Processing the Approach – Relationship awareness exercise

posted 3 Jul 2014, 10:40 by Mark O'Connell

This exercise is very good for working on applying your awareness and your child’s awareness around boundary issues, in relationship to personal space, intimacy, and in particular learning to engage in relationships in ways which support both sides. 

This exercise can be very good for helping YP learn about limits and blocks in relationship. It is understandable that relationship will often be very complicated for them with early traumas and attachment issues. Bringing awareness to the flow of signals that occur moment to moment will help them trust themselves more in relationship, and to relate to little things which they may often override. At the same time the carer can learn that their own signals, fantasies and hesitations are also important in how they engage with their child.

 The basic exercise is with a relationship partner as follows:

1.     Stand far apart and facing each other, with the understanding that you will be exploring moving closer together.

2.     The basic aim is to move slowly forward towards each other while giving attention to any hesitations or other things coming up for either partner. (Imagine doing this with a child).

3.     When either side notices a hestation or other experience. Both pause and invite that person to take time to notice what has come up. Maybe it is a feeling in the body, a fear/anxiety, feeling threatened or threatening, something against getting closer, maybe it is an ‘Edge Figure’ (a belief system saying something about relationship in that moment). It is helpful to give voice to these things which come up. Give them space to unfold. And then finally ask whether you wish to return to approaching one another, or whether that is a personal limit/boundary. Maybe you have learnt something about your relationship at this time.

4.     The exercise can continue in this way returning back to the approach, or stopping where there is a natural ending.

5.     At the end it may be helpful to write a note together or draw a picture representing what came up during the approach. This is to anchor and ground the experience.