Our treatment concept
Our treatment is based on four pillars that should carry and accompany us. The pillars are our inner compass in therapy with specific methods that are used to follow children on their way to eating.
1. Walking together: building nurturing relationships
The therapeutic relationship is the decisive effective factor of any kind of therapy. We go so far as to say: Without a stable therapeutic relationship with the child and the parents, no targeted therapeutic change is possible. Therefore, special attention is paid to building and maintaining these relationships. The effective factors in this relationship, emotional warmth and availability, unconditional appreciation and empathetic understanding guide us in our actions. During therapy we ask ourselves questions such as: What drives the child? How does the child see its environment?, its eating experiences?, how would we feel in the child's situation? For us, eating behavior is always an expression of our inner world. Even if is sometimes necessary to wrestle with the child for his health, we make sure that in the end the child wins. The child's often bizarre refusal to eat makes parents doubt their skills and roles. We see our task as empowering parents and building a nurturing relationship with the child together, which supports and leads to more stable eating habits.
2. Ending the fight: aligning the nervous system
The nervous system is "confused" in all kind of disorders. Something is disturbing and this is expressed through disturbed eating behaviours. The autonomic nervous system plays a major role in this. When it feels threatened or senses a life threatening situation, it gives a flight, fight and freeze system response. Once triggered, can block all oral functions. Therefore, the first step is always to work on the security feeling and stop experiencing threats. Of course, the therapeutic relationship plays an important role here. Overall, however, it is important to be careful when dealing with the demands of therapy. Like adjusting the feeding position, temperature, consistency, or form of the food, or timing to the child's abilities and needs are also experiences that calms the nervous system and makes the child feel safe. It's amazing that probably the most effective orofacial therapies work according to these principles (e.g. Castillo Morales(R); Morris & Klein), only with different ideas about the background of the effect. The calmed and harmonious nervous system allows the child to learn and develop, not only when feeding, but often in other dimensions as well.
3. Heal what is broken: close interactive circles
The experiences of the infant are crucial for the formation of memories, which will shape later life in relation to eating behavior, but also the attachment security or affect regulation. It's precisely this experience that has broken apart due to traumatic events, dissociation, excessive demands and resistance. The eating situation is characterized by resistance, anger and despair.
Therefore, a harmonious and integrated experience of the child in the therapy is in the foreground. At the affection, sensory and motor perception levels, what is often broken is brought together: a unified experience. In the interaction with the child, great value is placed on a comprehensible and calm sequence of actions, in which the child can orientate itself and develop both the therapist's initiatives and increase its own. Experiencing positive affects in the feeding situation enables the child to change its own experience and facilitates the aproach to food intake.
4. Follow and go with the child
Sometimes babies and toddlers find it difficult to experience feeding, eating, drinking, breastfeeding or trying things out uninhibitedly. We have to conquer the child over to the therapy because, after all, he has never expressed a need for therapy. Therefore, the needs of the child are in the foreground of the therapy, which must be worked out and satisfied. These can be the need for safety, security, understanding, boundaries or the answering to his needs. We are guided by the concept of "moving along", which was developed by a group of leading psychotherapists. The child shapes its therapy through the needs it expresses along with it. The therapists only follow and take the lead when it comes to answering the need or making the child understand it himself. Therefore, we work in the majority of cases in intensive care
The needs are often unpredictable and cannot be arranged with an appointment calendar. Intensive therapy allows us to intervene precisely when the child is rested and alert, needy or curious. This allows us to move with the child from meal to meal or from swallowing act to swallowing act and effectively keep up on its development.