Compassion and Shame: When Your Best Interventions Seem to Backfire Little Lisa is sometimes crazed with fury and hatred and often directs this toward her foster mom, Susan. Susan has been learning a lot about shame and connection so she understands that Lisa is lashing out at her because she fears being hurt and being rejected. She recognizes that her behavior is an expression of her underlying needs and fears and therefore, Susan now knows she needs to respond to …

BUILDING EMPATHY THROUGH READING By Kenzi Dirks, M.A., R.C.C.   “We really emphasize saying sorry,” a concerned foster mother said to me, “when Milo hurts someone we always make him apologize.” “How is that working?” I inquired, genuinely curious. “I don’t think he means it,” she responded. Children who have experienced complex trauma can have increased difficulty in understanding their own emotional experience (https://www.complextrauma.ca/weeping-willow-helping-traumatized-child-find-feelings/).  To empathize—get inside another’s emotional experience—can prove even more challenging. Milo’s parents were very well intentioned …

Relationship Repair by: Dr. Kirk Austin It seemed that every time Johnny returned from visiting his mother he would have an “off day”. He had spent the last year in a foster home because his mother was unable to care for him. Her mental health and addiction issues had provided the backdrop of their relationship over the last ten years. His removal from his mother was hard for him. Despite her struggles, he cared for her. She was the only …