Therapy: What Gives Me the Right to Try to Change a Child?

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After 36 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist my attitude remains that the MOST important thing that transpires during speech/language therapy goes far beyond the specific exercise at hand and has everything to do with the NATURE of the interactions while approaching the work at hand. 

I love that my students can perceive that although I see the playfulness within life, I take them and their needs seriously this is the only way that trust can grow and the only environment in which the child can feel safe enough to take risks in areas filled with futility. And this the ONLY thing that gives a therapist the right to intrude in their lives; the ONLY thing that causes them to invite us in. 

In teaching, as with any art and relationship (and even science!), better questions are the way forward (not answers) and the only limits are those that are imposed by our lack of imagination and curiosity. 

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My Profile: The Gemara says that all of our constructs and paradigms exist as a result of suppressing information. From chaos, the sum potential of all that is possible - physicists call it white noise; statisticians call it raw data - we must push away that which is unwanted. We are left to work with our visions and patterns of reality. The big question is, how well do those visions match up to what reality actually is in all its inter-related complexity and detail. On Yom Kippur, we come face to face with the reality that "The hidden things belong to HaShem our God, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, that we might fulfill all the words of this Torah." (Deuteronomy 29:28). God's ultimate and uncompromising reality must hold us accountable even for paradigms we are NOT aware of! Many refer to this as "The law of unintended consequences." This is why what I hold dear is not answers, but an endless path of growing awareness that attempts to come closer and closer to reality as it really is - not the "reality" that is just a projection of some inner solipsistic construction within my brain. The questions- not the answers - lead me on that path. I have become deeply committed to a life long journey of learning, growth, change, love, discernment, service, play, commitment, questioning, and valuing disagreement. At my core is the notion that without self-doubt and without valuing difference and differing opinions, one cannot develop a fulfilling and meaningful life. My art starts as a white sheet of whole paper, which represents chaos - all the possible pictures that one could create on it - onto which I impose order. Simultaneously destructive and defining, my paper-cutting adds meaning to the paper. Cutting pieces out is a creative process that graphically reveals before me my deeper paradigms so that I can scrutinize them - so that I can better understand the limits and characteristics of the space in which those paradigms work and gain insight as to where they are no longer valid. But it is not just a discovery of my internal landscapes. It is a process of becoming aware of myself within relationship and covenant. It is my simultaneous love and awe of and participation in the splendor of God's continued creation. It is my Avoda.

One thought on “Therapy: What Gives Me the Right to Try to Change a Child?”

  1. cassidylynnsteward says:

    I loved being your student and you are amazing at your job! You are simply amazing and blew my and my parents minds. When everyone said I had a hearing problem you begged to differ and knew it was not my hearing whatsoever . You dug deeper and didn’t give up until you figured me out. Do you have any of my and your tape recordings still?! That would be amazing to hear myself 20 years later and show everyone I really had made my own language! You are one in a million trillion and I can only hope one day you’ll meet my daughter and tell her my story:)) speaking of daughters how’s your wife and children?! Anyways you gave me your phone number so I’ll stop jibber jabbering on your blog but I am so excited to be in contact with you again!

    Liked by 1 person

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