"A problem never comes exactly today, very often it comes after generations," says Prof. Monika Bogdanova, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst and teacher at SU "St. Kliment Ohridski". Between 2010-2015, he worked at the hospital "St. Sofia", where it welcomes premature babies, children with special needs and their families, developing a system based on a multidisciplinary team. Creator of the "Green House" in Bulgaria, he is currently the director of the "Green Yard" therapeutic and training center. Her name is associated with the development of the idea in Bulgaria about psychoanalysis with babies and small children, as well as in a specific environment - neonatology, maternity ward, hospitals. Prof. Bogdanova is the initiator and organizer of the Françoise Dolteau Days in Bulgaria, a French psychoanalyst and pioneer in child analysis, which will be held for the 5th year in a row in May 2016
“The Green Yard” teaches babies to fight for their lives. The efforts of our team are directed not only to babies, children and their parents, but also to the formation of specialists who have decided to develop through the ideas of psychoanalysis - speech therapists, pedagogues, psychologists, midwives, etc. This is precisely what is different about our approach to work - a complex approach implemented by specialists who "speak the same language", Prof. Monika Bogdanova, the favorite of generations of children with special needs, said about the "Doctor" village.
Prof. Bogdanova, "The Green Yard" is a continuation of a serious project of yours. Tell us more about him. How do you help children and their parents again?
- "Green Yard" is a continuation of "Green House". It is a space for welcoming and receiving babies, toddlers and their parents. The reception is by psychoanalysts and trained people with the aim of early socialization and prevention of maladaptive behavior or simply talking to parents who have questions.
We welcome babies a few days old when mothers have questions about feeding, sensory development or have been in neonatology. If they have breathing difficulties or any rashes - when there is no medical explanation for these conditions, they come to us.
You talk to small babies even in incubators - what do you say to them?
- In a psychoanalytic session they are also spoken to, not as if they do not exist. For babies, words are important, they feel even though they don't have speech.
Premature babies are a specific case of work, of psychoanalysis, in a special space such as neonatology. These babies are fighting for their lives along with the doctors. My job is to fight together for their mental survival, as you know the risk of psychosis in early mother-baby separation is significant. It turns out that even a few days, between 3 and 5, separated from the mother can lead to negative effects in years. We do not replace the mother, but we tell the child what is happening to him. Psychoanalytic speaking looks easy on the surface, as if anyone can practice it, but it requires extremely fine and long-term preparation.
What made you work with disabled children, with babies?
- Since 1998, something was missing in my work with teenagers. I've always wondered what these teenagers went through. Working with children with special needs in the last 6 years somehow unfolded this issue again - to work with a child with a disability does not mean to move according to his calendar age, but from the one with whom he empathizes - often as a very young child. The support of French psychoanalyst colleagues actually gave me
the strength and courage to work with babies
and small children, although in Bulgaria this is an unknown, startling and very often denied job.
What is the most common problem in babies?
- The question of feeding is the most common problem not only for babies, but also for small children. This problem is very easily recognized by parents.
Refuses to eat, suddenly changes his regime, becomes restless, any dosing of food is ineffective. This is very traumatic for parents. Eating is a form of communication, very often the baby or toddler, when they cannot speak, reacts with eating, with refusal, with illness. There are also quite severe conditions, they are called infantile anorexia. Often this happens with some secret in the family, with the loss of another baby in the womb, or there were two, but one died. Refusal to feed, like all other baby and toddler problems, are actually questions.
How long do these kids manage to influence?
- The question is how long their parents manage to influence. This is a process related to the entire family system - the baby, by itself, does not exist until one year, it is in contact with the mother. However, there are situations in which one session of psychoanalysis is enough to hear what you need and make your choice. Sometimes more than 2-3 sessions are needed, but with the mother rather than the baby.
The meeting place is "Zeleniat Dvor", they can find a lot of information on our website
Recently, many young parents are seeking the help of a speech therapist for their speechless children. Do you deal with such cases and what is your observation?
- For us psychoanalysts, language has a different scheme. A child may or may not speak by accident, just as it is not by accident that he confuses certain words. Speech is closely related to mental he alth. I know it sounds complicated to you, but in order to understand language, we must first understand the unconscious. Very often, children come to us who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, but we quickly understand that the problem is elsewhere - most often
this is the relationship between parents
and how the child feels life and what is happening around him. We work as a team on every case, so it's easy to find where the problem is.
What do you want to teach the children with the seminars?
- We want to revive anti-commercial knowledge, try not to sell anything to parents, but work together for an idea that has proven its effectiveness. We want to teach, without training, how children can be independent. Bring, do, answer, point practices are important, but when they are episodic, not as a scheme for working with one child. It is important for us to develop the potential of children without wanting them to be perfect and unique. Every family has to invent their own perfection and we only accompany them along the way.
Your purely motherly but also professional advice to current and future parents?
- Intuition! To have it, to develop it, to trust it. To rediscover the answers - the seeker has a strong intuition. Expecting someone else to know where the problem lies in body and soul is a good start, but the answer lies within each of us. Parents often ask me when this will end, when will the end of their problem come. The attitude that we must quickly and immediately part with a suffering is not correct. Sometimes it's not good to treat quickly because we don't know what exactly is behind the obvious problem.
In our country, everyone understands babies and small children. Especially the grandmothers. Everyone can say anything about babies because they have already experienced this experience in their life. That's not exactly the case, though. Very often these tips and some information on the Internet mislead parents.