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In the last track, we discussed the three Adjustment Disorder Behaviors of Destructiveness, Chronic Lying, and Unusual Social Behavior, as well as two techniques of unfinished sentences and list-making to treat children with adjustment disorder.
In this track we will discuss the Yo-Yo Syndrome children can experience when moving from home to home to escape danger. This constant moving made Lucy, age 12, feel restless. Lucy stated, "I have a little bag full of some things that I need, like a hairbrush and some clothes. I never unpack it."
Enhancing the Yo-Yo Syndrome may be relatives who actually fabricate or falsify abuse to prevent the child from returning home. Lucy had a feeling of neglect because of her confusion regarding the whereabouts of her parents. She stated, "I feel no one cares about me. I'm not sure where my parents are. Are they living together this week or are they apart again? I lose track." In being moved from place to place, Lucy felt like a pawn or weapon used as her parents tried to retaliate against one another. In these Yo-Yo situations, I find that children need to maintain the two connections of siblings and self to help them through the difficulties of their violent family.
Connection to Siblings
Connection to Self
In clustering, the client picks an issue about which he or she would like to learn more, such as "anger in my family." Then Lucy condensed this topic into a single word "anger" or "divorce" and wrotes it in a circle in the center of a blank piece of paper. This became her nucleus word, around which her clustering was organized.
Next, I had both Jake and Lucy put down all the associations they could make to the central word. Jake chose the word "divorce," and the three words connected to divorce were "saying goodbye to my dad, mystery, and scared." From the word "scared," Lucy attached the words "guilty" and "my fault." The client can branch out from the first idea to other related ideas in a string of associations. Each time you start a new train of thought, return to the nucleus word and branch out from there in a different direction. Keep adding to your cluster until you run out of associations.
After writing a passage starting from the word scared, Lucy said, "I never realized that I blamed myself for my parents' splitting up until I looked at that string of associations - scared, guilty, my fault." I have found many children of violence gain powerful insights from the clustering technique.
As mentioned earlier, clustering is designed to allow the creative, intuitive part of the client's mind to generate new ideas about a subject. I find children are attracted to the picture aspect of this activity. Lucy stated, "It's like make a word picture. I write a word, draw a circle around that word and see how it connects with other words. I never thought before how mad I was at them. I still feel somehow it is my fault."
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