Flower Essences for an Emotionally Distressed Child
The following article is essentially a case history as recorded by the mother of the patient and the natural health practitioner. Ann (a pseudonym) sought help for her 11 year old daughter Ruth (a pseudonym) from practitioner Jeanette Shearer. Ann was concerned about Ruth as Ruth had problems relating to others and had been breaking down and crying at school, but would not communicate the reasons for her distress.
Ann had long standing concerns about Ruth’s health and development. When Ruth was a baby, Ann noticed that Ruth became distressed in environments which were brightly lit or noisy. As she grew older, it also became apparent that in addition to hypersensitivity to light and sound, Ruth had other sensory difficulties, with aversion to some textures. As a preschool child, Ruth showed signs of anxiety, developing a pronounced fear of clowns (because of the sudden loud noises in a typical clown performance) and Ann sought to control her environment and activities to minimise the possibility that she might be exposed to unpleasant stimuli such as noise. Over time, Ruth became better at coping with the vicissitudes of the outside world, and settled into the routine of going to school; however, it was clearly difficult for her to cope with the school environment.
Ruth also has chronic asthma, nasal stuffiness and had used steroid inhalers to treat a nasal polyp. Allergy tests had not revealed any major dietary ingredients of concern except for sugar and additives.
Despite having to cope with these difficulties, Ruth has always been a bright child who is particularly gifted in mathematics.
Ann and her husband noticed the similarities of some of Ruth’s symptoms with those of autism, and several years ago decided to see whether biological treatment approach would help her. However a trial of a gluten-free casein-free diet and fish oil supplements did not help Ruth, so occupational therapy was tried as a way of reducing her sensory issues and helping her to express how she was feeling. Unfortunately, this did not appear to be of any benefit either.
A friend recommended Jeanette Shearer as someone who might be able to help Ruth, so Ann contacted Jeanette. Ann did not have high expectations that the approach would work, given the failure of other recommended therapies, but was prepared to try the treatment in the hope that it would be helpful for Ruth.
The correspondence below has been reproduced with minimal editing to give a picture of how the excellent communication between Ann and Jeanette allowed Jeanette to select appropriate First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand Essences via correspondence.
From Ann to Jeanette: February 26, 2011
Hi! I wonder if you would be able to help my daughter?
She is 11, and we have been working with an Occupational Therapist to try and help her with various issues that she has had for most of her life. She suffers with anxiety, has sensory issues (high sensitivity and is sensory avoiding), is mildly obsessive and has social difficulties. She hates talking one-to-one, especially about the things that make her anxious (particularly rain) or her feelings. She is really hard to connect with verbally and I have had to give up the sessions with the OT as she has meltdowns, and we don’t really seem to be getting anywhere. A friend referred me to you as she has been helped by your approach. Do you think this is something you can help with?
From Jeanette to Ann: February 26, 2011
I would be very happy to help your daughter. I work with BodyTalk and First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand. The combination is very effective and if required I can do a session without very much talking at all…. Without meeting your daughter I could talk to you about her and make up a bottle of the essences specifically for her. These drops are taken in water three times a day for one month then reviewed and either the same essences or new ones taken for a further month. Your daughter’s limited sense of smell would not reduce the effectiveness of these essences in any way. I would prefer to meet your daughter at least once for a BodyTalk session and essence diagnosis and from there we could work with the essences more effectively. First Light Essences sound perfect for her, especially for her fears and communication problems.
The drops can be taken in different ways. They work very well when put in water – a little or a lot doesn’t make a difference. If Ruth takes a water bottle to school put 6 drops in the bottle. This would count as taking them twice. Also you can take them directly on or under the tongue. Take them 3 or 4 times every day until finished. Please contact when they are running low so I can renew them.
19 Lovers Daisy The Love Essence (Client’s Keynote essence) Prescribed to help alleviate stress in all things associated with the relationship area of life. It is useful for people who cope by withdrawing and who show obsessive qualities. It is good for people who find disharmony painful as they are extremely reactive and sensitive to others. This essence helps to regain energetic balance.
