As a relatively “young” Marriage and Family Therapist, I have had my training with mostly marginalized populations.
I have worked in people’s homes doing work called Family Base. Working in and out of homes for three years, I have come to appreciate the life and the family that I was born into.
I have gained an appreciation for various lifestyles, some I would like to replicate one day if I have children and others presented me with more of a cautionary tale.
My training in a model called Eco-systemic Family Therapy has helped me help families in ways I could not have imagined.
What does that model even mean?
It’s a fancy way of saying that my type of therapy believes that the issue with a child is systemic, or more simply put everyone’s issue. This model is founded in four basic principles: attachment, co-caregiver alliance, executive functioning, and self-regulation.
Again, complicated words so here is the break down…
Attachment is something parents build with their child throughout their lives. The feeling you get when you hug someone you love and care for is due to your attachment with that person. Co-caregiver alliance is simple. You can’t raise a healthy kid on your own.
Single moms, single dads, everyone needs that one other person (could be a friend, relative, etc.) who reinforces your message.
Executive functioning means rules=consistency which=healthy kids. Parents are the parents and sometimes that means being the meanie.
Last but not least, there is self-regulation.
Every healthy adult has ways of calming themselves in stressful situations. As a parent, you need to be able to not have certain conversations with your kids or in front of them, you need to get frustrated, be clear, THEN go to your room and cry.
So you may be asking yourself;
What does this have to do with acceptance?
In the wake of yet another horrific shooting in our country, I became overwhelmed with emotions. I think that I have walked my way through all the phases of grief and am now in a place where I can think more logically about what had happened.
I have always been the person who feels like no matter what is thrown at me is a learning opportunity.
So what can we learn?
What has not already been talked about with regards to gun control, or hate crimes?
How can we have a discussion about these huge topics and somehow enact change?
- We need to take off the band-aid and look at the cut.
- We need to examine how much it is still bleeding.
- We need to take some water and cleanse the wound.
- We need to look for infection because it is DEFINITELY there.
- We need to squeeze and scrape out the disgusting puss of this wound.
Let’s be honest, no one wants to do that. It’s gross, it’s real, it’s honest, it’s embarrassing, it gets deep down to the core, but ultimately, it’s raw.
We are not raw yet.
If we look at this tragedy we can see some ESFT stuff in there.
We can see some issues with co-caregivers.
Who are they?
We have a system of checks and balances in our government, but they are constantly battling and ultimately it becomes a non-topic because we cannot seem to look at the wound.
Look at the wound and the first thing we have realize is that it did not just appear. Infection comes from an initial rip, or better yet an initial bullet hole.
Systemically, our caregivers are not united. Our health care system does not take mental health as serious as physical health. You get right into a bed at a hospital from a gunshot wound, but not if you are thinking about the gun you have in your trunk.
Our caregivers need to unite…all of them…and realize they need to fight a united front.
Executive functioning went out the window when it is being argued that we have the right to hurt others with or without weapons.
Our police forces have let people down.
We have lost our attachment to humanity.
Ultimately, self-regulation is the first pillar to crumble in the wake of infection because no one can handle anything if they do not have the ability to see things clearly.
So how do we come to some resolve?
I see a very clear first step; however, clear does not mean simple.
- Acceptance never killed anyone.
- Acceptance never had to be drug around all day on our already full plates.
- Acceptance never means agree with.
- Acceptance means true freedom.
There are definitely issues that are worth not accepting because change needs to be implicated in order to help the majority of the population.
Acceptance means that we look at someone who may or may not be completely different than I am and realize they are a human.
Acceptance relieves you from having to hate.
Let people live their lives the way they want to as long as they are not hurting themselves or others.
Outside of those circumstances, honestly, it’s a wasted fight.
In all my experiences with working with clients, no one has EVER changed because I wanted them to or because they had a gun held to their face.
People change when they are inspired to do so.
Inspiration only comes from acceptance
Let’s break the cycle of hate and try at one moment to think before acting. Acceptance can lead to inspiration which can lead to change.
It is all interconnected.
*In loving memory of those who died being themselves. The sacrifice that you did not chose to make for our country inspired me to want something different for those around me. You unknowingly inspired conversation after conversation around acceptance. I pledge to you that I will do my part to clean out the infection. One day it will be clean.