Leslie Petruk and Parenting through the Eyes of a Child

Empowered Through Compassion: EMDR and IFS Informed Therapy - A podcast by David Polidi


Season 1, Episode 35, Release Date: 6-23-2024 Leslie Petruk and Parenting Through the Eyes of a Child   Leslie is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Director at the Stone Center for Counseling & Leadership, as well as a Clinical Supervisor. Find out more about the Stone Center here: www. thestonecenternc.com Leslie has expertise working with children, individuals, couples and families. She is an author, IFS trainer, presenter and therapist. She has written two chapters of Jenna Riemersma's book, "Altogether Us."   This is a special epsidoe, because Leslie was also my first IFS teacher, in my Level one training. I couldn't have asked for a better teacher :) We nerded out a little about poetry, and here are some of our favorite poets-- Rumi, Nikita Gill, N. Scott Momaday, Jeff Foster, David Whyte, John O'Donohue, and Matt Licata.   Here is some of the transcript that I wanted to highlight:   David. Leslie, how can we use sandtrays in our practice? Leslie. This is a way to help dive into unconscious realm with clients. I like to give clients choice, and allow them to pick objects. They create something, without relying on their "thinking brain." In a way, it is like their parts are being laid out in front of them.  David. Some people might have diffculty when given too much choice and freedom. This might even feel threatening. How do you handle this situation? Leslie. I hold the space. I focus on creating a welcoming and trusting space, and I also hold onto the truth that clients know inside what to do. I might reflect what they are doing, and what is happening, as I create this safe container for them. Although it could be more challenging for children with trauma to get started with sandtrays, once they are able to be part of this process, they tend to get lost in the sandtrays.   David. When you write about parenting skills, how do you differentiate between helping someone have good parenting skills, with overall good relationship and communication skills? Leslie. That is a good question, because healthy attachment applies to any relationship. I remember one time after I did an incredible piece of work with my IFS therapist. I found that I was so present to my children afterwards, and it was a very dramatic shift that had never happened in quite the same way before. I wanted to share this with every parent!   David. We have so much power over our children's lives. In some ways, they are all they really know. Leslie. As my child left for college, I worried if I had given her enough to be successful. Launching children is so hard, in many different ways. But, it is also a beautiful process.   Leslie. My hope with working with parents is to help them have clarity of their parts, and to understand their agendas.  David. It seems important to put our children's needs first.   Leslie. I think it is all about balance. If we are not there for ourselves, we can't be our best selves for our parents. We need to care for our needs-- so we can give our children guidance and a safe place.  David. I feel like as parents we want to helop our children be self-led. Leslie. Yes, and at the same tie, children are naturally filled with joy and curiosity. David. Basically, life is a sandbox for children. Leslie. The biggest message I would want to give to others is to have self-compassion. There is always something you can feel guilty about as a parent. Guilt can be a motivator to make a repair. But, it is not helpful to use this guilt as a bat to beat ourselves up with.  Being able to repair with ourselves as well as our children is so important.   Leslie shared that when we are activated, it is a reminder for us to get curious!