Lions and Tigers and Auras, Oh My!

A few months ago Jack started seeing an intern therapist, D, who is supervised by a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MR.  MR was recommended to us by a friend and has a ton of experience working with kids. We see her intern because she operates on a sliding scale and is much more affordable (since this is not covered by insurance – our HMO insurance has very limited mental health services).

So Jack meets with D every week, who then discusses his case with MR and gets signed off for her internship hours. Jack loves D and it seems like therapy in general has been really helpful to him. He told me just this week that when he got in trouble at school recently, he decided he wouldn’t punish himself and instead would sit with his feelings about it! This is HUGE.

Anyway, David took Jack to his regularly scheduled therapy appointment this week. When they got there, MR was in the waiting room and she asked, “Jack, can you see colors around me?” Jack said yes and identified two colors. MR looked at David and said she would explain more after Jack left the room. So Jack went into the office with D for his therapy session, and MR proceeded to tell David that Jack is a very special kid, has a rare ability to see auras/chakras, and that he was put on this earth for a purpose. She said she could refer us to an Intuitive who could teach Jack how to handle these abilities.

AURAS? An Intuitive? Whaaaaa? *blink blink*

What is your reaction? Ours was utter shock. We aren’t spiritual in the least and this is way out of our comfort zone!

Later that night, I casually asked Jack a bit about it (I didn’t want to make him feel weird about it OR steer the conversation) and he said he does see colors around people – but not all people. He said he didn’t know what it meant, although he said that he saw blue and green around me and that he thought that green probably meant I was interested in what other people are interested in. I asked if he’d ever talked to anybody about this before and he said no – not until yesterday when he talked to D about it. I don’t know if she brought it up or if it was on his mind because MR had asked that question.

David and I are struggling with this whole thing and are VERY skeptical. I personally don’t like the idea of taking Jack to see an Intuitive – that doesn’t seem right at 7 years old! Even if I didn’t doubt that it would be helpful, it’s definitely a spiritual approach and I want him to be old enough to think critically about these matters before he receives any sort of instruction on them. We treat religion in the same manner – beliefs are very personal and I’d like Jack to develop those on his own (as much as possible) when he is more mature and not as susceptible to suggestion.

We don’t necessarily think we should just change therapists, though – he is helped quite a bit by D and after seeing her for two months or so now, he’s developed trust and is opening up to her more. If we changed therapists that process would need to be restarted. Plus, we don’t even know if D shares this line of thinking or if it’s something she would discuss in her therapy sessions with Jack.

ne thought David and I had is that if, in fact, Jack DOES see colors, there is another possible explanation (a scientific explanation) that makes more sense to us. Jack is clearly an emotional and sensitive kid, and there is no doubt he is intuitive, as well. There is something called Emotional Synesthesia, where a person’s neurological system is wired so that their senses are crossed – and that causes a person to perceive colors when they have an emotional response to something or someone. The research on synesthesia, especially on that specific type, is still very new, and from what I can see there aren’t resources for it as of yet – just studies to validate that it’s real and trying to figure out what it means and why it occurs.

I also don’t know that it matters whether he has this or not! It doesn’t seem to be a problem for him (unless that is why he has such a difficult time dealing with other kids at school getting in trouble and his teacher being in a bad mood). There doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it other than to be accepting. And maybe nothing needs to be done – maybe this is just a special ability that makes Jack extra awesome. ‘Cause we all know Jack is awesome!

Regardless of her years of experience in therapy, MR could be completely full of crap. Or she could be interpreting something that is actually a neurological condition in a spiritual way, rather than a scientific one. Maybe (BIG MAYBE), auras exist and Jack can see them and an Intuitive can help him leverage that ability. I really don’t know.

This is such a strange situation for us and we still haven’t gotten over the initial “Whaaaaa?” reaction. I mean, is this real life? As much as we love science fiction and fantasy, this feels a little too surreal for us.

I would love, love, love to hear additional perspectives on this! What would YOU do if your child’s therapist told you that he/she has a special ability and recommended a completely foreign path to explore it? Especially if your child says he has this ability, as well? Would you explore a spiritual situation for your child that differs wildly from your own?

13 thoughts on “Lions and Tigers and Auras, Oh My!”

  1. I would ABSOLUTELY explore those situations. I can feel other people’s energy around me. I am an empath as you know. I feel those colors, even though I don’t see them. And I have much reason to believe henry does as well. He’s never said it, but I know it. I would open your heart to it and make it known to both MR and the Intuitive that you don’t want him told what he needs to believe or see, but how to DEAL with those things. For me, learning ways to separate myself from other people’s energy was life-saving. Being close to others with “high frequency” was too much and made me feel like I was having a heart attack. Still does sometimes. And I say this as a God-believing, practicing Christian. My Grandmother was the same way. It is a gift. But, as in Jack’s case at the moment, can sometimes be a curse. Help him learn to deal with those things. He’s a special boy, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be Mr. Cleo on the home shopping network 🙂 Love you…

    1. So, I definitely want him to learn how to deal with being a “mood sponge” – this is something I have struggled with and haven’t effectively learned how to control (other than through avoidance). But I think I would feel more comfortable if he were to learn that in a therapy environment rather than through an Intuitive.

