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Friday, 23 December 2011

Why I Let My Kid Feel Anger, Seething & Rapid Breathing Included

Seething, rapid breathing, squinting eyes, red cheeks. All the signs of anger, which most parents are familiar with especially when it manifests in younger children.

Parenting techniques used during my time (oh, about 25 years ago) miseducated children about anger, in my humble opinion. I doubt it was intentional though; it was more a sign of those times.

How did this affect me? For the longest time I saw anger as something unacceptable, a sin even. It was something to be suppressed and not expressed.

As I found out later on, this was all untrue. There is nothing wrong with feeling the emotion itself which is why I allow my child to blow his top off whenever he needs to. Of course, I encourage anger and not aggression.

Hello! Meet ANGER

Anger is an internal alarm system that goes off when something is amiss. Usually it’s when people feel invalidated or wronged either by a person or a situation. Dr. Les Carter, who wrote The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life, says it is a self-preservation tool.

Although in children, anger may be slightly different since they have yet to develop the sophisticated level of understanding one’s self that adults have. Usually kids feel angry when they are unable to make sense of something or feel helpless to change a situation.

Now That You’ve Met Anger, Why Keep Him Around?

Anger is as natural as the clear ocean waters and cerulean skies; it is also inescapable. So, instead of banishing it as you would something you fear, embrace it. Here’s why:

1. It provides plenty of opportunities for learning and growing

Case in point. When my son was angry with his playmate for not lending him a toy, I pounced on the experience to teach my 4-year old about life’s cold hard facts.

I explained to him, “You see, you can’t control others and you can’t always get what you want.” The beauty is that he experienced this firsthand so the learning was no longer hypothetical, but one that was real.

2. It teaches that communication is effective when resolving issues

Every time my son is angry, I wait until the emotion subsides and then swoop in. We discuss the why, who or what, and possible solutions to the issue(s).

When we had just begun this exercise, it took him a while to open up. Now, he is able to communicate and explain why he is angry prior to cooling down. This is a major milestone for him in terms of learning how to deal with emotions. And he's learned it at such a young age.

3. It allows me to understand my child better

Through the previous item, I have gotten to know my child better.

Case in point. One afternoon, my son asked me to read a book to him he was fond of. I was working so I deferred the reading to a later time. I then noticed he became visibly angry. When the emotion subsided, I found out he was upset because he felt I was always working.

I reflected a bit, found the statement true and made necessary changes to accommodate his needs more.

Had I not asked what he was angry about, I would have allowed this "lack of quality time" problem to persist. Now I'm aware of how much he values the time I spend with him.

4. It increases my child's self-worth

Because I take time out to hear his concerns, no matter how trivial, it shows him that I want to understand him. That his voice is heard and appreciated. That he matters.

Don’t Dread Anger

Welcome it. Through anger, every parent is given the opportunity to impart life lessons to their children, and even learn a thing or two from them. Instead of focusing on the negativity, you can turn anger into a positive emotional tool to understand the world better. I have and it's worked wonders on my boy.

Anne is a mom who is passionate about raising happy, healthy and smart children. How? With a glass of information, a pitcher of love, a gallon of patience, and of course, a bucket of humor. She believes that though parenting is challenging, it doesn't have to be boring. Catch more of her at Green Eggs & Moms.

Photo: Creative Commons from _gee_

Sunday, 18 December 2011

When a Child is Deirdre McLaughlin from @Sign2Music

When a Child is Born……

When that little bundle of joy is placed into your arms your life will never be the same. You will experience a love that you have never felt before and such pride knowing you have created the beautiful creature you see before you. However, it isn’t long before you also experience a tiredness you never felt before and a whirlwind of emotions.

New parents juggle so many tasks and face so many decisions. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Cloth or disposable nappies? Babywearing? Co-sleeping? There are so many classes you can go to: Baby massage, yoga, swimming, signing and much more. It can be a joy making these decisions, trying new ideas and having new experiences with your baby. Sometimes it can be simply overwhelming!

When I had my youngest child after a gap of ten and half years I felt like I was starting over again. I love my children more than life itself and wanted to be the best mummy in the world. I read every book I could get my hands on and worried about every decision I made in case it had long term detrimental effects on my baby (blame the psychology and social work training!). I wish I had relaxed and spent more time reading my baby than books, many of which gave contradictory advice, immobilising me, rather than empowering me to be the expert on my own child. The book I am actually glad I read was ‘Sign with Your Baby’ by Dr Garcia. ‘Baby signing’ is the concept of using signs to support communication in preverbal children. At that stage it was relatively unheard of in conservative Northern Ireland! I had studied sign language before and decided to try it. This was no doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made.

We started signing with Cara at five months much to the chagrin of my very conservative parents. At five and a half months she did her first signs. When she was twelve months she could use 50-70 signs and could tell us how she felt, if she wanted her nappy changed, if she was hungry or thirsty. At the pre-verbal stage I didn’t have to go through the checklist I used with my older children when they cried: Is he or she hungry? Dirty nappy? Tired? Cara could actually ‘converse’ with us, although those first words came from her hands rather than her lips!

One of the most amazing experiences I had was when Cara was almost 9 months old. I was breast feeding as normal before bed. I had brought some milk in a cup, as I was weaning her off the breast knew she would need more. She was getting quite upset as I was feeding her. I signed 'milk' and she lifted her head and signed 'no milk'! When I lifted her cup she got excited and signed 'milk'. I couldn't believe it so I repeated this several times with the same result! That was the last time I breastfed Cara, as there was indeed 'no milk'. It was amazing that a baby at less than 9 months of age could tell me this so clearly herself. This was also the experience that convinced my sceptical husband that this wasn't just another of my 'fads' that I would lose interest in after a while!

It is well documented that signing supports communication and reduces frustration. The undersold benefit of signing is how it nurtures connectedness between children and their caregivers. It necessitates increased eye contact, enhances communication and reduces frustration. Signing gave us an insight into Cara’s mind and personality. She regularly shared her observations and thoughts, eg, if we were in the garden she signed BIRD TREE to tell me what she had observed. When she was around 9 months I was reading her a story about a giant, expecting her to be a passive observer. Every time I turned the page she signed HAT. I soon realised there was a little tiny mouse hiding behind various objects in each page wearing a HAT. Cara was ‘reading’ her version of the story to me before she could even speak!

A child’s first relationship will have a significant impact on subsequent relationships throughout their lives. Relationships shape brain development, most of which takes place in the first 3 years of life. We cannot underestimate the importance of parent – child connectedness for our children’s health and emotional well being.

My experiences are by far unique. I love watching how the babies we see in Sign2Music classes grow into bright, confident and loving children. I love the amazing stories I hear about how signing has helped communication, bonding and development. I can now say without doubt SIGNING WORKS. And so can many, many parents and carers throughout Northern Ireland, indeed throughout the world!

Deirdre McLaughlin lives in Co Down, Northern Ireland. She is a mum of 3 and the founder of Sign2Music, the only baby signing company to originate in Northern Ireland. Sign2Music facilitates classes for babies and toddlers, parties, workshops and training / sessions in nurseries, schools and preschools throughout Northern Ireland.

Deirdre is a psychology graduate with a Masters in Medical Science and Family Therapy qualifications. She is a qualified Social Worker and has worked in the Youth Justice field for 16 years, currently working job share as a Locality Manager in the Youth Justice Agency NI. She has undertaken BSL sign language training to Level 2.!/sign2music

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A Stress Free Christmas - YES Please!

Here are my thoughts for a stress free Christmas.....

Christmas can be a stressful time for many reasons. Let's take a moment to consider how we can minimise this. Dramas can be minimised with little planning and a little effort. Preparing and organising in advance are key to your success. If you are responsible for the cooking or present wrapping communicate effectively supporting others allowing them to know you have your tasks under control.

Our little ones can get over-excited and over-tired at christmas. Being flexible and not too rigid about bed times can make children feel the excitement of christmas even more but don't go overboard boundaries are essential even at christmas.

If you forget to buy something don't be too hard on yourself. It may be easier to alter your plans rather than upset yourself and those around you. Think calmly about the alternatives and re-jig your plans to suit.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, let us remember it is a time for giving, sharing and spending time with loved ones and friends. Enjoy your time, your friends and your family. Take time to relax and 'be in the moment'. Make it as stress free as possible keeping positive will serve you and yours well.

