Siblings of Special Needs Children

Dealing with the emotional issues for siblings of can be very demanding. I have seen many problems arise in this group of children, and those problems can persist far beyond childhood. One middle-aged woman in my practice had been plagued since childhood with both anger and guilt around her special needs brother.

Although the siblings of special needs people have opportunities to mature and can develop compassion far beyond their years, many grow up resenting the attention, time, and love that a special needs person gets from parents or guardians. These siblings need as much emotional work as the special needs child does. Looking at the overall health of all your children is, obviously, essential. But in a family with a special needs child, it is even more important.

While psychotherapy is very worthwhile for a neurotypical child, there is no doubt that memory and emotion are held in the cellular structure of our body and that emotions are mediated in part by the nervous system. Circulating neuropeptides, which play a large role in our emotional moods, are found in the brain and the bloodstream. The book, The Molecules of Emotion, by award-winning scientist Candace Pert, describes her discovery of this extraordinary process. Because of this relationship between our emotions and our bodies, a physically- and emotionally-based treatment is appropriate and can be very therapeutic. The techniques I employ, such as body work and Energy Psychology help release resentment, guilt, grief, and the feeling of being the "unloved" one.

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