New research is showing amazing things about the human mind. Specifically, the mind of abused children.
The neglected child has a significantly smaller brain, but also has many other irregularities.
Modern child psychology has theorized that abused children typically grow up to be abusive because they were taught to be that way.
But recently people have been looking further in to the possibility that something else causes it. Many times after a child has had a fit of rage, they will say, "I don't know why I do it, it just comes and I cannot control it." Some have started to look into the possibility that they really don't have control over it. Not because of what they were taught, but more because of what they were not taught.
What they have been finding is that it might very likely be the case. Abused and neglected children's brains are actually wired differently.
Through the process of child development, the brain goes through "pruning" where it stops connecting to parts that are not being used, and it makes connections stronger with the parts used most.
What has been found, is that abused and neglected children are not different, but they use a different part of their brain. Because all they knew was fear and survival skills, the parts of their brain that process love and creativity and reasoning skills disconnect.
Kids literally forget how to love and relax. As creativity and love weaken in the brain, violence and fear grow stronger.
With this new theory, experts began to wonder, if the key to helping child abuse survivors, is not in teaching them to not be fearful and aggressive, but instead focusing on teaching them to use the portions of their brains that shut off during the abuse. A new therapy was formulated to try new approaches to develop healthy minds. For example, instead of telling them they cannot do something, just tell them the alternative things they can do, and then gradually they learn to figure out alternatives on their own. "You cannot hit people when you are angry" vs. "When you are angry, how about you try coloring or listening to music or running?"
It's called Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
That's where places like my new job were formed. They are now fully functioning organizations treating survivors of extreme trauma and neglect, with the new approach, and the results have been phenomenal.
Even when I was a little girl, I felt there was something very wrong with people saying, "I have to go to work" I do not think work is something that should be just for money. Work should be making enough money to support your life, while you do something you love. I once worked a job with mentally disabled and mentally ill people, and I loved it! Sometimes they would call to see if I could work an extra shift, and I would answer with an over excited, "Yes!"
When I came to Tulsa, I was working a job that was just for the money. I longed to get back to the kind of job I liked going to.
My roommate over the summer was the person who told me to check out if they were hiring. When I looked I did not see any openings that I qualified for.
That same day I got onto a job finder websites email list, and the next morning they emailed me that the organization was hiring with a position that did not require a degree, just prior experience in social work and mental illness. I had both.
I applied that day, and a week later I got a call for an interview. I wanted the job so badly, that I was extremely nervous the night before. I posted all sorts of outfit pictures on facebook, trying to get advice on the perfect outfit.
I had planned to use a friend's car to drive that morning, but they slept through their alarm and through my calls. So I ended up frantically pedaling my bike to the interview, making it with 4 minutes to spare and completely out of breath. I was scared that it was all over from the start because of my unconventional entrance.
As the interviewer told me more about the organization, and more about my potential role in the organization, I realized that I was literally applying for my dream job. I would be leading group and play therapy, mentoring, and caring for children, while watching them transform and overcome their tragic pasts.
I pedaled back home from the interview and knew if I got the job, biking was definitely not an option being I applied for a night shift in a shady neighborhood.
When I got home, I had an email with a job offer. Full time, Friday through Monday, starting pay $10 with 1.75 additional for night and weekend hours(which is all I will be working).
That was on Friday, and Sunday night I got a nice car for $900 of craigslist.
Oldsmobile Olga and I had some quality bonding time that Thursday when I went to meet a friend in Arkansas
A week later I started a week long training. This last Saturday was my first day working with the kids. There was a lot of training on what to do when a child is hurting them self, and how to protect yourself if a child is attacking you.
When I spent my first three days with the kids, I could see why we had all that training. The kids have a lot of issues...but I've seen some of the kids who have been there a long while and how far they have come.
Can you tell how excited I was on my first day?