In the Company of Each Other

When our children are difficult or when we are disappointed by their behaviours, we may sometimes seek assistance from our loved ones. We may also read a book on parenting to get some guidance to better understand what we could do to improve the situation. Among the recommendations given, we may be advised to provide a more structured environment for our child or to better understand how we communicate with him or her. A special emphasis may also be given to the importance of formative consequences in shaping responsible behaviours.

Although these recommendations are all valuable, we often forget to mention a very simple activity which is often, I believe, an essential prerequisite to the success of those guidelines. That activity is this: to learn to give your full attention to your child – to learn to simply “be with” your child. In addition to contributing to a more positive relationship with your son or daughter, this period of time spent only with him or her will help you gradually change your own behaviour and will help you rediscover your child. When a child and a parent go through a difficult period, they often have few pleasurable moments of complicity. Spending time together is so simple and there is nothing more precious for our children.

JC Edit

Parents: Pick a 20-minute period everyday during which you will give your total attention to your child. If your child is less than 9 years old, you can introduce this period of time by saying “It is our playtime. What would you like to do?” The child chooses an activity. (Watching television, by the way, is not an appropriate activity here.) If your child is already doing something, you can ask him or her if you can join in on the activity. In both cases, do not take control of the activity and do not try to supervise it. (If your child is older, you can simply participate in his activity when he is playing by himself.)

Parents: Observe what your child does and after a few minutes, describe what you notice to communicate your interest. As much as possible, do not ask questions and do not make requests; this is a playtime spent together, not a time to teach or tell your child what to do. At times, tell him that you like how he plays or what he does during this time. Enjoy!

In the Company of Each Other
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It was in 1991 that Jean-Claude came to Denis Boyd & Associates to do his internship, and he has never left, working on a part-time basis ever since. Over those years, Jean-Claude was involved in various types of therapies: group therapy, couples counselling, art and play therapy for children, mediation, family therapy, etc. These last years, he has focused more specifically on working individually with adults, as he feels this is where he does his best work. Jean-Claude’s warm, caring, inquisitive approach is what makes the difference in his work. For him, life’s problems are always seen against a background of meaning: meaning about self, others, and life in general. He strongly believes people can face almost anything if they can make sense of what they go through and slowly build a deeper philosophy of life. His work is to help you see more clearly through what may appear confusing, contradictory, even hopeless.

Jean-Claude worked for over 20 years as a school counsellor. He has also worked as a translator for over 10 years, translating publications in the fields of mental health and education. His therapeutic methodologies are mainly conversational, psychodynamic and reality-oriented; with cognitive, mindfulness, relaxation, and motivational methods as adjuncts. He trained at UBC and holds a Master’s degree in counselling psychology. He has studied extensively and attended trainings and workshops in such areas as EMDR (trauma), narrative therapy, focusing, CBT, and many more.

And last but not least, he loves learning: life is a never-ending adventure for him, an adventure both profoundly philosophical and spiritual. He is grateful to work in a profession that allows him to walk in that direction with others.

PS: If you wish to increase your endorphins, oxytocin, prolactin, and dopamine, the hormones of stress-relief and joy, please note that his dog Leo has been his faithful assistant for the last five years!

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