My name is Vivien Sabel and I am a woman of many hats, actually now I come to mention it, many pairs of shoes as well! I am a mother, a stepmother and at 42 years old a Grandmother. I run my own clinical practice and work mainly in psychiatry as a relational psychotherapist and clinical supervisor. I am also a researcher, writer and at present wannabe author. I work in both British Sign language and English with children, mothers and babies and adults.
My journey began many years ago through being raised by a deaf mother and a hearing father. Contact and communication through nature and nurture with deafness created within me a heightened perception of the world of the non-verbal. In addition to my nurturing with deafness I undertook my first undergraduate degree in Deaf Studies & Sign Language Interpreting. I felt I was instinctively aware of the world of the non verbal and following my deaf studies training (University of Bristol) I began to feel even more acutely aware of how much can be gleaned non-verbally. Observation and developing an understanding of all that is non-verbal is a gift. A gift you can learn quickly and one that will benefit you, your infants, your children you’re your relationships for life.
It certainly has been a gift to me and to many parents across the globe participating in my trials of The Blossom Method™. So here I am because Emma invited me to pass on my passion for sharing and offer you some insights into the Blossom Method™. Thank you Emma!
Firstly I have penned a mini-parenting book that outlines some groundbreaking research and findings in relation to infant communication. It’s currently being edited in the hope that it will be published in the not so distant future by a major publishing house and will be sold in the millions across the globe. I know that sounds like a big ask but to be fair my book has already been tipped to be a bestseller! I am so very excited!
Before I tell you more about the Blossom Method™ here’s a little more book background for you. In 2011 I sent my original manuscript across the globe to parents, professors, psychologists, best selling parenting authors and was delighted to receive sensational review. One of my reviewers asked if she could take it to a publishing house in Australia! They turned it down saying, “It is a FANTASTICmanuscript with ground-breaking ideas that will go on to sellmillions of copies. Unfortunately, we are a small operation and are unable to do it justice. We are not set up to deal with books with such a mass potential.” Read the rest of the email from the publisher in Aus! http://viviensabel68.blogspot.com/2011/06/hot-off-pressthe-astounding-response.html
So how did I make my discoveries and clarify my findings? Well I firstly observed a great deal in relation to infant communication through general infant observation then some 6.5 years ago I gave birth to my daughter Blossom. When she arrived I began to notice specific non-verbal expressions, movements, facial movements and patterns that appeared to represent particular experiences and/or requests. I have subsequently gone on to gather data from mothers and fathers across the globe. The results are trickling in and are as exciting as I thought they would be. If you wish to be involved in this research and are a new mum or dad with an infant less than twelve weeks old or you are expecting a baby please get in touch and join in. For more information please read this link.http://www.pregnancy.org/bulletinboards/showthread.php?t=671616#post8630649
Here’s the story of the Blossom Method™
As a child I had to learn to communicate in ways other than by using words. My mother is deaf, and consequently, I grew up in a world where communication was mainly non-verbal, through lip-reading, body language and facial expression. I learned to watch closely and to interpret the finest nuances of every movement however small. This heightened my sensitivity to the significance of actions and expressions that I would otherwise have dismissed as meaningless. I saw my mother’s frustration when, through her deafness, she did not hear and therefore understand what someone wanted to tell her. My mother’s frustration was written into her body and face. I sometimes observed fleeting moments of frustration in the tiniest movements of her eyes. I never wanted anyone, least of all my own child, to experience frustration with communication, and I wondered how successfully a very young baby could convey its needs and feelings. I also wondered what I could do to facilitate this communication.
We all know that babies cry when they’re in distress, and parents come to recognise many of their own child’s particular signs and signals, but what if babies are trying to communicate with us at a much greater level, and, because we don’t realise, we fail to understand?
When our daughter was born, I instinctively studied her body language as minutely as I had been accustomed to doing with my mother. I began to be aware that her facial expressions were far more sophisticated and complex than I’d realised. Movements which could have seemed random were, in fact, far more specific, and each had its own meaning. If I could learn what they meant, I could have a much closer level of communication, and a fuller understanding of what my baby was trying to tell me.
