Therapies are like apps: there’s one for everything. From specific skills like chewing, swallowing, and handwriting, to more global issues like comprehension, dynamic intelligence, and relating to other people, if someone has a challenge, someone else has devised a therapy for it.
In theory, this is a good thing--who doesn’t want help with their challenges? In practice, though, it’s not that simple. Ill-conceived therapies can make problems worse, and even the best therapies can do harm if they’re not administered sensitively. Constant pressure to “make gains” can put stress on the whole family. Parents can get the message that they’re not competent to raise their own child. And the child receiving lots of therapies can get the message that he or she is defective--a broken person who needs to be fixed.
For me, this is where NPT comes in. Just as you can’t run multiple apps effectively without a good operating system, it’s hard to run multiple therapies effectively if you don’t have a good mental/emotional operating system to ground you. NPT has become my operating system.
How do you know which therapies to try? Which providers to use? How do you react if your child doesn’t want to participate in a therapy you’ve chosen (and paid for)? What do you do if a therapy you’ve invested in isn’t “working”?
In addition to all these big decisions, there are hundreds of little decisions we have to make, minute by minute, as we relate with our kids. When a child doesn’t fit the mold, it can be difficult to know what to do. And of course, everyone has different advice.
In NPT, we know that growing emotional trust is our first priority. Having this priority makes all the those other decisions a lot easier to make. We also take plenty of time in NPT to get in touch with our own feelings. We practice recognizing, in the moment, when an activity or intervention doesn’t feel right. And we learn to trust our intuition.
What seems most unique to me about NPT is that we also spend a lot of time learning to articulate our feelings and beliefs. As parents, we have all been told how important it is to advocate for our children. But if you’re not clear in your own mind what you believe, or if you’re not confident expressing your beliefs, then advocating for your child is easier said than done.
As we try to help our children with their challenges, we end up coming face to face with our own challenges. In NPT, we learn to address these challenges with the same love, patience, respect, and humor that we show our children.