20 Wineberry The Co-operation Essence -This essence helps with the development of social skills, to confront difficulties and see problems in the right light instead of hiding worries and anxieties.
21 Hinau The Sacred Space Essence – good essence for people who are emotionally isolated and closed off. It helps one to trust one’s own knowing and intuition, to feel safe and contained within ones own boundaries. It is used to help establish meaningful social relationships.
These three essences are based on the zodiacal type Libra and all centre around issues of relating. ie avoiding confrontaion and not expressing what one feels, being uncomfortable in social situations. These essences develop the positives attributes of being at ease in social situations and enjoying being part of a team.
41 Prince of Wales Feathers Fern This is a Life Trauma essence used for clearing issues around respect and humiliation. ie Issues around speaking out or being heard – feeling judged. This essence helps develop the ability to grow self-respect, to feel heard and to find a way to express creatively.
48 Maire The Healing Essence relating to the Throat Chakra which is linked to the issue of communication. This chakra is the energy centre that facilitates self expression and creativity. When it is out of balance there may be problems with self-expression and anxiety about speaking out and expression of feelings.
This essence will bring balance to this chakra and allow one to know one has something unique to offer and the means to communicate it.
56 Inkberry I chose this essence because it relates to the fear of being different and difficulty facing reality. It allows a new reality to be imagined.
58 Ramarama This helps one to overcome beliefs and fears around ones special place and purpose in the world.
68 Puriri For discernment and discrimination. For balance, inner unity and wholeness. Having a positive relationship with oneself leading to better relationships with others. (Client’s Soul Lesson)
Editor’s Note: Jeanette did not supply this written explanation of the action of each essence to Ann. I have added the explanation to assist readers in understanding the treatment process.
From Ann to Jeanette: March 21, 2011
It was lovely to catch up again [in the interim Ann and Jeanette had talked on the phone] and I will jot down what has happened with us over the last 3-4 weeks and let you know anything else you may be able to help with. I appreciate you don’t do miracles, but I thought I would note them down anyway in case there is anything you can think of that might help. After about two days of taking the drops you sent us, Ruth transformed from a child who barely spoke, to one who will chatter away at length and at any time of the day or night! She called me into her bedroom one evening shortly after she had started the drops, and just spilled out everything that had been going on at school, the girls that were mean to her and what they were saying, and the ones who had been nice. We talked through what she could do, and this is probably one of the first conversations I have had with her at this level where she is inviting conversation and expressing her thoughts and feelings verbally.
Since then she has been happy to talk about her friendships at school, what she has been doing at school and how she feels about it, and she will frequently initiate the conversation. After a while I told her that I had noticed how much chattier she was, and she said that she had noticed it too, but she was still shy at school and did her talking at home. it was only after 2 or 3 weeks that I told her why she was taking the drops, and two key people that spend regular time with Ruth had both commented that they were amazed with the change in her. It is at the point now where we have to ask her to stop talking – something quite unheard of only a month ago! She has even made a new good friend, which is wonderful and I can see she is delighted and her self-esteem is improving because of this.
So I don’t know how we can start to help her talk more at school? I think it is a confidence thing, and she fears rejection or people drawing conclusions about her by what she says. Asking her new friend if she would like to come home for tea seems to be at a similar level for her as a boy asking for a first date! She fears that she may look like she’s coming on too strong and all sorts of things like that, and I have never really seen her as someone who is concerned about what other people think, or fears people forming opinions about her from what she says. Also, she doesn’t seem to feel that she has rights as an individual and that these are equal to the rights of others; she thinks of herself as far less important.
You mentioned about discernment and her knowing about appropriate times to speak and how long for (she can lose her audience if she rambles too much!). She has never been good at reading facial expressions or body language, and maybe this is part of not wanting to open up to people verbally as she doesn’t know if they are bored/laughing at her/interested. She could really do with some help on that one, but it seems to be at a really deep level.
