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Explaining Children’s Heavy Sessions to Non-Co-Counselors

I would love to know what parents have figured out about talking with non-Co-Counselors about children’s heavy sessions.

I live in an apartment building, and another woman lives directly above me. I know she can hear noise from our apartment. I would like to talk with her about what is happening when she hears my child’s sessions, but I’m not sure how to do that.

My daughter, who is seven, has big sessions at least once or twice a week. She and I have a lot of laughter, play, and special time in our relationship; we are close; and she has easy access to big, hard feelings. I have done a lot of family work and feel pretty confident about counseling her on some of her early material—which generally comes up as great waves of panic and terror.

My daughter’s birth was particularly hard. When she has heavy sessions, it looks like she goes right to the biggest, scariest feelings related to that time. They generally come up as panicking about needing help, begging for me to “stop,” and showing real terror that she is being strangled or dying. (She was born Caesarian section after being stuck for some hours in the birth canal, and I think she probably felt like she was dying for at least part of the experience.) All the while during these sessions she has her hands gently on my face or keeps her cheek against mine, and afterward she is tucked in close and is very connected with and loving toward me. Her behavior indicates that the sessions are good, and she never seems confused by them afterward. I want to be able to continue offering them to her.

However, I am not at all sure how to explain to non-RCers what is going on when my child is screaming at me not to kill, strangle, choke, or generally hurt her. And usually the sessions happen at night (after a long afternoon of play and connection), when everyone in the building is at home and settled in for the evening! Sometimes I am able to help make them happen during the day, but the issue is still the same, as my neighbors tend to work a variety of shifts and are home at unpredictable times.

I am certain it would be useful to check in with my neighbor and offer some perspective. But although I did that fairly easily with other neighbors when my child was younger, I am at a loss about what to say now that my daughter is so big and sounds so convincing when she is working hard in sessions.

Does anyone have success stories to share of talking with non-Co-Counselors about what is going on when children (or anyone) work in sessions on feeling like they are dying? I would love to hear what you have figured out!


 1 “Special time” is an activity, developed in RC family work (see footnote 2), during which an adult puts a young person in full charge of their mutual relationship, as far as the young person can think. For a specific period of time, the adult lets the young person know that he or she is willing to do anything the young person wants to do. The adult focuses his or her entire attention on the young person and follows his or her lead, whether the young person tells, or simply shows, the adult what she or he wants to do.
2 “Family work” is the application of Re-evaluation Counseling to the particular situations of young people, and families with young children. It entails young people and adults (both parents and allies) interacting in ways that allow the young people to show and be themselves and not be dominated by the adults.
3 “Pretty” means quite.
4 “Material” means distress.
5 “Going on” means happening.
6 “I am at a loss about” means I have no idea.


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00