Kitlyn Tjin A Djie over het Beschermjassenhuis (subtitles: EN-NL)

It is important to know that … we often meet families at a moment in which … they find themselves at an important transitional stage of life. And in this stage they experience a vulnerability
and they are often anxious. As we meet them, we need to realise this is not the only transitional stage of life in which they find themselves. The families that come to see us
are often parents with children in the age of … 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old, this particular transitional stage of life. When we meet, we search together
for the story that has not yet been told . Because we know, during transitional stages of life
old pain is often reactivated. Experiences of major loss,
such as trauma and migration, contains the pain of multiple losses. So, we meet families in a transitional stage of life,
as they experience ‘layered’ losses. It is as a tangle of threads one can pull
and each thread is connected to a story. In the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’ families can reconnect. We listen to their stories. We always ask families to bring whoever is important
to them, the people that love them. Because a story can only unfold
when families are embedded in their group and culture. At the moment we meet someone alone… it seems as if the story can not show itself. People need to be held by their family. Sometimes we ask them to bring grandparents. Scent is important, too.
We welcome families with flowers and food. We are attentive. We are respectful.
We are present. All of these are necessary conditions
for a story to unfold. We believe families suffer most … from discontinuities and ruptures in their lifelines. We often see families who have experienced so much … they have lost sight of who they are
and where they belong; a loss of cohesion of their history. What we do in the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’, and which is an important marker
for Protective Wraps, is to sit together, draw the family tree, draw the lifelines of children, parents and grandparents. We do this in order to look for
possible repetitions at a certain age. Eighty percent of children’s ailments or symptoms
are family related. For example, if a child experiences issues
at the age of four … we check to see if something has happened
at the age of four of the parents … or the grandparents. Because parents can start to experience insecurities
at the moment the child turns four. As if they lost their knowledge about what to do. So, by looking at the stories together,
families are able to reconnect … and ask themselves:
Who else experienced such trouble at the age of four? By sitting together, drawing together, eating together, stories can open up. Actually, this is the secret of the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’. To open up stories, to enable a transitional space to emerge. This space can emerge only … when we are attentive, when differences dissolve, when we concentrate, so that the story can open up. Something else we discovered
in the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’ … is the power to offer protective wrapping
to the professionals who work with families. A professional is much better able to be empowered and work from her own strength … when she is enveloped by a group of colleagues. It enables her to stay in tune with her own expertise
and intuition … and the idea or approach she aimed for. We know that eighty percent of the professionals
in social work suffer from a complex family history themselves. Therefore we pay a lot of attention
to what it is professionals carry with them as they work. What do they sense and observe? What is it that resonates with them
in the story of the family? As professionals we exchange these observations among each other. In the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’
professionals want to be present … and share their thoughts and the connections they note, and offer all those things to their colleague
to support her. We aim to give the best of ourselves to our colleague, in order for the colleague to give her best to the family. So, to be able to do this
it is important not to correct or disqualify one another, and not to want to safe each other. Because if we would do that,
the professional and family will be unable … to stay in tune with their own strength
to find their own solutions. An important perspective to take into account
in this work, is that of three generations in case of loss. This applies to both the lives of the professionals
and of the families we meet. The first generation … experiences a great loss, like trauma or migration. For example, my grandparents lost
their youngest daughter when she was eleven. This is a great loss about which the family
did not speak. The second generation, involves the children until an age of fifteen, sixteen years old, those who joined their parents
to leave their home country … and come to the Netherlands. The second generation also includes those children
that experienced a great loss in the family. As was the case for my father at the age of nine,
when his sister died. The children of the second generation … tend to take care
of the pain and grief of the first generation. They predominantly take care
of the needs of other people … and do not ask for care concerning their own grief. From the very start they have learned … to care for the needs of the other person. In fact, they become the parents of their parents. The third generation at last, are the ones that disrupt. They show symptoms and ailments. Often these are the children professionals meet … because of behavioral problems or anxiety isues. The children of the third generation … disrupt by showing that something needs to change. In doing so they offer oxygen
in order for the family to exist and continue. Basically their message is… we need to face a few issues, because we cannot continue like this. We call the third generation the oxygen in a system,
the disruptors … or trend setters. Sometimes we call them scape goats, but actually they are the ones that force the family … to review what needs to change, to be able to continue. We all encounter these children… but we also find them among the professionals
that work with these families. More often professionals deal with themes
of the second generation. The theme of caring for the other person. To be focused on how to support the other, how can I relieve or take over the pain. This is what we focus on in the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’, how to provide a protective wrap for our colleague
who shows this tendency. To prevent this colleague from taking over
the loss or grief that belongs to the family. And families tend to call for the help of professionals … help me, support me, safe me, take care of my troubles. But if we would fall for this,
we would in fact disempower families. So, in the ‘Beschermjassenhuis’
we discovered a beautiful, very fine way … of working together. How can we enwrap, envelop, support professionals, hold them, protect them, in order for them to stay on their own track
and not take over from families.

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