May I wish you all well for 2012. Happy holidays!

Guest Post Bloggers

This week, and for an ongoing period I have decided to provide my blog space to parents, parenting experts, autistic spectrum experts, mummy and daddy bloggers, and baby signing experts to write blogs about something they feel passionate about. I am so looking forward to hearing from all those who have agreed so far to participate.

If you are reading this and you would like to join in just leave me a message on this blog or contact me via twitter to confirm your interest.

We may not have the same views and we almost certainly won't have the same life stories but I am interested in providing a space for people to talk about 'stuff' that they want to talk about.

@braininsights @StephenCitybeat @Sign2Music @BabySignVicki @babysigningmum @DrRosina @SueAtkins @savvywendy and @greeneggsnmoms who are lovely folk from the world of twitter have agreed to GUEST POST BLOG for me.

We have already had an amazing post from Deborah @braininsights begin this guest post blogging with an wonderful post about meeting our baby's needs (see HOPE FOR HAPPY HEALTHY CHILDREN).

So watch this space and get commenting on the blogs as they are posted!

Happy holidays to one and all and have the most amazing 2012!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

HOPE for happy, healthy children


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every child developed the ability to: deal with emotions in healthy ways, delay gratification, have empathy for others, and form positive relationships?

Sadly, there are many myths and misunderstandings that prevents this for many children. The critically important myth that needs to be completely dispelled is …… A baby is "spoiled" by responding to cries and meeting their expressed needs.

The wonderful news is, we have the knowledge of why this myth is not true. Research clearly provides this needed understanding.

THE TRUTH IS: Consistently meeting the needs of a baby is actually the opposite of spoiling.

Through repeatedly meeting a baby's physical and emotional needs, a baby is calmed and feels safe. Over time a baby begins to learn what to expect due to these repeated, predictable and positive experiences. So, having an attuned and loving caregiver who predictably meets a baby's emotional needs, leads to the overall healthy development all children deserve.

For real insights on this topic….Enjoy understanding this through a baby’s perspective!

Anna says………

“Good morning! I just woke up and see I am in my crib. I feel good after having all those hours of sleep. I can’t fully express that feeling yet, so I just coo a little to myself.
But wait… the feeling of contentment is beginning to fade. I am beginning to feel lonely in here all by myself. I am also beginning to feel wet and hungry. These sensations make me cry. I need someone to come and take care of this discomfort I am feeling.
When I cry, I have found that my mommy or daddy comes to me to see what they can do to meet my needs. This feels so good and comforting. I am completely helpless. I have to have someone take care of me!

See… I told you, here comes my daddy already. He looks like he is glad to see me. He smiles at me and says, “Good morning Little Sweetheart!”, as he walks into the room. (He calls me a lot of different names. It is fun to see which name he will call me each time). I stop crying right away, smile back and wave my arms and kick my legs in excitement. I am so glad he is here!

He picks me up and holds me. It feels so warm and secure in his arms. I feel so special when he looks at me and talks to me. He asks me if I slept good and if I want my diaper changed. I just continue to smile back at him.
Daddy lays me on the changing table and takes off the wet diaper. He continues to talk and then stops to make silly faces at me. It makes me laugh. We are having so much fun together. Because my daddy and I have times like this so frequently, it makes me know I am someone special.

The hungry feelings are getting stronger now. I start to cry a little again. Daddy says, “I know… You are hungry!” It is wonderful to have him so tuned into my needs. It sure makes me not cry and scream much.

Daddy carries me in to the other room. Oh…. I see Mommy! She is smiling and holding her arms out for me. I give her my biggest smile! I can hardly wait for her to hold me and give me a morning kiss. Because my brain is still very immature I do not have the ability to wait very long to get my needs met. But, due to Mommy and Daddy being so consistent in paying attention to what I need and then meeting them, I have already learned to calm myself a bit.

Mommy takes me, sits down, and positions herself. Because of the repetition of this process, I already know this is in preparation to feed me. I get so excited with the anticipation. It feels so warm and soothing to be fed and held at the same time. Mommy usually loves looking at me and caresses my hand while I eat. I feel so incredibly secure!
Not only does this feel wonderful, but I am excited to know that scientists have shown that what I am experiencing is having a positive impact on my developing brain. Research demonstrates that secure attachment can have an impact on my ability:
• to form healthy relationships with others
• to delay gratification
• to problem solve
• to have empathy for others
• to put up with the frustration of failure and have more patience
• to calm down from excitement
I may also:
• have a longer attention span
• be able to better manage physical reactions to emotions
• have an increased capacity for empathy
• feel less anxiety
• have greater skills in communicating emotions in healthy ways
• exhibit fewer behavioral problems
• have more confidence and a positive self-perception
• be less fearful
• have more willingness to explore and learn through challenges

I am such a fortunate baby to have all of this happening in my life. The thing that makes me very sad, is to know is this doesn’t happen for all babies. There are many babies that do not have their cries answered or have their needs met consistently. These babies become very fearful, distressed, frustrated, and hopeless. When this occurs repeatedly their emotional development remains “stuck” at this stage. When these babies grow up they will still have a focus on needing someone to care about them. Their stunted development will affect relationships and learning throughout their lives.

I really do not understand why all parents are not given this information at child birth classes. Do you? It could make such a difference if this were known by every parent. Is there anything you can do to help?
There is not much I can do from my crib, except to share my insights with you. But, I would love it if every baby could have the wonderful experiences I am having.... because every baby deserves it. I would really appreciate it if you would do what you can to take steps to ensure EVERY baby develops through having their needs met in a loving and consistent way.

Deborah McNelis, Owner, Brain Insights.
Deborah is an author, speaker, educator and parent. Her passion is to achieve the best possible outcome for all children and make brain development common knowledge.

As an Early Brain Development Specialist, Deborah is the award winning author of, The Brain Development Series. She has been seen in several publications, heard on numerous radio shows, and receives rave reviews for her enlightening and engaging presentations. Deborah is overjoyed with the response to all that her company provides due to her passion to create awareness of the critical importance of the early years.

In addition to the brain series she has also created a brain packet called Naturally Developing Young Brains. Deborah has additionally created the Love Your Baby App, a valuable newsletter, the Early Childhood Brain Insights blog, and the BRAIN Initiative. Her newest initiative helps entire communities, “Create Great Connections”. Her goal through this work is for everyone to gain an understanding of early brain development, it’s impact, and the ways we can all easily make a REAL difference.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Snowy Tuesday

Well here we go...we now have snow! Views from the house! Can you see my car anywhere? I think it's buried in the snow!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

OK so I'm Deaf!

So after a little consideration and some frustration I decided I would like to know how deaf I am? I already knew I was deaf, but just how deaf am I? I visited a private hearing aid company and discovered (what I already knew) I am deaf. I have some nerve damage deafness mainly in my left ear. I suppose it’s helpful to know but there’s very little that can be done about it. Private hearing aids would potentially give some benefit and they would be hugely costly – approximately £2,500.

The lovely audiologist said he would refer me to the hospital and they can do the test again and that if I wished to see if a hearing aid would help then it would be better to be given one from the NHS. He was afraid that purchasing a hearing aid would be costly and was honest enough to encourage me to try an aid “for free” to assess the benefits for myself first.

I’ve been brought up around deafness and I have been involved with the deaf community for over 20 years. I am fluent in British Sign Language and maybe all of this goes a long way to making me comfortable with my deafness. Would you feel comfortable to be told you’re deaf? Does being deaf make a difference to your life? Do you resist your deafness and in doing so frustrate others?

Deafness for me is part of my life now just as it was as a child – my mother is profoundly deaf.

I hope this blog has made you think more about hearing loss, deafness and the need to embrace all of who we are….deaf or not.

Vivien Sabel is a UKCP Relational Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, Infant Communication Consultant and mother. She is fluent in British Sign Language and formerly trained and registered as a Trainee BSL Interpreter.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The impact of smacking

Up until the 1980’s smacking was only in debate by a few. Prior to this, many as a ‘day-to-day’ parenting tool saw smacking and spanking as par for the course.

