One of the biggest aspects of self-help is most certainly safety and it’s opposite, danger.
A huge chunk of psychiatry is taken up with the manifestations of this issue – anxiety, phobias, worry, self-confidence issues, paranoias, anger, violence.
A patient of mine gave me the trememdous gift of introducing me to a man who specializes in helping people living in anxiety and fear.
For those of you like me who hadn’t heard of Gavin de Becker before, he is an American specialist in security issues, especially for governments, corporations, and celebrities, and yet his core message is very much for individuals in our everyday life.
When he was 10 Gavin de Becker watched his mother shoot his stepfather while his 2-year-old sister slept in her bedroom. When he was 16, his mother, a heroin addict, killed herself. Violence and things to fear has been an integral part of his life, and his work.
I was first given his book “Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (And Parents Sane)” which was more meaningful for the fact that I have 3 young children of my own…
A generation ago, in Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, Benjamin Spock told parents that they already possessed most of the important knowledge about their children’s health. Similarly, when it comes to predicting violence and protecting children, I submit that you already know most of what you need to know.
You have the wisdom of the species, and the expert voice that matters most is yours. Yet, society has trained us to believe that we don’t know the answers, that professionals know what’s best and that good parents listen to them. As a result, we have come to believe that we will find certainty outside ourselves. We won’t, of course, but we can find the illusion of certainty, particularly if that’s what we’re willing to settle for.
-Dr Martin Russell