My husband and I observed our daughter carefully, and closely. We realised that many of her movements were consistent and
repeated at the same times, coinciding with specific needs, for example, levels of hunger. She displayed certain patterns and shapes to express specific messages. When she was hungry, she moved and expressed herself in a specific way that also
allowed me to seemingly access her degree of hunger. I began to mirror back the non-verbal activity, with some sort of sub-conscious, primal instinct, in the hope that my baby would recognise that by being seen, she was being ‘heard’ and understood. After mirroring back the patterns I then responded to her hunger by making my breast available. Other non-verbal patterns indicated bowel movements, constipation, searching, contact, stimulation, tiredness, ill health and the passing of urine.
Through my observations, I began to feel that I could ‘read’ my baby and understand her visual messages. According to the position and shape of her facial features and other non-verbal messages, I felt I could determine her needs, matters in relation to her health, and the level of her excitement or distress. As a new mum, I was happy that, even though she was still so young, I could understand what my daughter was telling me, and I was relieved that she was not frustrated. I mirrored back her ‘utterances’ and subsequently responded to her needs. Between us we seemingly developed a wonderful early communication system. And we did so through a world of non-verbal communication. Who said babies can’t talk? Look who’s talking NOW!
How many times have you heard a parent say to an infant … What is it? What’s wrong? If only you could speak and tell me why you’re crying and what’s upsetting you!
I believe some parents may have attuned themselves so well to each and every verbal utterance of their infant that they may have a real sense of what is ‘wrong’ with their baby. I have chosen to focus my research on what is seen before the verbal utterances and crying appear. My focus is on the language of the body.
It is safe to say that not all babies use the same behaviour to communicate; each child is different although through my observations of and research with other infants and mothers I am able to determine that a great deal of communication is provided on the face of the infant, and in very young infants much can be discovered through the patterns they exhibit.
I do believe that a much greater level of communication is possible between babies and their parents or carers than we expect, and that babies whose messages are understood begin life with less frustration, feel more attuned to, and are consequently more likely to be happy and secure. In feeling and experiencing security and happiness in infancy, they are provided with a solid foundation for good future mental health and well-being.
Using the Blossom Method™ will support your infant to feel and experience trust and develop confidence in their relationships with you and others. If your infant feels understood, feels contained and feels seen (and therefore heard), will this support the development of your infant’s emotional core infrastructure required for emotional and physical development? The effects of our early experiences are embodied and continually experienced throughout life.
The Blossom Method™ considers the importance of early communication and a secure attachment for infants. It emphasizes the benefits of co-creating a safe, nurturing and active listening environment where early communication and an innate sense of being seen (and therefore heard) are experienced as valuable to both caregiver and infant.
As I am literally on the brink publishing and could not be more enthusiastic about sharing the Blossom Method™ with parents, grandparents and clinicians across the globe! My book is aimed at parents and is a quick and easy read for all!
As I am in negotiation with publishers I am unable to offer too much detail in relation to the Blossom Method™ so forgive me if I have been a little vague in places.
If you wish to more about me and my psychotherapy research I have recently (July 2011) had a research paper published in the European Journal for Qualitative Research; my paper is called ‘Life After Delivery’ and can be accessed via this link
I was interviewed August 2011 by Dr. Rosina McAlpine Associate Professor and Parenting Expert/Authorhttp://www.inspiredchildren.com and if you wish to find out more tune in and listen via the internet to this linkhttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/thedifference/2011/08/07/inspired-children-parenting-program–dr-rosina-mcalpine
Thank you so very much Emma for inviting me to share my joy and excitement with you and your readers and followers. Much appreciation. I’ll keep you posted of all my news!
Vivien Sabel UKCP MBACP ScPTI MNCP
Relational Psychotherapist/Clinical Supervisor/Researcher/Writer
©Vivien Sabel 2011
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