The UK introduced its’ first ban on smacking in 1987 through the recognition that corporal punishment was no longer an option in our educational system. In 1999 this ban was then extended to independent schools. In the past decade further laws have been passed that have resulted in the prohibited use of corporal punishment in private and public children's homes and care facilities. Since 2004, the law has changed further to make it harder for parents, or primary caregivers, to use the defence of “reasonable punishment” when they could otherwise be charged with assault.

Concerns remain about smacking at home and in part-time educational institutions such as faith schools, where adults using "reasonable force" can avoid prosecutions.

But are parents being encouraged to look at alternative ways of managing their children without the use of smacking or physical punishment?

Currently, parents are allowed by law to mete out "reasonable chastisement'' on their children, providing smacking does not leave a bruise or mark. The Children’s Act 2004 clarifies these points and specifies the limits for parents. Children’s groups and MPs have argued that spanking or smacking is an outdated form of punishment that can cause long-term mental health problems. Despite persistent enthusiasm for physical chastisement in significant sections of the population, social scientists are virtually unanimous in arguing that smacking has more negative than positive effects.

Smacking or spanking is an act of aggression and in some cases violence against a child. In my opinion it has no demonstrative qualities and it has no place in parenting for the 21st century. Parenting in the 21st century means parenting with consciousness doesn’t it?

As a forty two year old ‘social scientist’ I am totally convinced that smacking or spanking is outdated, unnecessary, misguided, ineffectual and is a hopeless measure in support of discipline. Aggression is not the only way to deal with a problem. In demonstrating and modeling aggression and smacking it will not encourage positive teaching of our children, nor will it support them to consider alternatives solutions. It will affirm that ‘hitting out’ is the only way to deal with problems.

Smacking seems to me to be a loss of control. If parents have already lost control how far will they go in their attempts to discipline and control? How do we accurately measure “reasonable chastisement?” Take a look into the mind of a child and how he or she will process the concept of smacking, very simply in the following way. Mum or Dad smacks me so it’s OK for me to smack others too, especially people who are smaller and more vulnerable than me.

The consequence is that children who are smacked consistently hit out as initial response to dealing with problems and conflicts. I have worked with many children for many years and not only do I hear and see their parents in them and their learnt behaviours I have been on the receiving end of a couple of punches whilst in the clinical space. Yes punches rather than smacks. A child who is regularly hit will feel discomfort and pain, and he or she will experience shame.

Shame affects us in so many negative ways. A child will innately ‘act out’ their feelings in one of two ways - harming themself or harming another. They will not stop to consider the difference between a smack, a punch, a bite etc.

To add insult to injury smacking doesn’t ‘fix’ the problem. Many children learn to expect and tolerate the pain; some go on to request smacking as punishment as it is seen as a quick punishment. As the negative behaviours continue and the seeds of parental hatred begin to grow will it be your child visiting me in my clinical practice to discuss how being parented negatively (through smacking etc.) has affected their lives. I hope not, for their sake and yours.

I have three further comments to make firstly recent media articles are suggesting, “smacking never did me any harm” and kids who have been smacked are more likely to attend university etc. I’m afraid I believe the reason why people who have been raised using smacking as a disciplinary measure attend university is they are more than likely to feel a need to prove themselves to the world and I believe this is why they are more likely to attend university.

Secondly, research shows and so do many of the popular parenting experts/authors there is no place for smacking. We know that firm and consistent boundaries and reward-based systems will benefit our children thereby allowing for development and growth through learning more of the impact of their behaviors and how this can affect themselves and others.

Finally the issue of smacking must now be considered in light of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention of Human Rights, particularly Article Three on protection against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 is also relevant for child punishment, as Article 19 states: "Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.”

In 1995 the Committee on the Rights of the Child, after examining the UK's first report under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, recommended that corporal punishment in the family should be prohibited, and criticised the existence of the defence of "reasonable chastisement".

SAY A BIG FAT NO TO SMACKING….it’s not the answer.

Vivien Sabel
Relational Psychotherapist/Clinical Supervisor/Researcher/Writer


Vivien Sabel is the author of The Blossom Method ™ - Understanding and Bonding with Your Baby From Birth - publication date June 2012 (The Blossom Method has received outstanding worldwide reviews and a publishing house in Australia has already tipped it to be a global bestseller).

Vivien is a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist and a qualified Clinical Supervisor. She is a published researcher, a British Mummy Blogger and a parenting book & product reviewer.

©Vivien Sabel 2011 All rights reserved

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My latest independent parenting review

Independent Review by Vivien Sabel author of The Blossom Method™ - A revolutionary parenting/baby book (publication date June 2012). UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor & Researcher.

REAL brain development 'Love Your Baby' packets (mini book series) by Deborah McNelis, M.S. ed., Brain Development Specialist and owner of Brain Insights.

In agreeing to review these books I received a neat yet weighty parcel and inside I discovered some hidden gems. These books are unique, creative and educational. I have to say, I absolutely love them! I have so many good things to say about them I’m just not sure where to begin!

In the REAL brain development series there are six books for parents/professionals providing information about brain development through play, love and positive contact focusing on making connections in the first year and continuing on from age 1 to age 5. Each little packet has been prepared for easy access and each is jargon free.

I love the size of these mini books and the way they have been created; they are small and fastened together with a ring. It seems Deborah wanted to create these in a very easy and practical format so it is extremely easy for parents to use and take them anywhere. The ring, means you can easily flip to an activity that fits the current situation of the family (laundry, riding on the bus, cooking, waiting for an appointment, etc.) Each packet seems to be less like a book....and more like a simple to use and unique resource. Deborah has certainly achieved this with these little packets of joy.

These pre-eminent packets are a must read for all parents and professionals. The language is accessible and the pictures are delightful. My favorite consistent theme is hearing the voice of ‘our’ children throughout. The child voice can be ‘heard’ on the back of each page and it reminds you of what your children need to promote positive brain development. “My brain will adapt to whatever my world provides for me. For my brain to develop best, I need to have fun, interesting, loving experiences built into each day” McNelis (2008).

Each page provides you with information or an activity and then Deborah succinctly goes on to tell you all about what your children need for their brains to develop in the best possible way.

I think when Deborah produced these beautiful little books she had them in mind for providing ideas that some may not have been exposed to in their own growing up and to fit it in to busy working lives. But, she also kept in mind the busy professional parent who needs ideas just as much so they can spend quality interaction time with their children.

I think these packets should be given to each and every parent from their midwives, doctors or other healthcare professionals indeed any professionals working with parents or children to promote positive development. The ‘Love Your Baby’ packets can be used to support their efforts in an easy way through sharing practical ways to promote and easily learn about ways that really support brain development. Many schools, early childhood centres, parenting programs, family resource centres, nursery or Surestart centres, should make these available and distribute them to parents.

These mini books support ALL adults to realise that these are the ways science show us that brains develop best.

My daughter-in-law said she feels that it would be great if health services distributed these packets to those planning a pregnancy and those who have discovered they are pregnant. And I concur! I would have loved to receive my very own “Love Your Baby” packet. Then pediatricians, health visitors or other health care professional could give out the next one each year following!!

If I were the CEO of a health authority or other such company I would jump on board and consider using these packets as promotional items to increase the Public Relations of the company! They could also be used as promotional items for agencies or businesses wanting to promote the healthy development of children. These companies could have their logo and contact information printed on the packets!

The cost is $9.99 /packet US or UK --- International orders can be purchased with PayPal and the shipping will be calculated. When purchasing sets there is a discount in the price ... $27.00 for a 3 packet set or $54.00 for the 6 packet set. I believe bulk orders for organisations, schools or business get discount pricing for quantities over 25.

For more information and to order these pivotal packets and more from the REAL brain development series contact Deborah McNelis at

Friday, 12 August 2011

10 things you didn't know about me

@theboyandme @mumonthebrink and originally- by @fayerios started a wonderful blog "10 things you don't know about me."

@mumonthebrink officially 'tagged' me and encouraged me to participate. There are so many things I could tell you but I'm just not sure where to begin........

Oh well here goes:-

1. I am fluent in British Sign Language & formerly trained as a BSL Interpreter

2. I have been run over THREE times (a car, a mini bus & a taxi on OXFORD ST. London and if your out there Mr. Taxi driver I know who you are)..he never stopped!!

