This family share all the human qualities just like me, and therefore I believe we share hopes that things could be different. My job was to search this out and to amplify the possibilities for change. Sometimes I feel that just the act of sitting and really hearing and seeing the struggles a family is going through is political. The experience of really being noticed and not judged but appreciated is hugely powerful. This, I believe, is where NVR starts -in this resistance to blame, hopelessness and defeat on the part of the worker.
Her attractiveness comes from her courage and kindness, in the face of considerable abuse – her refusal to give up, or resort to being mean to them in return. In the same way, the practice of NVR requires both courage and kindness – courage to ‘break the rules’ and act in a way that can feel counter intuitive, and kindness in loving others and moving towards them despite their behaviour.
Professionals who are inspired by New Authority and Non Violent Resistance are often keen to promote reparation for violent behavior. At the same time, I notice that there is a lot of ambiguity and lack of clarity around the purpose of this focus. Is it intended for adults to teach children the difference between appropriate and unacceptable behavior? Is it the responsibility of adults to expect reparation? Is it the responsibility of the child to recognize the harm that has been done? Should adults be taught to deal with conflict in a more quiet or sophisticated way?
I felt that these words, ‘a small courage has taken hold of me’ summarised the session perfectly as Trudy* had described her own small acts of resistance in disentangling herself from a longstanding unhappy relationship. I have used many NVR principles in my work with Trudy, and noticing her small acts of resistance in setting limits for herself around what she is prepared to tolerate within this relationship has been key to the therapy.
Today’s news: A quarter of all 14 year old girls self-harm. In the media, this is treated as a mental health problem. A young woman is interviewed. She cut herself for five years. There is a conversation about the lack of availability of counselling services at school, which may have helped her process the difficult kind of emotions she felt so alone with. Her mother shares the sense of helplessness she felt, her self- doubt and self-blame, the question she asked herself: “Have I been a bad parent?”.
I would like to tell you about a recent hobby of mine and how the experiences in the group have resonated for me very deeply with my therapeutic practice and in particular NVR. Over the past 6 months I have been attending weekly Biodanza classes here in Cardiff. Most people in the UK have not heard of this wonderful dance-based system. Antoinette Lorraine, our inspirational teacher, writes on the website Biodanza 4UK: The Magnificent Art of Living’:
NVR is an approach that changes parents’ and caregivers’ perception of their child, and helps them challenge their own underlying beliefs. With these changes comes a deep sense of connection between parent and child. The parents recognised how NVR had hugely helped them to keep him safe, and having a practitioner with whom to share his progress and challenges meant they were not alone. This loneliness can leave parents feeling vulnerable.
My mother stated, “You know, I did a bit of an intervention, earlier this week. With some of your stuff in it.” I immediately understood that, by saying ‘stuff’, my mother meant Non Violent Resistance.
I have recently had the privilege of starting to work with a parent whose child has been looked after by the local authority for the past two years. My work is helping the parent develop a new relationship between father and his son. This parent, let’s call him John, was in his twenties when his second son was born, At that time John was fully committed to his drug and alcohol addiction
It was a privilege to attend this conference and to be a part of 3 amazing days listening to the most influential people in NVR. The conference was opened by Haim Omer, who also gave a keynote speech and workshops alongside Nahi Alon, another clinical psychologist.
To sit alongside such a wealth of experts in this field, such skilled and reputable practitioners who have developed strands of the approach in their own way,