Articles, Caroline Sutherland

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Relaxation Therapy for Children

By: Caroline Sutherland

Every one of us has natural gifts that reside within. Many years ago, I took a series of courses in relaxation therapy and guided imagery. It turned out that despite the fact that I am a high energy person, I had an innate gift to be able to use imagery and relaxation therapy quite effectively with adults and children.

Over the years, I developed this ability into a relaxation therapy practice where I specialized in individual therapy tapes that were designed to motivate, inspire and help people to achieve their goals.

During this time, a pediatric neuropsychologist found out about my work and referred many of her young patients to me who were coping with head injuries, burns and assorted traumas.
It was a joy and a privilege to meet with the parents and their children and to craft these individualized audio programs which contained images that were meaningful for them.
Imagine being able to soothe a child with their own audio program, specifically scripted with their favorite dog's name or stuffed toy mentioned in the script?
These audio programs were powerfully healing and a great help to a suffering child.

An 11 year old girl who was brought to me because she had stopped growing. Perhaps guided imagery could provide a solution?
Despite all the medical attention and prescriptions, her body just stopped growing. It turned out that her sister whom she adored had died 2 years previously and the shock of this loss affected her growth. Never underestimate the healing power of a mother's voice and the receptivity of a child's heart and mind. The magic ingredient was love.

Within days this little girl was more outgoing and positive and within a month she had grown an inch - plus she was sleeping better. Of course the doctors said it was the medicine but her family and I knew that the healing power of her mind had been harnessed - guided imagery and a change in belief had moved her from grief into life.

The next step was to take the story/music concept out into the world. The idea came to me to create a set of generic audio programs that that could be available to every child everywhere.
I had a very graphic dream in the fall of 1987 where I saw children crying. Then as if coming down from heaven, little hands reached up to grasp cuddly angel dolls that floated down from the clouds. The children hugged the angel dolls and stopped crying. I also saw that each doll came with a CD - one of each of the problems that today's children face.

At that moment, was born.

Like the line in the film, A Field of Dreams, "if you build it they will come" I got started.
How the angel doll project came to fruition is a story that is so intertwined in my life it would take a whole book to tell it!
But I will say, the project got off the ground in 1990 and has been going ever since.

Angels and story/music CD's have helped children all over the world - they have gone to Oklahoma City, Dunblane Scotland, the California Earthquakes and floods and disasters in several countries. They are recommended by therapists and parents as a wonderful way to calm and reassure any child at bedtime - whether sick or perfectly well.

A few years ago at Christmas time, a woman drove up to my office and asked for an angel doll set. She wanted to take it to a little girl in the hospital who was dying of cancer.
I found out later, from her mother, that the little girl had died with the angel doll in her arms and the audio tape playing in the recorder.
"It was the only thing that would calm her in those last few days - we played it constantly, the mother said. After she died, I disposed of most of my daughter's possessions but I just couldn't part with the tape because of its' close connection to my daughter. And Caroline, I want you to know that this year, your angel doll is the angel on our Christmas tree."

When you are given a creative endeavor, do all that you can to bring it to fruition - you never know what the outcome will be and how many lives it will touch. Sure there may be challenges and setbacks but the rewards are many. This is your soul's gift to the world.

If you, your child or grandchild would like to experience the healing power of the angels and CD's there are four titles to choose from:

My Little Angel Tells Me I'm Special - helps any child to get to sleep and build self esteem
My Little Angel Helps Me and My Family - Helps children to get to sleep and comforts them during a divorce or separation.
My Little Angel Helps Me in The Hospital - helps children to get to sleep and comforts and reassures them during hospitalization or surgical procedures.
My Little Angel Loves Me - helps children to feel peaceful and safe at bedtime and is especially scripted to heal a child or an adult who has been abused or traumatized.

All of the CD's are healing and positive and they are filled with beautiful music. They do not contain any negative wording or the words divorce, abuse or hospitalization.
Each set comes with a cuddly heart-shaped angel, a CD and an interactive storybook. Sets sell for $24.95
Ages: toddler to about 8 years old - teens love them too!

If you know a child whose little heart needs healing, then this is very special. This is also powerful therapy for the adult "inner child."
If you are connected to a parent's group or a parent's chat room, I would be most grateful if you could spread the word about angels4kids.

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