3. I have written a baby/parenting book and it will be published in the near future!

4. My mum is deaf and always has been - she uses lip-reading as an aid to communication and doesn't primarily use Sign Language

5. I have worked as a nanny

6. I have one undergraduate degree & 4 postgraduate degrees

7. I have just started Karate and I love it!

8. I am an expert in Body Language.

9. I love to cook and eat Caribbean food (speciality curried goat, rice 'n' peas, plantain & green banana)

10. At 42 years old I am a Grandma!

Some of you will know some of these things but none of you will know them all!!

Any thoughts or comments?

Warmest Vivien

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My latest independent parenting review

Sign 2 Music

Independent Review of Sign 2 Music Volume 1 CD

I have never bought a CD of songs specifically to sign to but if I’d have known of this one I definitely would have bought it! Secondly I was so impressed by the vocals I found myself singing along in the car. As I was in the car, I thought it was best not to sign and sing simultaneously!

Deirdre McLaughin of Sign 2 Music created this wonderful CD and to her credit she is the lead vocalist and the star of the show! I can only wish I had a voice like hers! This fantastic CD is both easy on the ear and wonderful to sing along with.

For £10.00 you will receive a 26 track CD that has both popular and new songs included. Most of the songs you’ll recognise in an instant and others you will learn in no time at all.

This lovely Sign 2 Music CD will entertain your babies and toddlers for hours. If you don’t find yourself singing and signing along I’ll be very surprised.

Producers could (and generally do) a whole lot worse in finding vocalists for Children’s CD’s. If they need a vocalist of great caliber then they really ought to contact Deirdre!

One final comment, look out Mr. Tumble, Deirdre is waiting in the wings!

For more information and to purchase this MUST BUY CD go to

Relational Psychotherapist/Clinical Supervisor/Researcher/Writer/Reviewer

Monday, 8 August 2011

I've been on the radio talking all about the Blossom Method!

Hello there

Wow I've been super busy so please accept my apologies. I thought I'd update you and send you the link to my latest venture. I was interviewed yesterday by Dr. Rosina McAlpine, Associate Professor and Parenting Expert/Author

We spoke about my forth coming book, my baby communication findings and a little about the Blossom Method.

Please tune in and let me know what you think.

Off to clinic now.

Warmest Viv

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sue Atkins - Parenting Easy App

Sue Atkins Parenting Made Easy App

Independent Review ~ by Vivien Sabel

Sue’s approach to parenting and parents is to encourage, support, empower and by doing so, develop awareness within individual parents and the parenting community. Her latest parenting app follows the same proactive principles.

Downloading Sue's App literally took me a couple of minutes. I am no technical whizz so ease of access is important to me. It appeared on my iphone in what seemed like seconds!

Sue’s app homepage doesn’t pull any punches! She begins by telling you how tough being a parent can be. She then goes on to say what a wonderful and important role you play in the lives of your children. This is so true and this app will provide you with all the tools and techniques you and your children deserve!

In her Parenting Made Easy App Sue recognises you as a parent are the expert and with the support and guidance provided you can be more than good enough. Sue is a realistic coach who knows much in relation to positive parenting. She knows all the answers to parenting issues lie deep within you. In seeing parents as the experts and implementing her wonderful coaching skills, Sue imparts knowledge and support seamlessly.

I love Sue’s Top Secrets where she reiterates the key concept of setting boundaries; this is interwoven throughout. The affirmations provide you with a sprinkle of spirituality and remind you of the power of positive thinking.

In addition this app gives you uplifting stories, inspirational sayings, personal recommendations, top tips, access to Sue’s blog and so much more.

I cannot believe this app costs only £2.99 and I can confirm it’s worth every penny!

Brilliant Sue! Another amazing success and a must have for all parents!

Mother, Stepmother, Grandmother!!
Relational Psychotherapist/Clinical Supervisor/Researcher/Writer

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Babies Can Sign ~ Let's Sign Songs for Children

Let’s Sign Songs for Children by Vicki Gilbert & Cath Smith Children’s DVD

Independent Review by Vivien Sabel

In reviewing this DVD I have to tell you a secret! I am fluent in British Sign Language so of course I’m biased. I loved the DVD, the songs, and everything about it. It was so easy for me to follow so I decided I would test the DVD on my 6 year old and my OH.

The top ten tips are very helpful. Make sure you spend a few minutes listening to those; they will make all the difference to your learning and add bags more fun to your signing. I think they will help your little ones to develop more body confidence too.

My daughter and OH loved it! I laughed so much to see my OH signing parts of the songs to me later the same day. I have been signing to him for years and he still hasn’t learnt hardly any signs from me. After one viewing of Let’s Sign Songs he now has quite a vocabulary! My daughter enjoyed the DVD too. I think they both loved the family fun time, the collective wearing of the ‘silly hat’ and the sitting down together to share something fun, interesting and educational.

I only have praise for this DVD! Well-done Vicki a triumph! A must have DVD for all families!

Babies Can Sign can be ordered from http//

I would also like to quash any myths about teaching infant’s sign language and it affecting their speech. This has not been and is not my experience. Sign Language is a wonderful, full, rich language and I would encourage ALL parents to attend baby-signing classes. It will not only see the bond between you deepen and develop, it will also help your little one develop an early vocabulary.

Vivien Sabel
Relational Psychotherapist/Clinical Supervisor/Researcher/Writer/Reviewer

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Seeking new mums or soon to be mums


I'm in the process of redrafting a mini book for possible publication with a major publishing house. I have met with the publishers, they are "very excited and enthusiastic" but have advised to secure some more parent quotes and run some more trials utilising the Blossom Method©. I have created the Blossom Method© a most unique tool for parenting in the 21st Century!

The redraft is coming along very nicely indeed. I have organised to trial my findings and met with new Mums and their infants but am seeking to find a group of mums whom I could work with, teach and trial my findings in the Yorkshire area. Are there any breastfeeding groups who may want to participate?

The Blossom Method© helps mothers (and fathers) communicate with their baby from the minute they are born. My book manuscript in its' original form was sent across the globe and reviewed by parents and parenting professionals. The book manuscript has received sensational reviews and my findings have been described as sensational, groundbreaking, amazing, astounding and much more.

If you are interested in being involved and you are either a soon to be mum, a new mum or you are involved in a mum and baby group e.g. a breastfeeding group with babies under 12 weeks please contact me via this blog or via twitter!

I can't wait to teach you something that may support you to understand and communicate with your baby from the moment they are born!

I look forward to more contact with you

warmest Vivien

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hello and apologies for my absence


Just a quick post to say my additional research into my findings and the editing of my book are time-consuming and wonderful! It does however mean you may find I'm a little absent in terms of blogging. Please forgive me!

All is going very well indeed but gathering data from across the globe is a big undertaking and one I'm enjoying. I have met, emailed, skyped, telephoned some wonderful soon to be mums. I have also been in correspondence with and met with some wonderful new mums. Oh it's so fantastic to know that you are working with me on this project. I wish for the purposes of research I could replicate me and visit in person each and every one of you.

I wanted to post this blog to thank all of you. THANK YOU one and all. You are getting involved in some truly groundbreaking research into infant and mother/father communication. My work with you inspires me to keep to a tight deadline and get my book to you and others across the world as soon as possible.

Time to go to bed now but I'll be back.

Much appreciation always Vivien

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Independent Book Review ~ Parenting Apart

Independent Book Review by Vivien Sabel ~ Parenting Apart

Parenting Apart by Christina McGhee

This has to be one of the most comprehensive and empowering guidebooks I have read to date. Let’s be serious, separation and divorce is difficult enough but divorce when there are children involved is an emotive and complex matter. A family unit torn apart is even more difficult. McGhee begins her masterpiece by reminding us “it won’t be easy.” She then goes on to offer guidance that is second to none!

This book seamlessly glides through every possible topic imaginable from change, loss and legalities, to do’s and don’ts and common problems. She has divided the book into four sections with each of the sections carrying the answers to all of the questions a parent will consider through this guilt-ridden period of change.

