Archive | October 2012

More on habituation

Over the past few weeks, I have watched in awe how clients have used their bodies natural ability (habituation) to get use to novel situations that had been causing them so much anxiety. In one case, a 9 year old girl had been having meltdowns each morning because her pony tail had a “bump” in it. This may sound trivial, but for this child it felt so uncomfortable that she wanted to pull her hair out. Each morning the entire family dreaded the moment when their daughter would do her hair. We talked about what she was thinking when her hair wasn’t “just right.” She thought she would be made fun of and would get very embarrassed. We worked together to come up with other thoughts she could have that would make her feel better. She and her mom then went to the library and found a great book on hair styles. Over the long weekend they played with her hair and put it in many beautiful and crazy styles. By the time school came around, the child had gotten use to (habituated) her hair and scalp feeling different. The girl put her hair up and went right on the bus! No meltdowns! It isn’t always so easy though. Many times the exposure (trying new hair styles) has to be done much more gradually and over a long period of time. However, I have seen this process perform miracles for children and adults.