Some interesting thoughts from an NPR article about the implications of what we are beginning to learn about mirror neurons for one’s capacity to empathize. When teaching CPS to adults, we find that the more one surrenders a “power over” mentality, the easier it becomes to experience true empathy.
Empathy may be the most important component of CPS – both by looking at the child’s challenging behavior through a more empathic lens and through the use of empathy in the problem solving process. There is a reason the first ingredient of Plan B is still called Empathy!
The ingredients of Plan B may be the most powerful method for training empathy which may be the hardest skill to teach. In the first ingredient, the adult models it. Immediately thereafter the adult asks the child in the second ingredient to try it themselves. If the child gets stuck (likely because empathy isn’t their strong suit just yet), the adult returns to first ingredient to again model empathy and reassure the child before asking the child to attempt it again. When this recursive process happens repeatedly, both adult and child are repeatedly practicing empathy all within a relational context with emotional resonance. Pretty cool!