She begins by introducing us to ‘the relationship between stress and parenting’, a wonderful introduction to allow us to see how our behaviours and responses can have a lasting and detrimental impact upon our offspring and us. At this point I began to wonder if McGhee had undertaken some clinical training but then I learnt of her coaching skills! And what a coach she must be! Feelings, behaviours, emotions and managing change are interwoven with clear-cut, practical management.

To me, this book is more than a guide. It is a MUST READ for all parents contemplating separation and divorce. For those of you already divorced it will help you to continue to sail the ‘sometimes’ stormy seas of separation.

Well-done Christina! Your work will support millions to deal with parenting apart. You describe your book as “a practical and empowering guide to raising happy and secure children after divorce or separation” to me it’s even more!

Vivien Sabel
Relational Psychotherapist/Clinical Supervisor/Researcher/Writer

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Soul to Soul Parenting Independent Book Review

Independent Review ~Vivien Sabel

Soul to Soul Parenting by Annie Burnside

This book introduces you to a new paradigm in parenting. Soul to Soul Parenting encapsulates 21st century parenting and consciousness. Annie Burnside’s use of language is truly beautiful. Her words appear to trickle across the pages like beautiful rain falling on autumn leaves. “Conscious parenting is open to all who desire it” (Burnside 2011). This is certainly one of the messages carried throughout this beautifully crafted work of art. Annie provides you with a ‘global’ understanding of the meaning of consciousness - a model any family regardless of religion or beliefs can connect with. She also goes on to introduce you to over twenty ways of interweaving consciousness into the foundation of your family. I believe, introducing her concepts to your own family will be life changing for all! Annie’s non-prescriptive approach resonates and connects with 21st century thinking.

Personally, in reviewing this book, I have been enlightened, inspired and awakened. Soul to Soul Parenting has awakened my spirit and the creative messages found within are ‘jewels’ I will carry with me and pass on to others. This book certainly has SOUL!

Thank you Annie for providing me with all of the parenting tools required for raising a family in the 21st century. I cannot wait for your next book!

Mother, UK registered Psychotherapist, Writer, Researcher & Book Reviewer

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Hot off the press..the astounding response from the publisher

Hello all


As promised, publishing news for you! Here it is, I've just heard from the publisher. The following words have been taken from the actual email from the publisher. I am astounded, delighted and a little sad I didn't get to fly to Australia!

We have finally read your manuscript, we’ve discussed and we’ve decided that unfortunately we will not be able to publish it. It is a FANTASTIC manuscript with ground-breaking ideas that will go on to sell millions 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. In fact, it wouldn’t be fair on you if we were to publish it. It needs a publisher of a different calibre and massive marketing and distribution divisions.

Vivien – please submit your manuscript to one of the major trade publishers specialising in parenting books in the UK or the US (like Random House).

As you have been reviewing and reading books in this area you will have a much better idea than me where to go apart from Random House. Have a look at your bookshelf and see where the parenting books that you like have been published. And please aim high.

I am sorry to have taken such a long time. I would have loved to work on your book, but I firmly believe that you will be much better off at a bigger publisher specialising in mass-market books.

If there is anything I can help with, please let me know.

So that's my news....I am buzzing! I am now in the process of following two potential leads with publishers a little closer to home. I am more than happy with the sentiment and comments from this international publishing house. Remember I haven't taken my manuscript to any other publishers yet and look at the response I have been offered from a publishing house contacted by one of my manuscript reviewers!

Millions of copies, mass-market, FANTASTIC, ground-breaking, a book with mass potential....I am super happy! Thank you for sharing my news. I look forward to telling you all about what happens next!

Warmest Vivien

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Get off the Drama Triangle ~ Part II

Well hello again

For those of you new to this blog I'm in the process of unpacking my take on some of the theory taken from Transactional Analysis (TA). I have posted my thoughts and an overview of the role of rescuer from the Drama Triangle and I have promised to cover the role of the persecutor for part II. This is especially for @marylineleese as she said she was very much looking forward to the next part of this blog. Here we go Maryline! And thank you for all of the interest shown in my work.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of the Drama Triangle it is as suggested taken from TA. It suggests we are very much on the Drama Triangle if we feel like we need a rescuer, we feel like a victim or like we are being persecuted by others. Or, we are very much involved in the drama triangle if we feel like we want to persecute, victimise or rescue others.

In part I, I covered the rescuer and today I'll cover the persecutor. OK so have you ever felt like you want to persecute others or that you are being persecuted by others? If so, you are once again on or involved in the Drama Triangle.

Firstly if you have a need to persecute others I have a need to ask why? Why would you feel like you need to persecute? If you do it seems you are feeling less powerful than the others you need to persecute. If this is the case why have you given away your power? My advice here is NOT to involve yourself in the negativity of 'persecution'. If others are involved in these behaviours steer well clear. Make a stand and tell them you do not want to be part of these negative behaviours. You don't have to be involved in 'bitching' and persecutory behaviours. If you have a valid point to make, how about you simply make it! Talking to people about your feelings and owning your own power is much more positive than being involved in persecutory behaviours.

If, on the other hand, you feel like you are being persecuted then as suggested you have given your power away to an 'other'. Feelings of a persecutory nature can be stirred through past significant relationships or from powerful relationships in the 'here and now'. Either way I suggest you OWN YOUR OWN POWER and stop being a victim! Harsh I know but true!

Yes, in the past i have felt like I have been a victim of persecutory behaviours but once I began to understand MY ROLE in this and now I no longer experience this.

OK I think this covers the persecutor factor! Do let me know what you think?

Thanks for taking the time to view and share!

Warmest Vivien ~ The Powerful and non-persecutory one!!! LOL

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Get off the Drama Triangle!!

My clients and patients tell me that one of the most valuable things they have learnt in psychotherapy is in relation to themselves and the concept of the Drama Triangle. In my clinical practice I like to share my learning for the benefit of others. The theory of the Drama Triangle is one theory taken from Transactional Analysis and is something that many of us have either been involved in or have been an observer of. This is my take on this concept.

Are you a Rescuer, a Victim or a Persecutor? Do you feel like you want to be rescued? Do you feel like you want to give up and be a victim? Do you feel like you're being persecuted? If you feel any of these things then you are on the Drama Triangle. Frankly, not a good place to be.

So are any of the above roles healthy? In a word, no! It seems most people fall into the rescuer category. This is easy to do isn't it? A friend comes around and tells you she's had the most dreadful time and before you know it you find yourself offering to do 'anything' to help. Being sympathetic and empathic is supportive but offering to do things isn't always the answer. Let me explain.

If we offer to do things for others all of the time we can become resentful. Nine times out of ten this offer to help is not a reciprocal arrangement. It's usually what you do for others but not what others do for you. Here we see how the resentment builds. Resentment can turn into anger and anger can transform into depression so go carefully. Do not go around offering to rescue others at a cost to your own health and well-being.

The second part to this relates to how others behave when they are being rescued. Imagine if you have been available to rescue someone all of the time and then suddenly for reasons beyond your control you are unable to rescue. Well let me tell you what happens, you are suddenly the worst friend or relative in the world. The person you've been consistently rescuing has become infantilized - that is unable to do things for themselves. You have encouraged this by taking responsibility for doing things for them - rescuing them. And in your absence they now 'hate' the fact that for what ever reason you are unable to help (aka rescue) this time. You will then be persecuted by the person you have been rescuing. They are likely to whinge and moan about how unreliable you are and what a rubbish friend or relative you are, usually behind your back. Can you see how this transpires.

If you feel you are involved in the Drama Triangle there is ONLY one way to get off. Keep your boundaries. If you a rescuing type this is what I advise. In being presented with the 'awful' news from a friend or relative just simply offer sympathy and make empathic noises. For example "Oh I'm so sorry to hear your news, this must be very difficult for you." FULL STOP. You do not need to do what you usually do and say "Is there anything I can do to help?" or even worse "Right I'll do this and that and the other." It's not your job to offer to this, that and the other. You must support people to ask for what they need and try and support them to secure their needs in their own way.

I think we'll focus more on the role of the persecutor next time. We'll also look at changing the negative roles of persecutor, rescuer and victim to more positive ones!

Please leave a comment, thank you.

