"This is Serious"
At one point, it seemed as if Nebulous Children were going to be the only type of children that I either tested psychologically, or treated in psychotherapy. I drew that conclusion because these wonderful children were continuously my clients. When I say "continuously," I mean for years. So yes, treating these kids became "serious" to me. So serious that I started spending more time working with and learning from their parents specifically, with "Nebulous Parents."
I had the pleasure of consulting with many parents who yes, shared that they could see ghosts too. Ironically, some of the parents were thrilled that their kids had the same ability to see ghosts that they did, but many of them did not favor it at all. To a certain degree, these were the more difficult parents to partner with and provide therapeutic services to their children. Difficult does not always mean what you may be thinking, (angry, defiant, not easy to collaborate with for treatment), but it simply meant that I had to study, read, and begin think differently while working with parents who could see ghosts too.
Typically, what I would experience with parents who could see ghosts is that they would initially tell me what ghosts were around me. In other words, I became their subject. I felt as if what spirits were around me either made them feel comfortable or not, and they would tell me. When these parents trusted that I would not judge them, the majority of them felt the need to guard me. This was especially true outside the grounds of my place of employment, and with building 3. Based upon my interactions with these parents who were always lovely toward me, I broke them down into 4 different personality types:
Parents Who Believed
Parents who believed that their kids could see ghosts usually had the most questions, such as:
This was very confusing for these parents because they were invested in getting their children the mental health treatment needed. To these parents, these ghosts originated from their children's imaginations, or were delusions, cartoon characters, or quite possibly something psychotic although they did believe them. Understand that these parents were often torn between reality and the spiritual realm not realizing that this was their child's reality, and that it was spiritual.
Parent Who Did Not Believe
Parents who did not believe that their children could see ghosts were easy. Working with them was cut and dry, and I did not press the issue. Usually, I did not speak to them about their children's ability. However, that did not stop me from checking in with their kids during therapy to determine their coping mechanisms when ghosts would appear to them. You see, despite what parents believed, I believed their children.
Clinical interviews and other consultations with these parents did not include those conversations about ghosts at all even if these parents were fully aware that their kids saw ghosts. I did not add any interventions, techniques, or feedback about their children's ability to see ghosts. I felt as if this was a disservice to their children, but I wanted to keep this kids under my care which meant that I had to tread lightly with these parents. Meaning, we would slowing and gradually discuss if these "abilities" were decreasing or going away permanently. Remember, these parents thought their kids were mentally ill only.
My strategy worked with these parents because I started to focus on teaching their kids how to control their ability to see ghosts which decreased their conversations about ghosts with others, including their parents. Thus, their parents perceived that their symptoms of mental health declined. The parents would believe that the improvement was solely due to the behavioral management or psychotherapy imposed upon their kids. Those methods of treatment were done to their kids, but when the children wanted to discuss their ability to see ghosts, we did.
Understand? Remember, there were some children that I had to teach, "How Not to Reveal Your Gifts," which is another blog. I am a trained Psychologist 1st which meant that if the kids disclosed to me a harm to self, others, or someone harming them, that it was disclosed to parents. However, that was not happening with their children and there was no harm in them discussing their gifts with me. Actually, their worry behaviors decreased with an increase in learning to protect themselves as needed from their ability to see ghosts. These parents just refused to believe what their kids tried to tell them which was simply,
"I can see ghosts."
Parents Who Believed, but Could Not See
Parents who believed, but could not see were often very excited about their child's ability to see ghosts. It was almost cute, but made it a bit difficult to assist their children with the process of learning to cope with their ability. Why? Because these were the parents who wanted to talk to the ghosts by way of their children. They were excited about the possibility of speaking to deceased relatives, and learning about what the future holds for their lives. Recall that some of these kids would talk to ghosts enough to learn about their futures; appearing to have psychic ability, which is when this ability would make these parents feel happy.
I consider this parent the tricky one because I had to work with them individually, then combined with their kids, and finally their kids individually. Then, these parents would go home and ask their children to talk to the ghosts for them. Every time that happened, it disrupted the progress made in therapy with training their kids to control their ability to see ghosts.
The other problem was that with parental excitement came disclosure to everyone about their child's ability to see ghosts. Everyone in the family, including grandmas who loved "talking to the dead," would also know of their children's ability to see ghosts. This was very embarrassing for many of these children, and many would cry to me about this reveal. When other people learned about this gift, these children would have to either prove that they could see ghosts to everyone, or they would get teased at school for it. This was not always a pleasant feeling for these children which meant that I had to put in a lot of work restructuring the parents for example,
Parents Who Could See
Parents who could see ghosts were obviously the easiest, but only challenging in one area,
They could see what was around me too!
This meant that they always felt the need to tell me what was around me (I'm laughing). Not to mention, in the building, outside of the building, and in the hallways, then share the stories with me! I would not dare tell my co-workers because I know that some of them would have been frightened. Some of these parents could also see what was in my home during the day and at night, which angel watched over my husband and I at night while sleeping, which angels guard my children, and a whole host of other visions.
Although fascinating at times admittedly, I did not always want to know about all of that spiritual information which meant that I had to develop limits with these parents. Still, I had to give them the opportunity to talk about what they could see, especially when it impacted their children. I was forced to work heavily with these parents sometimes more than that of their children. Here's what I would usually hypothesize about Nebulous Parents:
Until they met, Dr. Lisa!
"Parents Just Don't Understand," 1988 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
Photo credits, lower left in photos. Thank you.