What the Heck Is “The Adrienne Process”?
2/12/19 Interview with Adrienne Murphy, Speech-Language Pathologist, MA CCC-SLP
I had the pleasure to interview and learn from Adrienne Murphy, MA CCC-SLP, a veteran speech-language pathologist of 23 years, certified yoga instructor, and the creator of her own treatment methodology called “The Adrienne Process.”
Her insights are applicable for any of us and especially parents of children with sensory sensitivities.
Amy: What is the Adrienne Process and why did you create it?
Adrienne: The Adrienne Process is an integrative therapeutic process that was created out of my work as a speech pathologist with hundreds of children with multiple issues over the last 23 years and out of my work helping my own young adult son navigate his own challenges while growing up. My first name is used as an acronym to highlight the important points of this process.
Amy: Let’s look at each letter.
A is for Attract.
I believe in the Law of Attraction that states that you have to change your thoughts and energy to create a life that you truly want. What kind of life do you want to attract for you and your child? Do you want a life of joy? Ease? Happiness? Do you want to end drama, struggle, or conflict? ““A”” is a very important piece of the Adrienne Process because we all are capable of attracting the type of life that we truly want.
D is for Desire.
What is it that you as a parent desire for yourself, for your child and for your family? Do you desire harmony in the home? Do you desire work-life balance? Or do you desire what society determines are the measures of success and accomplishment? Do you desire to be seen and heard for what you truly believe or do you desire conformity? Do you believe in hope or in despair? What you truly desire will manifest in the therapeutic process with your child.
What I have learned as a parent and therapist is that negative core beliefs and patterns continue to show up until we start paying attention! It is up to each and every one of us to figure out what these unconscious core beliefs and patterns are so that they don’t continue creating havoc in our own personal lives and that of our child’s.
For example, with my own son. I was truly fearful that his issues would never get better! I had to release that fear and replace it with hope that I would find the right professionals to help him. Once I allowed hope to be the unconscious driving force instead of fear, I was open to receiving the miracles of being led to the right professionals and holistic therapies that helped my son’s issues tremendously!
Amy: Why did your son need this assistance?
Adrienne: My son is now twenty-one and a senior in college. To protect the privacy of his health information, I can only tell you that he had very specific medical, behavioral, social-emotional and learning challenges while growing up. These challenges will always be a part of who he is but he has learned to navigate these challenges successfully in order to thrive at college without any outside intervention. This is why The Adrienne Process has been so successful!..
R is for Realize.
It is important to realize that all children are whole, perfect and complete … not broken, despite their challenges. No one is broken. This principle draws on yogic philosophy. Realize that your child is perfectly imperfect and keep telling him/her, “It’s OK to be me..” Appreciate and give thanks for your child’s presence in your life.
I is for Intent.
This is one of the most crucial pieces of The Adrienne Process. Intentions are not resolutions. They have focus and belief. What is it that you choose to put your focus on in a powerful, life-affirming way? Do you intend for your child to finish high school? Do you intend to be a happy,, well-balanced parent? Do you intend to create harmony in the home? Intention is the focused awareness of what it is you want to create.
Amy: What worked for you and your son to feel more balanced?
Adrienne: Grounding and conscious breathing practices. What literally worked for us is to drop down to the floor and lie down. When my son was little, we would pretend that the floor was a soft magic carpet just floating us along as we would play an imaginary game of what we could see and what our dreams were for the day. Since I am a yoga teacher, I trained my son to notice his breath and use certain breathing practices to quiet his mind and relax his body.
Amy: How long did you notice your breath together?
Adrienne: Maybe 5 minutes. I taught him how to time his breath when inhaling and exhaling (e.g., inhale on a count of 3 and exhale on a count of 4).
E is for Engage.
I love this one because most parents do not know how to engage their child. This is really, really tricky for any parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder. This is where my speech pathology background comes in. You want to engage your child in whatever modality he/she responds. I have found music to be engaging. You can use play, in particular parallel play, and wait to see if he/she lets you join in.
N is for Notice.