  2. I’m feeling all “Whaaaaa?” about it, too.

    I guess I wonder if it was something he had mentioned to either of them before. If he had, it would be more like he was leading the situation, and then for the therapist to follow up on it might make sense. But if not, it just feels like she is projecting her own stuff onto him. I don’t know. I feel like it could be a big distraction from the reasons you are taking him there, and that worries me. But I’m excited to hear that he is doing so well with them, so I totally understand not wanting to change anything up. At the very least, it would be a great idea for you to have an appointment with both the therapist and the intern to discuss your feelings about the whole situation.

    Synesthesia is something I have heard of before, but I don’t know much about it.

    1. I am going to meet with both of them on Monday and see if I can get some more information on how this thought process came about! I think it’s tied into the reasons he is going there – dealing with emotions (his own and others’) – I’m just not comfortable with the direction suggested for handling it. I need to find out if they are unable to help him at the level he needs or what.

      I did write to my old therapist to get his take on the situation. He believes in auras, too! So that didn’t really clear things up for me. 😛

  3. I would be skeptical about all of this — there’s no real evidence that auras or anything like that are real. However, kids can be very willing to go along with things, especially if it’s for an adult they want to please; consider the leading way Jack was asked about this to begin with. Maybe there’s something he’s experiencing (whether it’s emotional synesthesia or something else) and maybe he just agreed to what a trusted and liked adult was suggesting.

    I would not take him to some Intuitive or anything of the sort; again, there’s no evidence for the things they’re talking about to be true, but we do have a lot of evidence that people have made good money off of untrue ideas. Especially if this is something Jack is saying because he thinks he’s supposed to, also, it would just reinforce that idea for him.

    As I commented earlier, I am not a parent, so take all of this with that in mind. But I do remember being a little kid who wanted to be special, and who was desperate for some form of control over things which were (especially as a child!) beyond my control. This may or may not be something Jack is feeling too, but if it is, magical-type thinking can be related to that. The thing is, he IS a special awesome kid, and he doesn’t need for this one thing to be Real for his specialness to be true.

  4. I have synesthesia. I “see” sounds & smells, sometimes. When I was a kid, I thought it meant I was crazy. I didn’t know it was a real thing, with a nerobiological explanation, until I was an adult. I don’t think an “intuitive” is going to help, much like tarot cards or palmistry wouldn’t help. But explaining the science might. Highly sensitive people & people with ADHD (I’m both) are more likely to also have sne form of synesthesia. Jack is highly sensitive, it makes sense his wires would be crossed this way. Help him make sense of the biology of it, but leave the mystical new age woo nonsense to the old school hippies in the Haight.

    1. Thank you – I was hoping to hear from someone who had experience with synesthesia!! Wasn’t sure if I knew anyone. I have weird emotional ties to things (clothing and food – I have to be in the right mood to eat or wear certain things) but I’ve always considered this to to just be a quirk of mine and not really anything that needs ‘treatment.’ I don’t know if Jack’s sensitivities to things are deeper and if he needs more support for it, though.

      I’ve been trying to read a lot on synesthesia but it seems very complex to me and difficult to explain. Do you mostly ignore it or do you find it helpful in some way?

      1. I mostly ignore it, because it doesn’t help in any real way. Shattering glass is red & spiky, a snare drum on its own is a neon green splotch, lilies (to which I am allergic) are super saturated, bright, sky blue. None of that is helpful information, but knowing that it just means I have a few wires crossed *is* helpful, because it means that I know that it doesn’t mean I’m crazy, if that makes sense. I know a few people who have letter/number synesthesia (where numbers have rhythm or letters have colors, or one/both have “personalities”), and *that* can be helpful because it makes learning math different (when a waltz & a foxtrot get together…). There was an episode of NOVA that talked about how the brain works, and part of it was about synesthesia

  5. This is a hard one, but I think you are taking the best approach for Jack and your family. Ava sees bright colors all over the place in all shapes and sizes. We’ve taken her to a few specialists and no one can figure out why it happens. I’ve not taken her to an Intuitive or anyone spiritual, only medical specialists. If I hear of any breakthroughs, I’ll definitely share them with you.

  6. I’m wondering whether it’s ethically okay for your marriage and family therapist to be projecting her (her? Sorry, brain fog) ideas about spirituality onto your son. Don’t ditch D, but once the internship is up, make sure you’ve got someone else in the wings. Actually, that’s a good idea in general: disruption of a therapeutic relationship can be awful, so the transition’s got to be gentle, especially for Jack.

    And my money’s on the synesthesia (says a synesthete).

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