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A Child's Mind | Documentary Idea

by Vera Rabie
(Toronto, Canada)

This documentary idea involves a unique treatment method for youth and children who are experiencing family problems. The idea is a half-hour program which condenses about six hour-long sessions with a family that has a child in trouble. The problem can range from oppositionalism to poor school performance to depression, anxiety disorders, delinquency or even suicide threats.


Therapist(T) will meet with all family members together first. There is dialogue and questions with everyone. Interspersed throughout all the sessions are breaks during which the T explains what she is looking for and trying to diagnose. Specifically she is looking for the distribution of love in the family - that is, which of the 2 parents is the more loving one, of which there is only one in every family (think of your own more loving parent). Secondly she is looking for which of the children is more connected with the parents, and looking to delineate the pattern of love that is directed toward the children, that is, which children are more loved, and which one(s) are less loved. This process usually takes about two one-hour sessions to determine.

Next, the T decides on the best way to go about re-structuring the patterns of love in the family. At this point she may choose to see any combination of people in the family, such as a session with the child in trouble and one of the parents, the parents alone, the children together, the problem child alone, etc.

Finally, in a discreet and gentle way the essential problem of distribution of love is unearthed and identified and worked on with whoever is involved. Again, she may choose to treat the family as a whole for part of a session, as well as various combinations of people such as a parent and child, the parents alone, the children alone, etc.

As a result of this type of focused intervention, the anxieties, angers and depression in the child in question dissipate and the problem invariably fades away. That is, a child who was acting out stops acting out, an adolescent who was defiant and non-compliant becomes more docile and one who was threatening suicide, anieties, depression or otherwise displaying bizarre behavior stops doing so.

As a Doctor of Psychology I have performed the above protocol in numerous instances, with great success. My methods are new, unique, and regarded as somewhat radical in my field, but I rarely fail to understand and unravel a problem situation in a family with a child in trouble because I understand the way that the mind of a child works. I am the author of a book titled: They Love You, They Love Me Not: The Truth About the Family Favorite and Sibling Rivalry, published by HarperCollins 1995, in the US in 1999 and in Brazil in 2000. It explains the way a child thinks, which is entirely different from the way that adults think, a fact that creates an enormous problems in our dealings with children and has led to the unfortunate alienation of countless of our youth in privileged countries.

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Oct 03, 2012
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sensitivity with families
by: Desktop Documentaries

Thank you Dr. Rabie for your documentary idea. Sounds like you are doing very interesting and important work. In your experience, would families be willing to allow a camera to follow them through this very sensitive process? Have you ever documented any of your cases on video? (set up a camera in the room during your sessions?) Thanks again.

Oct 03, 2012
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Will parents consent to filming sensitive family problems with their children
by: Vera Rabie

Yes I have filmed sessions, but the film quality was not good as I did it alone. Consent forms were signed and in exchange there was no charge for the treatment. You may know of a TV program called "Supernanny" that is filmed in the home of the problem family. In my case all 6 to 8 interviews take place in my office. Each session is one hour long and they are one week apart, to permit emotions to catch up with the changes. There is a waiting area outside the treatment room where those who are not currently being seen sit and wait, and whomever I want to talk to is called in. As I said I aim to diagnose who is the main love providing parent, as opposed to the other, who may be more strict, more demanding, disciplinarian, or more emotionally detached. From there I try to determine the problem child's placement in the circles of love in the family, and proceed to attempt to patch up the deficiencies from the child's point of view. It may be that the child feels discriminated or undermined in the family, and that the parents' attentions can be re-directed. But maybe not. Sure, some parents are resistant to the suggestions made and continue to insist that the problem lies with the misbehaving child. You are quite correct that it is very highly sensitive material, but when it is explained to them that the likelihood of overcoming the problem is quite high, that there is no cost, no medication to be dispensed and probably no significant waiting period, the parents often consent to being filmed.

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