My food photographer took the first picture for the book — gluten-free chocolate chip oatmeal cookies — good for the Warrior’s soul. :)
Recipe to follow in my book, Cooking for Emotional Wellness — due out this fall!
One of the recommendations I make in “Know Thyself” for expressing and healing your Wounded Child is to volunteer for an organization that helps others. One of the ways that I help children heal from trauma is also by inviting them to join the community of my office by contributing something to the Rainbow Wall, a wall of arts and crafts creations made by children in the process of therapy. This wall helps children to know they are not alone, and that even in their suffering, they have something to give to others, which is a representation of progress and hope.
In my book, “Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes,” I recommend that children watch or play with animals in order to become more aware of the Innocent Archetype — the naturally curious part of our identity. Research into how animals affect our mental health is just in its infancy, but so far there are some compelling studies to suggest that animals can contribute to mental health on a number of levels and across a wide span of ages and mental health problems.
I have done some searching and reading, and here are some good resources on the growing body of evidence that pet ownership and spending time around animals has a positive correlation to physical and mental health.
From Australia, this paper talks about research showing animal-assisted therapy improving mental health for elderly people in nursing homes as well as children diagnosed with ADHD. It also points out that because of financial hardship, pet ownership for some people has become more difficult. It reports that pet ownership was on the decline in Australia due to increased renting and decreasing owning of homes.
The American Humane Association has a good page that talks about animal-assisted work being done with military families and children with cancer. Their hope is that with more clinical trials, animal-assisted therapies will become more mainstream and available for different treatment and caregiving environments.
On this page, Dr. Andrew Weil talks about how animal-assisted therapy and/or pet ownership can alleviate anxiety, depression and social isolation, while improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
My discussion of animals in “Know Thyself” is focused primarily on expressing your Innocent, but there are several archetypes that are expressed when animals are a part of our lives. Animals also call forth our Caregiver as we feed and nurture them, and most of us also know people who express a sense of deeper connection with animals — a sense of animals as Soul Mates. Essentially, animals give us the opportunity to express love, which is the basis for so much of what makes life pleasurable and fulfilling.
There is a tremendous amount of evidence to support the practices and suggestions in my book, “Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes.” With regard to expressing your Innocent, I advise children to play outdoors every day. Here is a piece of research that shows that outdoor play is one of the most effective antidotes for ADHD.
Over the next few weeks, I will be compiling and publishing links to research that supports the treatment recommendations I offer in my book, as well as research on therapeutic practices with children and families that I teach about in my CEU Course, “Know Thyself: Using Archetypes to Understand and Heal Children.”
“This book is an easy and fun read, a very friendly tool that can help kids get to know and befriend the different dimensions of themselves. It also provides their parents and therapists with a way to help them along their path to self-knowledge and rich and ever greater wholeness.” — Dr. David Stern
“Know Thyself” is a lovely, accessible introduction to Jung’s archetypes. It is suitable for kids of all ages (and the Jung at heart). Marek’s delightful workbook deserves a spot in any child therapist’s (or parent’s) library. — David Jaffe, LICSW
“Know Thyself” is available here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/kiersten-marek/know-thyself-a-kids-guide-to-the-archetypes/paperback/product-20212610.html
Another fascinating documentary, “Happy,” entered my consciousness yesterday. It talks about what makes for happiness. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “flow” — if not, the movie is an excellent primer. But beyond flow, the film also provides research about how little social status and money (above a certain basic minimum for health and safety) really have to do with happiness. Parts that were particularly intriguing were the descriptions of Co-housing in Denmark, and how people there report record high levels of happiness and contentment. Co-housing exists in America, but not at all to the degree it does in Denmark. It might be an interesting model for Americans to allow into their field of vision, now that we have suffered a massive economic downturn and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure. Maybe we could even try a co-housing development with the bond money that will be on the Rhode Island ballot this November.
An email from the Children’s Mental Health Network about an upcoming Action:
The federal government supports many programs that benefit all Americans, including mental health and social services; public health; housing; public safety and law enforcement; medical and scientific research; and education and job training. In Washington, these programs are collectively referred to as “nondefense discretionary” or simply “NDD” programs. On January 2, 2013 these programs will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of 8.2 percent through an arcane budget tool known as “sequestration” unless Congress works together to prevent these cuts through a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction.
On September 20th please join us in a National NDD Community Call-in and Tweet Day and ask your member of Congress to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs, including children’s mental health.
NDD programs represent a relatively small and shrinking share of the federal budget and our overall economy—already reduced to levels not seen since President Eisenhower held office. They are not the drivers of the debt. In fact, even completely eliminating all NDD programs would still not balance the budget. Yet to date NDD programs have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts. If sequestration is allowed to take effect, core services upon which Americans have come to rely will be greatly curtailed or even eliminated.
Email, Call, Tweet, or Facebook your Members of Congress on September 20th to let them know that NDD programs, including children’s mental health and research, have already done their part to help reduce the deficit – it’s now time for a balanced approach! We have made links on the Network website to send an email, sample Facebook posts, Tweets, and information about how to call your Members of Congress and are also included below to help you advocate to protect public health and research from further cuts! These materials are also available on the Coalition for Health Funding’s website.
Email Your Congressman
Take approximately five minutes and send an email to your Members of Congress: http://www.cmhnetwork.org/share-your-voice. You’ll simply click the “Take Action” button, scroll to the bottom of the page, enter your name, address, and contact information. Click the blue Send Message button and you’re done!
Call Your Congressman
For those not familiar with calling the offices of your Members of Congress, you can call the Capitol Switchboard and asked to be connected to your Members’ offices. The phone number is (202) 224-3121. You can also go to http://www.Congress.org to find the office’s direct line and to look up your Members of Congress.
Suggested Facebook Posts
This January, essential jobs and services will face more deep cuts through sequestration. There is bipartisan agreement that these cuts would be devastating to the nation. Only through a balanced approach can we avoid sequestration, balance the budget and restore the nation’s economic stability. Take action!
How to Tweet Your Members of Congress:
Use the Children’s Mental Health Network Tweet Your Legislator tool to get in touch with your member of Congress via Twitter. For those relatively new to Twitter, this is a great Twitter 101 Guide from the folks at Half in Ten/Center for American Progress.
Invest in public health, mental health, medical research, & infrastructure [insert Member Twitter handle]. Support balance to stop #sequestration! #NDDUnited.
Invest in public health, mental health, medical research, & infrastructure @MaxBaucus. Support balance to stop #sequestration! #NDDUnited
Template (links to NDD national sign-on letter)
Remember [insert Member Twitter handle] over 3000 groups want you to support a balanced approach to stop #sequestration! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited
Remember @MaxBaucus, over 3000 groups want you to support a balanced approach to stop #sequestration!http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited
#Sequestration means an 8.2% cut to #mentalhealth funding in 2013. [insert Member Twitter handle] support a balanced approach! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited
#Sequestration means an 8% cut to #mentalhealth funding in 2013. @MaxBaucus support a balanced approach! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited
Template (links to The Hill editorial by American Federation of School Administrators)
#Sequestration devastates medical research, education, & infrastructure. [insert Member Twitter handle] find a balanced solution! http://bit.ly/OPmbSl #NDDUnited
#Sequestration devastates medical research, education, & infrastructure. @MaxBaucus find a balanced solution! http://bit.ly/OPmbSl #NDDUnited
Let us know what you need from the Network! We love feedback so let us know how we can improve the website to better meet your needs. Contact us here. As always, thank you for your continued support of the Children’s Mental Health Network, and remember to take action on September 20th!
President & CEO