Some people assume that their words have magical powers; like when a father tells his son to concentrate and worker harder. How many times does he have to say this? Does his son’s brain automatically change gears and get right to it? Test the idea and watch what happens. Just stand there and say “work harder and concentrate”. Write down the number of times you can say this in a day and mark down the amount of progress noted. If you have to say it, there isn’t much of a chance, until you do some work.
In order to see new results, we sometimes have to mix in new types of activities and boost our vocabulary. Our brains and bodies have a hard time running on empty when we’re expected to pick up on a different way of doing things. To expect otherwise is like waiting for some magic potion or fairy dust sprinkled, or the wave of a magic wand.
This is why I carry around a kitchen timer and other tools in my therapy bag when visiting the schools. It helps a person to know where the limits are, so we can establish a direction (and get out the timer). If concentration fails after thirty seconds, then we obviously need to work towards a minute. Of course there has to be some personal motivation behind it. Maybe the kid wants to get something done right the first time and not spend hours on homework in detention or after school. But then, maybe he likes this kind of punishment. There maybe some gain in attention from adults in this respect and he likes it.
Nevertheless, this persons brain may not know how to just get with it at will. And so we educate. Knowledge is power right! Yeah, the reader can fight me on this, but he or she may want to know how I help the client with an awareness of their own type of thinking. And this is where the drawing pad comes in handy. Over the course of many sessions, I have observed the results in black, white and color how different people (kids) respond to the directive “make a picture”. The subject of a drawing could be an emotional situation or a simple description of the family. If markings are made all over the paper in an erratic fashion and the picture is not being completed, I will take back the pad and draw an outline of something; number the parts and have him color it in by the numbers: 1-10.
If the child or preteen responds well to competing for stickers, I say “Each part has to be colored in order. If you start with any number but one, you don’t get a sticker”. The task sounds elementary. To some artistically inclined people, the exercise of coloring in parts by correct order probably goes against the virtue of creativity, but let me explain. There is my observation of how relaxed and methodical a person becomes when doing such an activity. The brain, hand and use of coordination has to work in a step-by-step manner. The task gets done and it actually makes sense! And here, we have a prescribed way of doing things many times over. Repetition is the mother of skill.