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Another fabulous review of my book...I'm so excited

If you have ever been frustrated by your inability to interpret your baby's wants and needs, this book is for you. Vivien Sabel introduces the Blossom Method, a revolutionary technique for reading your baby's body language. The results: less frustration, a closer parent/child bond, and much more parenting confidence!

Susan M. Heim
Co-author, Boosting Your baby's Brain Power

Another amazing review of my book

Ever uttered the words "What do you want?" in frustration to your crying, irritable fractious baby? Well never again! Vivien Sabel outlines the many different, non-verbal but clear-cut clues to your baby's physical and emotional needs. Pay attention and you'll set the scene for a lifetime of intuitive response communication and relationship!

Janette Roberts, pharmacist, clinical nutritionist, pioneer in promoting preconception healthcare and best selling author of the Better Babies and Healthy Parents, Healthy babies Series.

Monday, 23 May 2011

I have raised £12 for Trees for Cities via PriceMinister @TheGreenChain

Interview: Environmentally friendly Q & A to raise £12 for

To raise £10 or £12 for your chosen charity copy and paste these questions in your blog. OK i've done this now!

- Turning the heating down by just one degree in your house saves 240kg of CO2 a year. It would take eight trees to soak up this amount of CO2! Are you currently doing anything to make your home eco-friendly? Keeping the heating off! And turning it down when on. We also use a wood-burner to heat the whole house and turn the heating off altogether.

- Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface, now they only cover 2%. How are you reducing your use of paper?
Recycling & re-using. My daughter re-uses everything!! We re-use paper & envelopes too!

- At PriceMinister we believe that trading second hand items online is a great way to extend the life span of products. Have you ever thought of buying or selling second hand items on or off line? I've been recycling, buying & selling second hand goods for years. Plus offering things through Freecycle. Happily shop in vintage shops and charity shops too.

- One of the biggest environmental challenges we face is Freshwater Shortages. Are you taking measures to reduce your water consumption? We're doing our bit here too! We are all very aware of re-using and not wasting our precious resources.

- How do you choose the produce that goes into your shopping basket? (any favorite products?) Price, value and eco-friendliness.

- What is your favourite green space near home? (a photo would be great!) So many. I find a photo and attach it! Did you see the piccy! So beautiful isn't it!

- Which charity would you like to support and why? Trees for Cities I have family in Africa and like the fact it covers UK & Africa

- Please give us the url of a fellow blogger (or bloggers) you would like us to contact to raise an extra £10. Or tag them on Twitter with this tweet:

I've forwarded on to two of my lovely networking tweeps!

Twitter & Facebook
Your Tweet = an extra £1 for your chosen charity
N.B: For your tweet to be taken into account please make sure that you mention us @TheGreenChain and include this url: in your tweet.
Like the Green Chain’s Facebook page and also raise an extra £1 for your chosen charity.
Thanks for your participation!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My Independent Parenting Book Review - How to be a Parent Champion by Alan Wilson

Alan Wilson’s ~ How to be a Parent Champion

Despite this book’s cover, it is a jewel in the world of parenting literature. This is not a typical parenting book; the focus is not on fixing but on maximizing potential! In this inspirational book Alan Wilson brings to life many wonderful, key concepts. How to be a Parent Champion, will teach you how to empower you (as a parent) and your wonderful off spring!

I’m also delighted to inform, this book is congruent; it really does what it says on the tin!

“When you are at your most resourceful and set the intention to connect with someone who is equally receptive, you will open up a whole new world of connections and possibilities!!! This is magic in action.”

How to be a Parent Champion focuses on the concept of ‘energetic connections’. This is truly an eye opener. This book highlights the joys of being deeply connected with yourself and your children and provides you with resources to support you to unlock your parenting potential to maximise your parenting successes. Alan’s writing allows you to experience his wonderful sensitivity and this goes a long way to help you to support the real needs of your children and young people.

I love the unique idea of providing continual FREE monthly teleconferences to support and nurture parents allowing them to share and learn from both their challenges and successes.

Well done Alan! A triumph!

Writer, Researcher, Infant Body Language Expert, Parenting Expert, Psychotherapist & Mother

Do I really need another degree??

So here's my dilemma! If you have any thoughts I would really appreciate your insight here.

It's fair to say I have spent much time already in academic institutions and as a result I have rather embarrassingly ended up with one undergraduate and four postgraduate degrees. I have also self-funded through all of these trainings and as you can imagine it has cost a small fortune! Now please don't misunderstand me I'm not telling you so I can 'blow my own trumpet' I am telling you because I have reached a crossroads. Which way, who knows!

I was initially investigating my doctorate and then my father died. I began to consider why I had pursued education so much and started to unpack (in a psychotherapeutic way) the matter of why. Why had I continually studied? Who was it for? Why had I felt the need to study so much. I began to realise my pursuit for education had been for my father and at this point I decided to place my doctorate on hold. I also met with a possible academic supervisor and I immediately felt this person wanted to steer my research in a way I didn't want it to go. All things considered I felt it was time to 'get off the academic bus', for a while at least and review. I began to write and I produced my unedited manuscript in 3 months! I then sent my unpublished manuscript across the globe to 'experts', parents, best selling parenting authors, professors, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. These were independent reviews and the feedback was sensational! The sensational reviews were originally gathered to support me to secure a publishing deal. In fact one of my reviewers (a Professor from Australia) was so impressed and excited by my findings she took my edited manuscript to a publishing house in Australia on my behalf.

Remember "this mini book could change the way we parent our infants forever."

By the way a little update on the publisher. They are in the middle of a launch and as a result are tied up until the end of next week. I ought to hear from them at some point after this. I promise I'll let you know.

My work (which will be printed in a mini series of books) in the field of baby body language has been described as "fascinating, astounding, ground-breaking and exciting" but as an academic I know it doesn't have the the backing of clinical & academic research. I have informally researched my findings and am delighted by the results but it simply doesn't have the stamp of approval required to secure more credibility in the field. Herein lies my dilemma. I have 100% faith & belief in all of my findings but my experience is telling me I need to have a little more than faith for my work to be perceived a credible by the experts in the field - as a bit of a non-traditionalist - this does kind of annoy me! So now I am faced with another possible 3-4 years in Uni (having spent way too many already) researching, securing another degree (which would mean a grand total of six - is this really necessary?) proving what I instinctively KNOW to be true!! Aaaaarrrrgghhhhhhhhh!

Please tell me what you think? I am curious and interested.

Do you see my dilemma here?

Warmest wishes from 'confused about school' Vivien

Monday, 16 May 2011

Mummy, I'm don't know what's wrong!

Today I though I'd write about looking out for clues in baby or childhood illness. I'm talking about body language clues or non verbal clues.

On Friday (and during the days before) my normally chirpy, occasionally cheeky daughter was clearly not herself. She had no energy (and believe me she has more than enough energy for both you and me). Her skin tone held a yellowish glow. Her eyes had no sparkle. She moved her body with less speed than usual. She held onto me and wanted me close by at all times. These non verbal clues spoke volumes. Her verbal representation was different too. She was wingeing, moaning and generally making 'out of sorts' noises. I had initially connected this a(nother) growth spurt or ill health of some description.

Since 'B' was a baby she has provided many non verbal clues to her ill health. The biggest clue for us is a glue like smell on her breath.

Back to Friday, so, there we were in a well known supermarket trying to get our supplies and I stop all proceedings and ask B to open her mouth to allow me to smell her breath. Mmmm I knew it. She was ill and she was about to come down with something. And judging by her demeanour this was no sniffle or tummy upset.

I had asked my lovely 'B', now 6 years old what was wrong and she replied "I don't know what's wrong, mummy!" I suppose on reflection, she didn't need to know what was wrong. I could see as it was written into her body. As a mum I needed to know so I could support her in the best possible way.

'B' continued to be out of sorts, her appetite was depressed and then on Saturday they appeared!! A couple of red spots on her back! Yep this was the beginning of Chicken Pox! She was and is really suffering with a nasty bout of Chicken Pox, and as a result has been both very upset, in pain and this has resulted in a low mood, (commonly known as grumpiness).

I wonder how much you pick up on your child's ill health, concerns and worries through what their non verbal communication tells you. As a mum there are so many things you can understand prior to words entering the domain. What does your child or baby tell you non verbally. Does your child or baby have a glue-like smell on their breath before they show other signs of illness?

