Max is only 4 years old, but quite advanced for his age. He came with a «crappy» problem that is surprisingly common, yet, for understandable reasons, you don’t hear a lot of parents talking about it.
The parents of this adorable little guy came for session looking to eliminate his fear of doing number two on the toilet. Since he was 2 years old, he had suffered from constipation. A single painful event can trigger a fear, that then develops over time.
Before mindTV they had tried different remedies, osteopathy and a full year of therapy with a psychologist. They were clearly frustrated, that up to this point, nothing had worked.
Younger children have a limited attention span, so in the first session we worked with a few simple visualization techniques. He was told to imagine a «tummy slide» inside himself. At the top was his Ferrari poo-poo, wearing a bright red helmet and ready to speed down the slide. When asked, if sliding is fun when someone is always holding you back, he paused for a moment. Slowly, he began seeing things from a different angle.
In the second session, we focused more on his fear of pain. He described it as a red, white and brown lump in his stomach. When asked to remove it, Max began blocking. So, it was time to try something different. He always came to session with his four favorite action figures:
Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America and Thor.
Spiderman was directly asked, if he also had this fear of going to the toilet. Of course not, Spiderman said. Fears are silly. Spiderman said he wasn’t afraid of anything. Max again paused and thought about it. This triggered his pride. So finally, he allowed Spiderman to help him remove the lump in his stomach. Max closed his eyes and saw Spiderman shoot his web at the lump, pull it out and crush it.
Max’s mom reported progress. He had used the toilet for the first time in months after the second session.
In the third session, we had to work through his final remaining issue. Max referred to it as a door in his backside. A door that was jammed shut. And stuck. His fear of the pain remained strong and so he blocked again. He knew where it was going, when he was supposed to visualize his door opening, and refused to do so.
We continued with a simple question: What would happen, if in his own home, nobody would take out the trash, ever? Max got the point. He understood, that the door would need to be opened, but the fear of the pain kept him from moving forward. Turning once again to his action figures, this time Hulk, proved to be key. Could Hulk’s green color maybe also be due to a closed door? Max jumped up from his chair, took Hulk and said to him: «But Hulk, you are strong and courageous! »
Max then helped Hulk open his door. He told Hulk, how strong he was and that he could do it. Hulk did it, and said he felt a lot better. In turn, Hulk now offered to help Max. Max closed his eyes and imagined Hulk using his strength to open the jammed door in his backside. It worked.
This remarkable story shows how visualization can be used in combination with toys and how even younger children can have their perception changed. It requires knowing the child’s interests and the ability to use their imagination, to change the way they see things.