One of the biggest challenges for me as a parent, has been learning how to address to the emotional needs of my children. My bookshelves hold a host of books aimed at parenting attuned, sensitive, intense, explosive, inattentive and out-of-sync children. (The plight of being a therapist-parent!) Even though prior to motherhood, I was already trained as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I had to dig deep to find new tools and methods to handle what my parenting duties required: navigating huge meltdowns at transitions or changes, soothing the deep anxiety and existential crises that would ward off sleep night after night, or quelling the anger that ensued after a perceived injustice.
I remember the relief that came when I learned of Dabrowski’s research on overexcitabilities, which normalized these responses for certain children who felt deeply and expressed fully. This knowledge also helped me to adjust my responses to my children’s behavior; to offer more understanding and empathy, and to work on reinforcing the connection that I had with them, so that when we had rough times, we had a strong foundation to support us. Through these changes, I was able to shift from seeing these challenges as “issues or problems,” and rather to acknowledging them as the gifts that they are, the capacity for deep emotional awareness and relational depth.
Over the years, I have worked with many mothers who are raising exceptional children. Their experiences range from feeling exhausted and tired from the non-stop energy of their children, or being overwhelmed with handling intense emotions, to feeling isolated and lonely from those around them who couldn’t relate to their parenting stories. The mothers described all the energy they were directing towards getting all the necessary support for their children, while desperately being in need of support for themselves.
In response to hearing about these needs, I launched A Mother’s Retreat, a group designed to support the mothers of children with emotional intensity and sensitivity. By providing a safe and nurturing environment, my desire is for each person who attends to be encouraged, supported and to most importantly, know that they are not alone. Taking what I have learned both personally and professionally, I now have the opportunity to provide for others a unique space where mothers can come together and share their lives, to gain insight, and be refreshed. Find more information here about the upcoming Fall 2019 group,