not yet been spoken. This post marks a new beginning, a space to reach out and connect beyond the confines of my office. Connecting beyond the therapy room means creating new spaces to speak about issues that are taboo, or that we often brush under the rug in moments of fear or avoidance. Together, we can begin to traverse the walls of stigma and shame and begin a new dialogue. Together, we can begin a conversation that matters.