Automatic or Manual?

By Landon Kirk | Added February 10

I am currently in Boston attending a great conference on trauma/attachment. Just yesterday, since I was in the area, I took a stroll through the famous Boston Commons trying to get a photograph of an old tree. Presumably, this tree, much like the rest of this old city, has a great history and the backdrop of the famous Frog Pond, filled with ice skaters this time of year, looked like a good February-in-Massachusetts-photo. As I was trying to focus in on the old stump my camera would not click.  I tried pushing the button over and over with no luck. Finally, after I switched the lens to manual, my camera focused in on what I wanted instead of what it automatically wanted. 

Like cameras, each of us has a lens of life. Most likely we would rather click and shoot through automatic mode in our assessments, instead of switching to manual and taking the extra time to capture the bigger picture right in front of us.

Todays conference, put on by the great folks at Devereux and Klingberg, drove home yesterdays photography lesson.  Most of the time we all need to change our lens when dealing with traumatized children and teens to This child is likely doing the best s/he can.  His/her symptoms are adaptations.  Instead of dumping theoretical and therapeutic jargon by way of explanation, I will leave the value of this post with that straightforward and simple charge.  I will clarify more next time but until then, adjust your lens.  Please e-mail me or reply to this blog with your experiences or questions until then. 

About the Author

Landon Kirk, MSW, LCSW Owner, Co-Founder and CEO

Landon has devoted most of the past 18 years working with families and teens. During graduate school, Landon became immersed in the world of adoption and attachment and this became a personal and professional passion of his. Following the completion of his MSW degree in 2003, Landon began working in an adoption agency where his responsibilities were divided between therapy, birth parent and adoptive couple work. Specifically, Landon worked with birth parents struggling with the option to marry, single-parent, or place their child for adoption and provided counseling and resources to help them make their important decision. An adoptive parent of three children himself, Landon also counseled, approved, and placed prospective adoptive families with children. Landon feels very close to many adoptive parents and the shared issues of infertility, longing to have children, and post-adoption issues. In December of 2005, Landon joined West Ridge Academy as a full-time therapist. Within six months he was promoted as the Campus Administrator allowing him to lead all residential employees towards effective treatment practices. In January of 2007, Landon was hired as the Clinical Director and Chief Operations Officer (COO) for CALO. In May of 2012 Landon moved into the role of Chief Clinical Officer (CCO). This position permits Landon to lead CALO Directors and employees responsible for the care and treatment of students in Residential, Recreation Therapy, Canine, Academics, Nursing and Clinical towards cohesiveness and clinical integrity. Landon is originally from Jacksonville, Florida and enjoys many sports and outdoor recreation including football, tennis, basketball, golf, camping, hiking, and fly-fishing. Top on his list of interests is spending time with his wife Jill and their three children (Tanner, Kambrie, and Bryelle). The Kirk's reside in Osage Beach, Missouri.

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