Freedom of speech is such a great concept, however if a person is not prepared to deal with others who are bent on being mean spirited, the very idea of freedom of speech might seem awful. As a psychotherapist, I work with troubled adolescents and children, who struggle in their social lives. From issues of being on the receiving end of bulling at school, social isolation to habitual use of mind altering substances, using a combination of acceptance commitment therapy, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, I routinely address these issues with my juvenile, adolescent and sometimes young adult clients.
It is also not uncommon for me to be on the receiving end of critques for techniques I teach my young clients about becoming resilient to bullying, or my talk about exercising the use of a positive peer culture in more schools. A popular critic I receive, is that I am blaming the victim, which is certainly not the case. It is for this reason, that I find myself excited when I encounter other mental health clinicians in the field who share my same views, on the issues of improving self esteem and stopping bullying. Needless to say I am a supporter of Izzy Kalman's work, and now Dr. Pat Palmer's.
Recently, I was introduced to two great books, which I have used with my clients who are ten and younger. Both books are authored by Pat Palmer, Ed. D and published by Uplift Press and available at their website or at Amazon. The first book titled Liking Myself, I find to be ideal for children who struggle with low self esteem. I have found this book to be especially helpful for children who present with significant depressive symptoms, or are currently grieving. Liking Myself introduces children to being cognizant of their feelings and how to use feeling words in their every day language. A good example would be the use of "I" statements.
What really impressed me about Liking Myself, is Dr. Palmer's concepts of allowing, body talk and letting go. In my practice, I have another name for allowing, and that's acceptance. Acceptance is the practice of accepting the positives and negatives in one's life about one's self, others and undesirable situations. Body talk, is also an aspect of mindfulness I use with my clients, in regards to being able to pay attention to one's body language, and sensory feedback. In the book Dr. Palmer also introduces children to two mindfulness exercises, presented as games. Letting go is another aspect of acceptance I use with my clients; in Liking Myself, Dr. Palmer's introduces children to the idea of letting go through unconditional acceptance of others, forgiveness and letting go of difficult feelings experienced from not being able to meet the needs of others.
Liking Myself is a good book for teaching children the skills they need to develop a healthy self esteem, and I strongly recommend Liking Myself being used together with the mouse the monster and me. The second book The Mouse,The Monster And Me is ideal for children who routinely find themselves on the receiving end of bullying. Dr. Palmer teaches children to strike a balance between being excessively aggressive and being excessively passive through being assertive. The Mouse,The Monster And Me, addresses a child's ability to recognize his or her strengths and weakness, rights and responsibilities, ability to make requests, being able to say no, dealing with criticisms, accepting compliments and unconditional acceptance of self. In the mouse, the monster and me, Dr. Palmer revisits the concepts of feelings and acceptance introduced first in Liking Myself" however my favorite portion of The Mouse,The Monster And Me, has do with dealing with criticisms. In this portion of the book, children learn techniques to recognize and distinguish criticisms which apply to them, and those that do not. This portion applies to my use of cognitive behavioral techniques in being able to distinguish between rational and irrational thought processes, which influences feelings.
Liking Myself and The Mouse,The Monster And Me are both useful books in helping children develop assertive techniques, to stop being bullied, stop bulling others, exercise personal responsibility and help children to practice having better relationships.