Gathering Our Medicine



Relationship is a human necessity (Noddings, 1986). Our brains actually prioritize our need for connection over food. Separation physically, emotionally and psychologically can be extremely stressful for those who have experienced trauma (Neufeld G., Intensive II: The Separation Complex, 2003). 

In fact, many of our youth struggle today due to the amount of separation they have experienced early in life. Reducing separation is essential for working with youth who have experienced too much separation early in life and who are prone to getting spooked in their relationship with caregivers and bolting. 

Bridging is a way of conveying to our youth that nothing can ever break the connection. Introduction help us bridge over alienating behaviour, incidents and physical separations by conveying continuity in the relationship and showing our youth the next point of connection. Indigenous people lived tribally in the long ago as this ensured survival. Relationship ensures survival (Panksepp, 2012)! Relationship needs were consistently provided for within the village. Bridging Rituals were a natural and instinctive way of reducing separation and helping children and youth to hold on to us no matter what. In this way shame was not evoked nor was performance to please courted. The connection was maintained with a warm consistent invitation to exist that could not be broken by anything. 

Today our children lack this consistent connection. Relationship needs have been used against our children in a futile effort to shape their behaviour and to get them to learn. The heartbreaking result has been a generation of children disconnected from their caregivers and reattached to their peers. 

Continuity Ritual

The possibilities for Introduction rituals are endless and depend on the youth, the caregiver and what is most natural in their cultural context. The bridge is used as a metaphor for bridging over top of separations of all kinds. We Bridge over top of physical, emotional and psychological separations by ensuring our youth is facing connection. We help them hold on to us by giving them a touch of proximity until closeness is restored. 

We can bridge eruptions of aggressive behaviour by letting our child know that the relationship with us is still in good shape. Nothing can break it; It is our way of preserving the connection for their sake.