Do you work with All the Stars Above?
Do you have an experience you would like to share?
We love to hear your experiences!
Kim Huysmans, psychologist, works in an organisation for clients with autism and also has a private practice in Retie, Belgium.
“In December 2008 I attended the introductory workshop for ‘All the Stars Above’ and I am very enthusiastic about this tool. That’s why I would like to share my experiences.”
Kim made some adjustments, with respect to her clients who have autism:
- a time limit was set, depending on the amount of tension the client could deal with
- the 'tears' became ‘coloured counters’ because ‘tears’ required too much imagination
- a few cards were taken out of the tray because they were too difficult, considering the imaginative ability of the client
- the plastic folder to save questions (when you don’t know the answer immediately) was also taken out
The case of Sandy
Sandy is 27 years old. Her father died of cancer. She is an only child. Sandy has autism and is mentally challenged.
First individual sessions with Sandy
- a lot of items (cremation, memories) were discussed, via these items I (Kim) got to know a lot of things in a short time.
- the assignments made it light-hearted and playful
- we are working on this item in a safe environment
Session with Mother and Sandy
Mother has had a new partner for a while. Sandy didn’t like that but didn’t talk about it.
During All the Stars Above the mother received the question: “Do you think about * often?”
(* = a star sign, symbolising the deceased. Clients are asked to name the deceased to make it more personal).
Mother answered: “Every day.” Sandy responded very rudely, saying: “Yes sure, now Bert is in your life.” Mother explained that she missed her husband every single day, and that hadn’t become less since Bert had been in her life.
For Sandy this was a great relief. During an individual session she visualised this by making a heart with names of people in her life she liked to see, and names of people who died having a place in her heart.
"Thanks to the question a lot of tension and miscommunication was revealed.
With this example I want to demonstrate that with the use of All the Stars Above, a lot of vagueness and tension that are difficult to discuss because of her problems communicating (as a result of the autism), can be solved."
The case of Steve
Steve is 49 years old, his father died a few years ago.
Steve has autism and is mentally challenged. He lives in a home for mentally challenged people and for people with autism. In this home Steve has several fulltime caregivers, one of them is Katy.
Session with Steve and caregiver Katy (Kim is present as confidante and helper for Steve)
Steve did not have a good connection with his caregiver Katy; he did not trust her. During the session with All the Stars Above, Steve and Katy both played and answered questions, but Steve liked playing so much that he wanted to roll the die and answer the questions himself. We decided to go with him (for people with autism it is more difficult to learn from experiences others have had) and from that moment Katy only passed the cards to Steve. I asked deeper questions.
Steve’s dad is dead and in his imagination his father has a little hole in heaven. He can watch Steve through this hole. He cannot hear Steve; he can only see him. Steve would also like to have such a hole when he dies.
"We deliberately chose to do this session with Katy as game leader so that Steve would feel more comfortable with Katy. And this was achieved. At the end of the session he asked her to accompany him to his room. And since then he has found more confidence and feels safer in connecting with Katy.