Special Needs Parenting Self-Care 101 (Part 1)

“Special needs parents are the equivalent of Batman, Captain America, and Incredible Hulk combined with a side of Mary Poppins.” – Unknown

In addition to being a therapist, I am also a mother of two wonderful sons. My youngest is challenged with dyslexia and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), which makes in-the-box learning very difficult. Both my sons are very intelligent. Each has a unique pathway of learning and also expressing that intelligence.

For my youngest, "smartness" is most definitely not quantifiable in some sort of standardized testing format...nor is it fair to measure one's intelligence by some arbitrary, obscure scale of some sort. All the same, that is the world we live in. Moreover, being a special needs parent has it's fair share of challenges and silver linings. I continue to learn as I go.

I've learned a few things along this pathway of special needs parenting I'd like to share with readers and the clients I work with. I believe the best teacher is life itself, and what better way to learn than from our very own children.

Trauma and Loss Treatment

What is Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy?

"The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.”

Often, survivors of trauma seek refuge in a safe therapeutic relationship with qualified trauma-informed psychotherapist. Whether the client experienced abuse (psychological/physical/sexual), witnessed a catastrophic event (i.e. a violent accident or political uprising resulting in terror/violence), or survived a natural disaster (hurricane, etc), the individual often manifests symptoms of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (DSM-5, 2014), or in some circumstances where trauma is long standing and chronic, Complex-PTSD (Herman, 2015).

What is Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy?

The notion of trauma-informed care is an umbrella term, which describes the overarching principles regarding trauma recovery. The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) defines trauma-informed approach to helping survivors of trauma as demonstrating the following key components of client-centered, strengths-focused, and evidence-based care: 1) safety, 2) trustworthiness and transparency, 3) peer support (creating safety in community), 4) collaboration and mutuality, 5) empowerment, voice and choice, and 6) embracing understanding of cultural, historical and gender domains (SAMHSA, 2015).

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Narcissism and Psychopathy in the Game of Thrones (Part 5): Tyrion

“I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.” Tyrion Lannister

Survivor of Narcissistic Abuse in Family of Origin

Tyrion Lannister has won the hearts of many Game of Thrones fans (G.R. Martin, 2015) with his wit, resilience, diplomacy and cunning ability to survive seemingly insurmountable odds.  Tyrion is an example of fortitude and perseverance in the face of adversity. Beginning with his abusive family of origin, Tyrion hails from House Lannister. His (now deceased) father, Tywin, repetitively psychologically abused Tyrion, ridiculed him for being deformed and a dwarf, and blamed him for the death of his mother (who died while giving birth to him). This spunky, redeeming character is the classic example of the scapegoat in a narcissistic family system.

****spoilers ahead****

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Narcissism and Psychopathy in the Game of Thrones (Part 3): Littlefinger

"Chaos is a ladder." Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish

One of the more perplexing and complicated characters in George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones (2015)  is Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. Littlefinger is not an overt axe-wielding, skin-flaying psychopath, such as the likes of Ramsey Bolton or Joffrey Baratheon. On the contrary, this scheming, manipulative, self-serving tactician can be found lurking in the shadows behind every major crisis that has erupted in Westeros. More specifically, in my clinical opinion, Littlefinger demonstrates precisely what a covert malignant narcissist looks like in film or literature.

**Spoilers Ahead**

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Narcissism and Psychopathy in Game of Thrones (Part 2): Theon

As mentioned in my Part 1 article describing narcissism and psychopathy in the Game of Thrones TV series, the characters in this groundbreaking show (Martin, 2015) demonstrate a broad range of issues that would warrant a trip to the psychotherapist. Although, we know that people who manifest far on the spectrum of narcissism (in the range of malignant narcissism or even psychopathy) have personality characteristics that are welded and fused, with very limited capacity for change (de Canonville, 2015). Sadly, these individuals with extreme narcissism possess a lack of empathy, accountability, integrity, reciprocity, or authenticity, in essence, a psychic void blended with volatility, aggression, elements of sadism and self-absorption (Cleckley, H.M., 1988).

**spoilers ahead if you are not caught up with Game of Thrones series**

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Narcissism and Psychopathy in Game of Thrones (Part 1): Cersei

Two major landmines have hit the country in recent months and years: 1) the discussion of narcissism on a grand scale, impacting macro-micro levels of politics, work, love, and family relationships, and 2) the HBO phenomenon television series, Game of Thrones. Interestingly enough, there is broad intersection amongst these two topics. This blog article will attempt to illuminate and draw comparisons amongst characters in Game of Thrones and the spectrum of narcissism and psychopathy represented in the acting of the epic GOT series. I will attempt to assign a diagnosis and a course of treatment for characters in Game of Thrones, in an effort to shed light on the spectrum of narcissism, which in its most dangerous form, is psychopathy (or Antisocial Personality Disorder). (DSM-5, 2013).

**Spoilers ahead for those who have not watched (or read) the entire series**