I'd love to hear all about your child or baby's body language clues. What do you recognise about your baby or child before they become ill?

I look forward to learning more about this from you.

Warmest wishes from a rather tired mum!

PS 'B' has a message for you. I DON'T LIKE CHICKEN POX!!!!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Living in the NOW Dude~Part 2

In support of the lovely twitter mum @scribblingmum and her blog concept of "living in the now dude" I thought I'd type PART 2 of 'Living in The NOW Dude!!

OK, so it's Saturday...I've spent the morning chilling with my homies..lovely! I have rather impressively prepared some yummy homemade soup (sweet potato & squash). And have prepared caribbean style lamb curry. I don't follow recipes so please don't ask me how. I have been described as a bit of a jazz cook!

My little one isn't feeling great and is in need of extra cuddles and more time with Mum & Dad. Playing good old fashioned marbles has saved the day!! It's so handy that it's Saturday because tomorrow I am in training all day. Yes, tis true! Psychotherapy training on a Sunday!! As a registered Psychotherapist I am required to undertake 250 continued professional development over five years. And tomorrows training is relatively local (which is indeed rare) so I thought I'd join in!

What other news from the now I can share?...Well I have lots of other creative projects on the go. In my capacity as a parenting/baby book author I am reviewing two parenting books. One of the books is British born and the other was born in the USA! The first parenting book I am reviewing is called How To Be A Parent Champion and was penned by UK based father Alan Wilson. So far I am loving it!! This book brings together child-centred parenting, energetic connections and logic! In the meantime you can find out more about the book by visiting

Alan's focus on parental self esteem, personal empowerment, listening and choice seem to provide great tools for change within the family unit! Well done to you Alan!

The second book Soul to Soul Parenting has been written by Chicago based mother Annie Burnside. You can find out more about this book by following the link I am literally awaiting it's postal arrival any day now.

Annie's bio describes the book as a modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside is a soul nurturer specializing in conscious relationships and spiritual development. Her spiritual support practice assists others in balancing the exterior world with an interior focus. Annie teaches workshops, speaks publicly and writes the Soul to Soul Perspective blog for the Chicago Tribune and the family consciousness column for Evolving Your Spirit Magazine. She lives with her husband and three children in Chicago, IL.

The third project is Guest Expert Blogging for Kim McCann MD of Planet Tots found at

Kim a busy mum who has set up Planet Tots, has a desire and mission to help parents build a bright future for their children. Planet Tot's blog learning section is focused on child development and providing parents with information, advice and services that can help them support their child to fulfil their individual potential. I will be forwarding my first blog to her very soon. Thank you Kim. I very much look forward to my guest blogging with Planet Tots!

So living in the NOW dude is keeping me very busy!! How are YOU doing??

PS I have had a very exciting meeting with a brand expert to look at the Vivien Sabel Mini Book Series, to consider the cover of my first mini book and to look at a potential NEW title for my first book. I am still awaiting news from the publishers in Australia! I am as excited as ever and will let you know what's happening with the publisher as soon as I know.

Another poem about children....

Many years ago, as a child I came across this poem. I remember vividly being drawn to it even though, at the time, I didn't quite understand what it meant. I have kept the memory of these words with me and feel more connected to them now than ever before. I hope you will carry them with you on your journey.

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1935)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Living in the NOW Dude


In support of the lovely twitter mum @scribblingmum and her blog concept of "living in the now dude" I thought I'd type a blog...OMG, what you don't know is that I've just typed DUD instead of dude. OK I've corrected it now.

OK, sorry for the curve. Right, where was I? Oh yes, I felt it would be useful to reflect on the now and in doing so offer a little sneaky look at the world of me. OK, so who am I? And what is living in the NOW for me? Or in the words of the lovely Nikki (of Big Brother fame) "Who IS SHE??"

Well...yes I AM VIVIEN SABEL. I'm a Mum, a wife, a Psychotherapist, a Clinical Supervisor, a writer, a researcher, a friend, a sibling, and a daughter!

To be honest I reckon I am more than the sum total of all of the above but let's just say the above outlines who I am for the purposes of this exercise.

Living in the now and reflecting on the now is an interesting thought to ponder....

I'm a mother but my daughter is sleeping so my duties in relation to her are emotional rather than physical right now...that is until she wakes me with her smiles, jokes, singing and laughter at what sometimes seems a rather unreasonable hour!

Right back to the NOW. I am sitting typing and reflecting on what is going on for me in the now. I am currently awaiting news from a publisher in Australia. Literally I am due to hear any day now. For those of you who don't know, I have penned a mini series of books focusing on understanding you baby's body language from the minute your baby is born.

Now I wish to speak my truth here...I have two thoughts about this. I am passionate about sharing my exciting news in support of YOU learning all about YOUR baby's body language....of course I am. It was amazing for me so I feel it will be amazing for you too.

I am also feeling hugely excited about the about the potential of a publishing deal which may facilitate access to my exciting early baby communication system - The Blossom Method© across the globe. All of you who know me, know how excited I am about my findings in relation to Baby Body is written into my body!! I won't fill you in on all the detail now as this blog may turn into another mini book!!

Now is also fair to say I am feeling tired and inspired after an afternoon of clinical work. Confused about blogging. Curious about twitter. Positive about home-schooling. And a tad anxious about my very early start tomorrow and finding a parking space in the city!!

So my lovely scribbling mum and others this is a reflection of living in the now dude for me.

PS I am also excited by a very creative blog I have come across and I thought I'd leave the link below. The Monkey Traps Blog is the story of Steve a therapist and his over controlling inner monkey - Bert!! Enjoy!

And most of all spend a minute to 'live in the now dude' and create something that you can reflect upon with your family in years to come!!

Thanks for taking the time to share this with me.

Warmest Viv

Here's the lovely scribbling mums blog.....

Here's Steve and Bert's blog too.......

Saturday, 30 April 2011

A wonderful review of my book manuscript by SUE ATKINS - Parenting Expert

“We all know that babies cry when they’re in distress, and as parents we come to recognise many of our own child’s particular signs and signals, but what if babies are trying to communicate with us at a much deeper level, and because we don’t realise that, we fail to understand them?

In this ground breaking book Vivien Sabel’s exciting and astounding discoveries open up a whole new world to bringing up happy, contented infants through her simple method of Observing, Mirroring, and Responding - The Blossom Method©

This book is exciting because it will take non verbal communication to a new level and challenge us to explore more fully the messages our babies are trying to tell us!

Sue Atkins
Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Best Selling Author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies”

THANK YOU SUE! I can't wait for my book to be published! All the best from a very excited mum!!

Still awaiting news from the publisher

Dear all

I know many of you check in and follow my blog in relation to my book news so here's the latest! Yesterday, I made contact with the publishers. They have asked me to forward some of the photographs taken for my manuscript. So like an eager beaver I have done so! The photographs are truly beautiful and demonstrate some of my baby body language discoveries and findings. The photograph here shows the lovely Cat and Sebastian. Here we see how they mirror each others gaze so beautifully. I have worked with Cat to support her to understand her beautiful baby's body language.

Cat said “Working with Vivien and understanding all about Sebastian’s body language has allowed me to maximise his happiness and minimise his distress. I have been able to understand his body language and in doing so have met his needs before he reaches the crying stage.”

I wish to publicly thank all of of the wonderful Mummys and Daddys I have worked with in writing my book; you have all been a joy to work with and our learning shall never be forgotten!

Warmest wishes to you all for now Vivien

Thoughts on meditation

Well I've been thinking about meditation for years and it's only in recent months I have began to do more than think about it!

My wonderful Psychotherapist (you know who you are!) introduced me to the work of Bodhi Paksa. It always makes me smile when I think about his guided meditations. His work introduces the time poor psychotherapist, mother, father, or busy other to the world of guided meditations for busy people.

I've very much benefited from this and wanted to share this with you.

"To be free from thoughts is itself meditation.
You begin by letting thoughts flow and watching them.
The very observation slows down the mind till it stops altogether.
Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet.
Don't get bored with peace, be in it, and go deeper in it.
Watch your thoughts and watch yourself watching your thoughts.
The sate of freedom from all thoughts will happen suddenly
And by the bliss of it you will recognise it.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj 1973

What's been your experience of meditation?

