by Beth Keil
Okay, I put in the (Wo), not to be politically correct but to include more than half of the people who live in this world. As a woman I grew up with so many male pronouns to which I could not relate. Using John Donne’s word—I felt like an island, in a sea of he. Of course it’s quite bemusing that my immediate family is comprised of two sons and a husband. When we were looking for a dog I requested we add some estrogen to the mix hence Sandy came into our family. Sandy is my dog for all practical purposes. She knows I’m the one that makes sure she’s fed and walked. Like clockwork she lets me know when it’s my bedtime—-she whines until I climb into bed where she curls up and goes to sleep. If I’m not ready for bed we tell her “go to sleep” and she’ll slowly make her way to the bedroom and lay down. When my husband was deployed for 13 months Sandy slept with me every night. I took comfort in her listening out for unusual noises in the house and I slept better with her on the lookout. When Jim came home it was an adjustment for Sandy now that she was to sleep at the end of the bed and not curled up next to me.
Changes in the dynamics of a group, whether related to family, work, social, etc., occur to everyone who is a part of that group, even the dog. Take a moment and think about the different groups you belong to. Notice what the impact on you and this group has been when, for example, someone left, there was a change in responsibilities or procedures, or the person who used to react in annoyance is now calm and relaxed. At some point a shift takes place. I don’t know if you remember a device/game of sorts that had five or more large stainless steel balls attached to a frame with thick thread that when you swung one of the balls on the end, one ball on the opposite side swung out. If you swung two balls, two on the opposite side swung out, and so on. This device is a perfect example of changes in dynamics (and physics as well); what happens on one side affects the other.
Whenever I work with a minor child who lives with their family, I require a parent or guardian see me for sessions, too. Why? No person is an island. Children, like adults, live within a dynamic that can limit or support them. There are times that a child’s behavior is a symptom of family dynamics: who is the good child, the trouble maker, the smart one, the one that (fill in the blank)? Like a dance, dynamics can cause a rut. For a child to change and sustain that change, whether a behavior or thought pattern, the family dynamics need to support this change. Children need the adult(s) in their life to assist them in creating the atmosphere that will help them succeed. When a parent experiences for themselves 5PATH™, the hypnosis process I use, they can put in place a foundation of success for their child to build on.
Appreciating the impact we have on a group or individuals is important. It doesn’t mean everything we do has to be based on the effect it might on others but it can inform the choices we make. Remember, none of us is an island.