Once when watching a movie she saw a man and a lady looking at each other lovingly, and whereas her younger sister was able to announce “they are in love!” Ruth said “they like each other’s eyes”. She can see that people are making facial expressions but tends to look very much at the surface of what they mean and not the deeper levels and interpreting them.
Finally, something I would really love to change is her energy levels. She loves the computer and reading, and can spend a lot of time on her bottom!
She is slow to get up to do anything, and often it will already be done by the time she gets there. She is the classic 2-speed child (slow/stop) and doesn’t seem to have any sense of urgency! I mentioned before that she is struggling with weight gain, and I am sure that this is directly caused by this lack of activity. She suffers from asthma, which doesn’t help, but she enjoys some sport and is happy to get involved with soccer, netball and hockey. I drop her some distance from school in the morning and she walks the rest of the way with her sister and friend, but I imagine it is a pretty slow walk.
I hope this helps you to think on to the next step for Ruth. Thank you for all you have done with your first jar, and I look forward to seeing what changes may come with the second, though I think this is now more subtle and deeper change that may not be so apparent.
Very many thanks,
From Jeanette to Ann: March 22, 2011
I am so pleased for you all and especially for Ruth. What a difference this will make to her life. The fact that she is communicating so well and has swung to almost over talking is great. I know I can think back to my children when they were pre-schoolers and how they talked non stop This is a necessary step and good to practice at home as this is how we learn to discern what is appropriate. Because she didn’t learn these skills then she is learning them now. I would expect her to learn much quicker than a preschooler and you can help by, when you feel it is appropriate, pointing out the cues that we take for granted.
Thanks a lot for such a detailed email. It makes it much easier to get a good picture. I will think on this for a while and get back to you soon
For the second bottle I kept 19, 21, 41, 68 and added 9, 57, and 110
The essences are still around the issue of relating.
9 Koru The Understanding Essence For mental blocks, feeling mentally stuck, difficulty with learning. Being a diffident communicator, feeling mentally inferior so holds back or withdraws. For people who do not feel understood… It assists in learning by doing and watching and feeling understood. Also helps people to feel secure within ones own unique mode of communicating and learning. To recognise and interpret the cues from others.
57 Cabbage Tree People who need this essence are those who have a fear of losing control. It helps to gain integration of mind, body and spirit.
110 Pukatea For helping to imagine/dream a new reality, seeing new possibilities.
From Jeanette to Ann: March 30, 2011
The essences I have put in Ruth’s bottle are still centered around relating and some of the essences are the same as before. These cover
* having a healthy attitude to self and relationships
* working through suppressed or repressed emotional issues -help with interpersonal skills (such as recognising cues from
The new essences centre around
* learning by doing and watching and feeling understood.
* for Ruth to feel secure within her own unique mode or communicating
* unblocking fear relating to verbal communication and moving through
*having self respect and feeling heard
*overcoming fear of losing control mentally
* being able to imagine/dream a new reality.
These essences work on many levels and I feel that many of the emotional issues you raised are covered here.
The physical /energy level issues and asthma aren’t covered this time but you may find as her confidence increases that her energy levels rise too.
Are you still noticing changes?
Please keep in touch with any changes (either up or down).
From Ann to Jeanette: April 20, 2011
We’ve got a bit behind with these drops as Ruth lost the bottle for a while towards the end of term, and we managed to find it when we broke up and had time to look. I’ll let you know when we are a bit further into the bottle.
It is harder to notice the changes this time as they are more subtle now. She is definitely a lot more affectionate now, and will ask for cuddles and time together. She seems to value herself more, and feel more worthy of people’s time and attention, which is lovely. I always used to think she was detached because she was self-sufficient and didn’t look for attention, but see more and more now that she just didn’t feel entitled or important enough to warrant it. She is still a chatterbox, which is lovely, but seems to be calming down a bit and getting better at two-way conversations.
