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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.......