Would you like to help your children when they are afraid of war? Would you like to comfort them even if there is no prospect of solution in this situation right now?
The listening seminars that I have been leading free of charge for a few weeks now, to help people during the pandemic, have taken on a new reality with the outbreak of the war in the Ukraine.
Read for yourself what a friend who regulary uses the Gefühlsmonsters with his daughter wrote yesterday:
“Last night we had company and I was really brave:
The mother of a school friend of my eight-year-old daughter, a woman with whom I had not had a conversation before, sat in our living room while the children played in the next room.
She told us that her daughter is often scared of death and war, and that she expresses this physically by shaking and crying.
“But then there is nothing I can do but be there for her and keep telling her that she is safe”, she said.
That is when I told her that feelings are caused by thoughts and that it can be a great way not to start with the thoughts, but to look at the feelings that are there at the moment, because by looking at them they transform right away.
She found this strange and incomprehensible.
I laid out the Gefühlsmonster® cards and asked her how she truly feels when her daughter cries and trembles and wakes up at night. I did with her exactly what I learned from you: the Gefühlsmonster Scan.
She chose several cards and I asked her what each card meant to her:
“I can hardly stand it when my daughter shakes and cries like that. I feel sooo sorry for her then!”
“I’m completely devastated about it. The sleepless nights weigh on me, especially because I always feel incapable of helping her.”
“I hardly dare to say anything, because it always seems to be the wrong thing.”
Then I asked the question: “How would you like to feel the next time your child wakes up at night and is so afraid?”
The woman’s whole appearance catapulted from the deep valley of sadness and powerlessness to laughter and radiance and confidence within a split second when she chose this last card.
She chose this and said: “Actually, I want to be there for my daughter. I want to radiate safety and be a support for her in her fear.”
“And that,” I then told her, “is what you can do with your daughter every time she is scared or crying.”
She was absolutely thrilled!”
Why is this a courageous story, you want to know? Because it takes courage and some experience to turn a “normal conversation” into this short listening conversation. It may help to explain why you put the Gefühlsmonsters on the table – perhaps by talking about where these cards are sometimes a help to you.
The technique you read in the story above works as well with children – based on the feedback we get we know that this method is already being used successfully in many families. And as you can read above, sometimes it helps to ask the grown-ups first about their feelings….
Feelings of fear cause our thoughts to keep circling around the scary situation—and then our brain still supports this biochemically, making sure that we keep thinking in the same direction. You’ll be familiar with this; at best we experience circular thinking and in the worst case it can trigger a panic attack.
What can we do during our everyday life with and without therapeutic knowledge?
The Gefühlsmonsters help to give structure to conversations. After 17 years of experience with these cards I can honestly say that they
- make it easier to become aware of one’s own feelings
- make it easier to address difficult feelings because of the space it puts between the viewer and the expressive comic figures
- also make it easier to get back into a different emotional state
- enable us to help each other clarify our feelings, even without therapeutic training.
In a conversation lasting just under 10 minutes, you can escort adults or children, often with ease, out of frightening or worrying feelings and back into a state of self-efficacy and confidence.
It is important that you, as the facilitator, acquire an accepting, and at the same time neutral, attitude towards the challenging emotions.
It is not about solutions or advice, only about introductory questions and listening.
This method of listening can
- achieve a short-term improvement
- achieve a clarification of feelings that often produces surprising ideas of its own in the person being asked how they are feeling
- sometimes even bridge the time it takes for someone to get therapeutic help.
What makes this method different from other conversations?
- The Gefühlsmonsters provide a safe framework for the conversation
- A Gefühlsmonster to improve the situation, chosen by the person asked, provides an effective anchor for this feeling through the visual representation
- Last but not least, you can conduct this conversation free of charge with the help of our Gefühlsmonster Online Toolbox.
How to do this and how to find a secure ending to the conversation, even in a difficult situation, is something I am currently teaching free of charge in two one-hour online courses. Come and have a look if the story appeals to you. Your own experience with this method can show you if it works for you. We’ll give it a try in the workshop right away!
I am offering this, because I am concerned that children get as much help as possible to understand and deal with their feelings. The same for adults!
The next introductory date is Wednesday March 16th, 6-7 pm CET. Register here. You will receive a 3-pages handout that explains the method in detail.
The date for the second, more advanced part of the course will be discussed within the group.
Please forward this email to people who could use this method right now, wether as a professional or privately.
With warm regards and best wishes, especially for all those who are worried about relatives and friends,