Warmest wishes Vivien

If I had my child to raise over again.....

A powerful and thought provoking poem.....

If I had my child to raise over again

I'd build self-esteem, and the house later.

I'd finger paint more and finger point less.

I would do less correcting and more connecting.

I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch more with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.

I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.

I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.

I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.

I'd do more hugging and less tugging.

I'd model less about the love of power, and more about the power of love.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Miscarriage & Infant Loss - 10 Things not to say to women following miscarriage and infant loss

I have thought long and hard about writing this post as it is deeply personal. I have met many women who have experienced loss through miscarriage, stillbirth & infant loss. I, too have experienced losses of this nature and I have been met with some thoughtless and in some ways unbelievable comments. I wish to inform others and ask you to respectfully consider carefully how you might respond to women who have miscarried and/or lost their baby. I have created a 10 point list for you to consider. Please think carefully before you greet a mother's loss and please DO NOT say any of the following

Ten things not to say to women after miscarriage or infant loss

1. How many weeks pregnant were you? This is irrelevant and thoughtless. A baby is a baby. And loss is loss.

2. Oh well, it was obviously meant to be. What does this mean? If you lose a baby and a thoughtless person says this it appears to hold an inconsiderate quality that may be experienced as hurtful and insensitive. How can losing a baby be "meant to be?"

3. It was God's will. Some people believe in God and in god's will and others don't. Don't expect all mothers who have lost their infant to feel that God's will is a good enough reason for taking their baby from them.

4. Don't worry you can try again for another baby. Allow the mother to decide when and if she wants to try for another baby. We are not here to suggest to a grieving mother she can try for another baby or that she can replace her 'lost' infant with another. Allow the mother to decide for herself.

5. 'It' wasn't over twelve weeks so 'it' wasn't really a baby. Some people may be surprised to read this but I can tell you from both personal and professional experience that this is still said to mothers following loss.

6. It wasn't your time. What does this mean? Again I have heard this first hand and though my practice. What gives any one other human being the right to tell another "it wasn't your time?" There is no good time to lose a baby. There is no bad time to lose a baby either. A loss needs to be considered and thought about in the way the mother chooses not in any other way.

7. There's no point focusing on what could have been - you need to move on. Yes this is another example of a comment proffered by an unhelpful relative or clinician. Yes, in theory I am all for moving forward but loss of any nature needs to grieved over. Give the mother a chance to heal and move forward when she is ready and NOT WHEN YOU FEEL she ought to be!

8. You'll feel better in no time. Again don't tell people how they feel or indicate when they might feel better. It's pressurising for some to hear words of this nature.

9. Well make the most of your time without babies because once they come.....Frankly this is another thoughtless point to make. We all know when we have children our time with our partners becomes shared with our children. It feels like another insensitive comment to make. It will not be perceived as helpful trust me I know!

10. Finally following stillbirth and late infant loss please DO NOT talk about miscarriage. Women who lose their babies almost full term and then subsequently go on to deliver their babies knowing they are dead inside of them DO NOT consider their loss as miscarriage.

I am asking you to consider the above in support of women, miscarriage and infant loss. I do not profess to have all the answers but I can speak from the heart about the most ridiculous comments made to me following my losses.

I have 2 further things to mention in this blog. Please consider fully the feelings of the partners of the women who have lost their infants. These men and women will be experiencing this loss too. And finally I understand loss for some of you will be difficult but please DO SAY something. In announcing a loss of this nature and being met with a deafening silence is also not the answer.

I hope this blog has given you some concrete ideas about what not to say. I would love to hear your thoughts and your personal stories in response to this. Thank you for taking the time to consider what not to say in relation to miscarriage and infant loss.

Baby Talk more thoughts on Baby Signing

BABY TALK A recent interview and article for your interest

Warmest Vivien

Contracting...the relational supervisor

In contracting with the supervisee I want to encourage open-ness, to promote courage to speak freely, to provide a secure base to explore the difficulties and the counter-transference responses. I will raise with authenticity my countertransference responses, exploring all that is said both verbally and non verbally. The exploration of the most challenging will uncover deep learning and therefore I will encourage analysis of these areas. If I identify problem areas I would want to explore these in depth prior to implementing formal procedures. And finally I would encourage the supervisee to express him or herself in relation to feedback for me.

Feedback from your supervisee is important. Warmest Vivien

Friday, 22 April 2011

Why I established my writing business....

Why I established my writing business………..

As a Child of a Deaf Adult (CoDA), a former British Sign Language Interpreter and a Psychotherapist, I am fascinated and very attuned to the world of the non verbal. My book was born out of my experience of being nurtured by a deaf mother and my findings in relation to my own daughter and the development of our successful early communication system. I have a very important message for all parents. My deep unwavering passion is to share this across the globe.

Warmest Vivien

Do you want to learn more about your baby's body language....if so contact me!

A little more about my mini book………..

My mini book has been described as “an absolute gift to all parents.” I began writing my book in late October 2010 and completed my first draft by January 2011. I am currently writing books two and three in my Baby Body Language series.

In addition to my book writing I am offering my clinical services to parents to learn about their baby’s body language in support of developing an even deeper bond and “even more parenting confidence."

Warmest wishes from a very excited mum!

Love Vivien

Writing - my new business!!

All about my new business………

My new business is writing. Ordinarily nothing to write home about!!! However, my first book in my mini series will support parents across the world to communicate with their babies from the day they are born!

Has this made you “stop dead in your tracks?” I have penned a “terrific” mini book that engages you the reader with some “fascinating and astounding” parenting information. It is the first in a series of mini books in communicating with and understanding baby body language.

I am a first time author and my mini book is aimed at time poor new mums (and dads). Baby Body Language-Your Guide to Communicating with Your Baby From Day One© is a unique guide to understanding and communicating with your infant from the day they experience ‘life outside the womb’. Yes I said day one! I have created a “revolutionary method” named The Blossom Method© and uniquely Tongue-Talking©. In addition to my findings I have worked with other mothers and fathers to support them in developing their skills utilising my findings and methods.

How exciting!!

I'll keep you posted on publishing news.

Warmest from a very excited mum!

A Poem - Reflections - 13th February 2004

Today I feel angry, happy and sad

Full of emotions and some of them bad

I feel half excited and half mad

Crazy in love

Dripping in blood

Battered and beaten

Bitter and sweetened

Physically drained

Emotionally pained

It's all too deep

Affecting my sleep

Tears pour down

Puddles of love

Push and shove

Feel them heartbreaking

Shattering, lonely

Splattering over

Where love lost

And life died

A million tears cried.

A little bit about me, the author, the psychotherapist, the mother....

Vivien Sabel: UKCP Relational Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, Infant Communication Consultant and Mother.

I am a researcher, writer and psychotherapist in full-time practice in North Yorkshire, UK. I have recently written the first in a mini book series in Baby Body Language. The mini book has been globally reviewed by best selling parenting authors, mothers, fathers, professors, psychotherapists, parenting experts, sleep consultants, child psychotherapists, etc. and the reviews have been fantastic. My book is now with a publisher and they are reviewing it for potential publication...exciting times!!

The book content has been described as "ground-breaking, fascinating, astounding, wonderful, insightful, innovative" and much more....

The title of this book is up for debate..any thoughts or suggestions will be considered........

I have Masters equivalent degrees in Integrative Psychotherapy and Psychodynamic Counselling. I have two further Postgraduate Certificates in Clinical Supervision and Management. I studied for my first undergraduate degree in Deaf Studies (and Sign Language Interpreting) and originally graduated in 1996.

Although I am hearing, I am fluent in British Sign Language (BSL) and formerly trained (University of Bristol) and registered as a Trainee BSL Interpreter. My mother is profoundly deaf and uses Lip-reading as an aid to communication. As a result of my upbringing and nurturing with deafness, I consider myself to be fluent in the language of the body and non-verbal communication. In my clinical practice I utilise this to great affect where I address the incongruence between non-verbal and verbal utterances in support of my clients deepening of their own self understanding and awareness.

Please get in touch if you would like me to write for you or provide you with some expertise! Warmest Vivien