Ruth’s dad commented recently that it was like she has stopped behaving ‘autistically’, (we had been investigating possible mild Aspergers or something on the spectrum) and is quite a different child, so I told him about the drops (I didn’t mention them before). He is amazed by the changes he has seen too.
I’ll email you in a couple of weeks time so we can look at how she is then.
Many thanks, as always, for all your help with this and the amazing impact you have had on Ruth.
From Jeanette to Ann: April 20, 2011
How is your little chatterbox Ruth coming along? It must be getting time for some more essences. I see this as ongoing for Ruth and I will change the essences as her needs change. Looking forward to hearing of her progress.
From Ann to Jeanette: April 25, 2011
I discharged Ruth from the counseling services provider children yesterday. We had completed our first cluster of sessions and she has made such amazing progress with your drops that we don’t really feel there is much more they can do to help. Also, the face-to-face talking about her feelings is like torture for Ruth and hasn’t really helped, whereas the drops have been ideal and made such emormous changes.
A couple of days ago we had her new ‘best friend’ over for the day. She and Ruth are great for each other, and Ruth is completely smitten and in heaven that she finally has a friend! They play brilliantly together, have lots of laughs and enjoy the same things. This is all new for Ruth and I believe she is experiencing real friendship for the very first time. Her friend is returning tomorrow for a sleepover, and Ruth is really excited, rather than anxious which she usually would be.
Although Ruth has put on more weight, over the last couple of weeks her activity levels have increased enormously too. She jumps up to help where in the past she would’ve waited in the hope that she could get away with it. Last night she asked if we could get Wii Fit as it looks a lot of fun, and then did impressions of all the things you can do on it. This is a great change from the girl who was stationary for so long, so I think she will start to lose weight as this continues. She is also choosing to get out on her bike with her sisters, and her general activity level is so much higher and faster.
We have about 1/3 of the current bottle left, so perhaps we could start preparing for the next bottle in a week or so?
Thank you so much for all your thought and help with this Jeanette. You have transformed a sad and troubled little girl into a happy, bouncy and positive little person who can now see that she is a great person to be with.
From Jeanette to Ann:
I will post off the next bottle of essences for Ruth tomorrow. I think she will find this bottle tastes just like the first one she had.
These essences are based around her need to be able to emotionally sustain herself and develop a sense of self respect.
They also foster:
*Allowing a repressed inner creativity to surface.
* Taking pride and pleasure in her creative achievements. Being comfortable accepting deserved compliments and able to take due credit.
* Feeling safe to relax and let down her mental guard and having the ability to laugh at lifes difficulties and setbacks.
* Being able to be open to change, new ideas and concepts. Having belief in herself and her abilities. Discovers and uses her own unique gifts and individual skills.
* Helpful to increase energy levels and help to hold her new ‘being’.
I have kept in 68 Puriri for discernment and discrimination and 20 Wineberry and have added the following:
10 Starry Hibiscus for the clients need to be able to emotionally sustain herself and to feel needed
15 Mingimingi develop a sense of self respect.Allowing a repressed inner creativity to surface. Taking pride and pleasure in her creative achievements. Being comfortable accepting deserved compliments and able to take due credit. Feeling safe to relax and let down her mental guard and having the ability to laugh at life’s difficulties and setbacks.
39 Shaking Brake Fern (clients Trauma essence) This essence relates to issues around feeling disempowered and will allow one to relax and let down the mental guard.
45 Matai Being able to be open to change, new ideas and concepts. Having belief in oneself and one’s abilities.
63 Karamu Discovers and uses her own unique gifts and individual skills. Practically co-ordinates intentions and feelings. Believes in oneself and knows ones desires can be achieved. Has the inner resources to cope with any situation.