I tell parents to notice more and react less. Notice the positive aspects of your child. You may happen to notice all the negative behaviors more than the positive ones. If this happens, remind yourself to find the positive aspects of your child’s essence.
When you become the observer and simply notice, you become less emotionally charged and are less likely to react in a negative way that could create harm. Notice how you are feeling about your child’s behavior and if you notice a negative feeling in yourself, such as anger or fear. Try to take a step back or what I like to call a “cool down moment.”. Do this within a reasonable distance where you still can keep an eye on your child’s safety.
When you start to become the observer or the witness, your child will sense the shift in your energy and will calm down just by virtue of the fact that you have shifted into a place of non-reactivity.
Amy: How would you make the jump from reacting to noticing?
Anticipate that certain stimuli may trigger your child. Anticipate if your child is hungry and it’s been about 5 hours since your child ate when you are about to go on an errand. And then triage appropriately. It takes lots of practice. Start with small baby steps. Don’t start at a mall or a family gathering, start at home. Start noticing when you don’t feel rushed or have any other outside pressures or deadlines to fulfill.
N is for Nuances.
This flows from Notice. You want to notice the subtleties or nuances of both the positive and negative aspects of your child’s behavior. Why is this or that happening? When does this usually happen? What events/stimuli are the triggers? For a child who is non-verbal or who has an autism spectrum disorder, I have discovered that it is really hard for some parents to notice these subtleties. But, with conscious awareness and practice, parents do discover these nuances rather quickly
E is for Execute.
Execute this action plan called The Adrienne Process consistently. The more you can do this on a regular daily basis, I guarantee you, your child and your family will be happier for it. Not only will it help your child’s developmental growth, but also it will help facilitate harmony, peace, acceptance and joy. And isn’t that what life is all about?
Believe me, we all get bogged down and forget to do the little things on a daily basis. As a working professional mom, I get it! But, I do know how important parent involvement is in the implementation of any developmental strategy. You just don’t see the progress without parent involvement.
Amy: It sounds like you are advocating that therapy mainly should be a way to train parents.
Adrienne: Yes, in many cases, especially in the development of early childhood language skills. There certainly needs to be consistency of care – a point where parents can take over the reins after being educated and coached. So, my role has evolved into that of a teacher, guide, or coach cheering parents on and educating them in the use of very specific strategies targeted for their particular child.
Amy: If parents and therapists adopted The Adrienne Process, could this put speech therapists out of business?
Not necessarily. I think the frequency and duration of using speech therapy over a particular period of time would decrease but I don’t think that you could eliminate a profession that aims to use very specific therapeutic strategies for a particular child’s weaknesses in the areas of speech, communication, play and feeding skills. What “The Adrienne Process” aims to do is to empower parents in the use of particular strategies to help their child achieve treatment goals more quickly reducing the need to have speech therapy over the long haul.
Amy: Is it accurate that The Adrienne Process is also more dynamic because it takes into consideration the “nuances” of human interactions and needs?
Adrienne: Yes, it certainly is!. I attribute the dynamism to greater parent involvement.
I think this is how our healthcare system is evolving now. I believe that we are all “captains of our own ships.”. No one doctor or one professional should be given the “authority” to make all the decisions when it comes to a person’s healthcare. By viewing healthcare as a more team-centered collaborative effort, we retain our own personal power to make the best decisions possible drawing on the input from all members of the group. This idea translates to our kids as well. Parents need to be actively involved in the therapeutic process for their child. Parents who are intimately involved in their child’s care do experience more favorable outcomes on a consistent basis. And yes, I love the interchangeability of The Adrienne Process with “Active Participant” equals “Active Parent.”. Thank you for helping me realize that, Amy!
It was a pleasure speaking with you today!
Adrienne Murphy, MA CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist, registered yoga teacher, published author, and singer/songwriter. She will be recording and launching a music album, “Heartsongs of the Rainbow” for the special needs community this March 2019 in collaboration with The Brothers Koren. Her website is www.theadrienneprocess.com and her email address is email@example.com
You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram: @theadrienneprocess
AP = Active Participant = Adrienne Process = Active Parents