The great play therapist, Margaret Lowenfeld, taught play therapist that children do not have the vocabulary that grown ups have. Babies process thoughts and words in pictures with their minds. As babies turn into children they start to attach words to these pictures.
The more mature a person becomes the more words they attach to these images in the mind. The subconscious mind only knows pictures. Young children understand these pictures more than words. By showing a picture of a positive and negative consequence the child better understands what is being asked of them.
Here is your formula to memorize:
Poor Behavior = Fear Base = Help is Needed
If you can help the child work through the fear and show them that the fear is unfounded then you can begin the process of changing the behavior. This will take some time, but, if you are willing to try it you can change the life of a child. Most child behavior programs will not try to change the way the adult sees the behavior of the child.
Another major advantage to the ReThink It© program is that the child gets to make a visual choice. This visual choice acts as a distracter from the negative choice behavior.
It then empowers the child by reminding them that they get to make the choice. The adult will not be able to make the choice for the child and the child’s behavior. However, the adult will administer the positive or negative consequences.
This program is also based on the premise that “less talking is more effective”. Adults using this program should be aware of their body language and facial expressions.
The more words you use the more you confuse children. Children who are upset will not hear words. They will block out the words you say when they are upset. Children must be calm in order to process words.
By offering a visual in the Choice Circles or Choice Squares the child begins to build self efficacy. This is an internal process that requires the child to take responsibility for their behavior.
This means the adults in the child’s life need to create a safe and positive environment for the child to begin the internal process.
If the adults are yelling at the child or anything else that is negative the ReThink© program is a waste of time. The adult administering the program needs to keep their behavior in check. They do not need to show any negative emotions. They need to remain calm and simply point to the Choice Circle or Choice Square.
How can you use the ReThink It©program to help young children? Well, the first step is to find the child’s“currency”. That is, what does this child like to do? Do they like computer time? TV? Play time? Ice Cream? Toys?
The teacher, parent, school counselor, administrator, or counselor needs to spend time finding out what that currency is for the child.
Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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