100 Mahoe To increase one’s energy to achieve ones intent or objective. Helpful to increase energy levels and help to hold her new ‘being’.
From Ann to Jeanette: 24 June 2011
Ruth is doing really well thanks. She doesn’t take the drops so regularly now, but it feels like there isn’t such a need right now and she is still adjusting to the changes that have already happened. She is a very happy little girl with more and better friendships. She has started to value herself and see that she is valued by others. She is still a chatterbox, but is much more aware of her audience. Her teachers appear to be really fond of her and enjoy her sweet, yet really creative, nature.
About First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand:
First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand is a range of essences (potentised remedies) made from New Zealand native flora. They have been co-created by Franchelle Ofsoske-Wyber and her husband Anthony Wyber in accordance with Maori tradition and protocol. Dr Rangimarie Turuki Arikirangi Rose Pere. C.B.E C.M. highly esteemed Maori tohuna and ancient wisdom keeper, is the Official Spiritual Patron and Guardian in Perpetuity of the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand.
This system of healing is based on the the theory that essences prepared from different parts of a plant assist the functioning of different aspects of the individual. For example, essences prepared from flowers relate to the personality, while those made from trees have a relationship with a particular chakra, and essences prepared from seeds act on the level of the DNA. Essences prepared from ferns are used to treat the after-effects of trauma. Different types of trauma (such as grief, humiliation, betrayal) are recognised in this system, with different ferns being appropriate for different trauma.
First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand also offer practitioner training courses. in which other aspects of prescribing including more arcane techniques such as the use of the patient’s birth date to assist in identifying the keynote remedy.
More information about these flower essences may be found at http://www.nzfloweressences.co.nz/
Concluding Comment from the Editor:
In my conversation with Ann, she told me how she had not had high expectations that this type of treatment approach would work, having been brought up in a family that used conventional medicine and not having any knowledge of alternative health treatments. However given the failure of other recommended therapies, she was prepared to try the flower essence treatment in the hope that it would be helpful for Ruth. Ann did not give Ruth any sort of explanation about the drops but simply told her to take them. Under the circumstances, a placebo effect seems unlikely.
While it is important to identify and, if possible, treat medical issues (such as chronic infections, nutritional deficiencies, food intolerance/allergy etc that may contribute to many conditions such as autistic spectrum disorders, depression or anxiety – see my review of Michael Sichel’s book Good News for the Alphabet Kids in Issue 2 of The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine) Ruth’s case history shows how gentle therapies such as the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand are worth considering to help children resolve some of the psychological issues (such as fears) that they may develop from repeated exposure to painful stimuli. (For a child who is hypersensitive to sound, for example, the sound of rain drumming on the roof may be unpleasant or even cause pain.) This type of therapy is easy to institute and as Ruth’s experience shows, it has the potential to assist children to transcend longstanding psychological blocks.
From Ann to Katherine (editor) February 5, 2012
We had a bit of a setback over the holidays as she became very detached again and got upset as she didn’t feel the same way as she used to. She said she didn’t feel love for me and her sisters like she used to, nor the happiness she had felt. We had stopped using the drops when the last bottle ran out and she asked if we could order some more and see if they helped. Good old Jeanette got straight onto it and everything is back to normal. Clearly this may well be the placebo effect now, but it works and we are not having to medicate her or subject her to any one-to-one counseling. So it works for me to!
I don’t know if I mentioned too, that she had such a good year in Year 7 in her new school, and is in such a better space than she was about 15 months ago when she took the entry tests, that she has jumped up two classes and is now in the top class! She also got a certificate for diligence, for which she had to achieve excellence in at least 5 subjects. She has decided to really go for it this year, (she didn’t really put in that much effort last year), and try to get to the very top, so good on her! She is now having to cope with all the changes with friendship groups, but is taking it all in her stride. I still don’t fully understand what the drops have done or do, but they have certainly had a enormous impact on Ruth and I hope that she will now realise her true potential.