ReParentive™: the term is a hybrid of two therapeutic concepts: reparative (adj) and reparent (v) and includes the concept of reparations. This approach has roots in therapeutic modalities that prioritize embodiment, mindfulness, liberation, and social justice; it is non-hierarchical and non-pathologizing.
ReParentive Therapy is an active process of making up for past wrongs. It provides the opportunity for the client to receive what they never got, without disempowering them, infantilizing, or creating problematic attachment or reenactment. The therapist acts as a repairing parent (thus the term), who can make reparations to the client’s child self and encourages the adult child to take in the available, safe nourishment so that they can begin to shift their internal sense of what is possible, and let the new options impact their sense of self.
Reparentive Therapy is an intergenerational trauma healing model that encompasses three main elements: 1) an emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, 2) an emphasis on providing the group member/client with a missing experience, and 3) the use of the therapist’s own stable, regulated nervous system as an interactive, dyadic regulator of the group member/client’s nervous system, which supports the experience of secure attachment.
Reparentive Therapy requires the therapist to embody the characteristics and qualities that provide the adult child of a parent with Borderline Personality Disorder or with longstanding attachment issues, (emotional dysregulation, distress tolerance), with a missing, reparative, relational experience. In this model the therapist learns how to be a predictable and reliable source of support and to effectively, consistently, and non-defensively show up for relational interactions and provide repair.
The qualities that are cultivated in the therapist / group leader include transparency, humility, and authenticity. The therapist needs to provide both empathic relational connection and clear, consistent boundaries, while simultaneously supporting the clients’ experience of autonomy and choice. The therapist, unlike the parent with BPD, celebrates the clients’ success and reinforces their sense of agency and individuation. An emphasis is placed on accepting imperfection with grace and compassion and highlighting the reality that human beings are messy and mistakes are a natural part of being human, especially in relationship!