What I’ve Learned About Emotion From Watching My Grandniece’s Life

My niece, a bright, articulate high school senior, has two other siblings. The eldest was diagnosed six to sixteen years ago with a disorder called Asperger’s syndrome. The second child has ADHD and autism. Each of the children suffers from some form of mental illness. All three children have received an extensive therapy session with me. The children often confide in me that they miss their younger siblings because of the difficulties they experience with their illnesses. My niece says she would like to talk one day with some of the children and share that love.

The younger brother and I, along with our respective parents, have been in contact with his mother, our family is extremely grateful for our support. One of what helped me was a post by a good friend of mine, Dr. Michael Gendler. He shared a story of an autistic boy, whose mother had also suffered from depression, who used tap as a way to help him. The child was able to understand his mother’s pain, through his mother’s tapping, and relate the feeling to his own emotions. I knew then that this story was a perfect fit for my niece. My niece recently wrote her own letter and has been participating in a program of tapping since she turned one. We have found the tapping session extremely therapeutic. What I have found is that I have the gift of tapping and the gift of empathy to assist and support my niece and her siblings. I see the pain and sadness my niece has experienced and I am able to tap to help the siblings feel less lonely and less isolated. Through this shared experience, I have developed an appreciation and gratitude for myself, a respect for others, and have given myself permission to help others. I truly love this connection to humanity that tap brings to me.

An Interview

Your writing has an eloquence that is very compelling and moving. How do you come up with ideas?

Well, a combination of inspiration. I’ve had a knack for it since I was a child reading, writing, drawing, and just writing and speaking through most of it. I’ve always been extremely good at articulating things. It’s just been a way of my life. I had also always been drawn to the psychology of story telling in a way and writing as a tool to illustrate ideas. This is why I began to study psychology, especially about how stories can aid us in understanding ourselves.

What does it feel like to get writing in a journal? How do you cope?

At first it felt really uncomfortable writing down things. It’s usually done in my living room. I tend to write down everything I think about or feel. It also helps me to focus on what I’m writing. I have to remind myself to relax after a session. For one thing, I am tired. I like to keep the sessions short and sometimes do it for two, three hours. Writing helps to let go of the day to day life as I’m doing it. Then there are the benefits of being able to capture the emotions you are feeling or writing down them so that you can see them at a later time.

Your writing has a power and passion to it. Are there other writing tools that inspire you?

My journal has been my outlet for writing. I find writing to be one hell of a therapy in many ways. It has made a huge change in my life. It’s my gift in helping others. When I talk about my experiences, the words that come out of my mouth are not always what I would have done; however the words that I have written down are. And so they are. So they are.

What is an article in a journal to you?

That is a difficult question because there is so much that I have to think about from start to end. But my journal can be used to create the structure, the context of an essay, a piece of fiction, or something that is in my head but in that moment wasn’t quite ready to be put into words. It can be used to work on topics for a paper, to work on concepts for a poem, and to see them come to life in writing. So I find a lot of value in it and have not once had to discard a journal entry or a paper as a result of it. I have been able to get a lot of the ideas for journal entries or articles or poems or fiction and put them into a journal and not worry about them changing over time.