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  • Writer's pictureStephan van Heerden

Colour can reach the unreachable child

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

In almost every classroom there is the child who is no longer reachable through normal or extraordinary efforts of giving love, patient conversation, punishment and screaming. In many cases, these children cannot be reached by any verbal intervention. They themselves are unaware of their condition, their true feelings and needs.

There is a process to reach these children with the help of colour, because colour can reach problems and unresolved experiences in the subconscious where words are completely incapable.

Each child and adult becomes aware, and makes contact with reality in themselves and their environment through a cycle of experience, the awareness cycle. However, sometimes the child experiences blockages that block his/her spontaneous experience and the cycle of experience cannot be completed. These blockages can be things that the child is totally unaware of but which subconsciously affects him/her. It involves aspects such as traumatic experiences and unmet needs and unmet feelings.

This causes the child to not form a complete, meaningful picture of his / her situation, needs and environment. The incomplete picture in the child’s subconscious mind, like a puzzle missing certain pieces, puts the child under pressure to complete it.

The child then subconsciously attempts to complete this incomplete puzzle, using the behaviour and symptoms presented by him or her. These behaviour and symptoms can be a tremendous variety, depending on who the child is and in what situation the child is in. Examples are behavioural problems, aggression, depression, toxic emotions, obsessions, self-injury, anxiety, forgetfulness, laziness, physical symptoms such as back pain, abdominal pain, asthma and even epilepsy, to name a few.

The discouraged teacher mistakenly focuses on the behaviour the child presents, as these behaviour interfere with education and learning and disrupt the order in the classroom.

When the child loses awareness and cannot spontaneously progress through the experience cycle, even the most skillful, concerned and sincere teacher's best efforts do little to get the child back on track. It is so discouraging and in the long run soul-killing for the teacher. And besides, teachers are also people and sometimes get caught up in their own experience cycle, especially in the classroom that is full of stress and pressure.

In many cases, the teacher's efforts and actions become part of the pattern that is playing out between the child and the teacher.

A more effective and productive solution lies in focusing on the child's awareness through Gestalt Colour Therapy. Awareness is something other than insight. Focusing on insight is like shining a flashlight on someone trapped in a dark room. Of course, that ray of light helps the person. But only until the one to whom the flashlight belongs and who handles the flashlight (in this case the teacher) disappears from the scene.

Awareness works differently. Awareness is like lighting a candle. The kid in the classroom is the candle. The flame belongs to the candle, the energy is the candle's; the aroma belongs to the candle, the warmth, the 'wisdom', everything. Awareness works holistically and involves all facets of the child in the process. This puts the responsibility back on the child and helps the teacher not to be swallowed by the child's symptoms, problems and resistance. When the child's awareness is sufficiently increased, he and she begin to move spontaneously through his and her experience cycle and the unfinished puzzle can be successfully completed. The child can then focus again on the teacher's lesson in the classroom, as there are no incomplete puzzle in his or her subconscious that require completion.

The Gestalt Colour Therapy Intervention is a short but intensive facilitation programme to help children and adults move through their experience cycle and resolve incomplete experiences that block the cycle. This intervention increases the person's self-knowledge and awareness to such an extent that he and she can again take responsibility for their unaware actions, resistance, feelings and thoughts. It is an inexhaustible resource for every member of the school's professional learner-support team.

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