Sibylle Janert, MA
Autism Therapist For Children and Families
Sibylle Janert’s Approach to Autism and the Human Mind
I have been interested in the human mind, and how the mind can heal from emotional wounds, since I was a teenager and experienced my own struggles of growing up, mental pain and feeling lost, and that of close family members.
I am convinced (because I know from my own experience) that as human beings we have an almost infinite potential for psychic growth and internal change, provided we can find the right kind of therapeutic and feelingful support from another genuinely interested human being and actively engage with this life-long emotional process through self-reflection.
Later I became fascinated by very early mental processes and autistic states of mind as well as the common human experience of feeling confused, stuck or trapped. How does one get out of such painful states of mind? This is how I see it:
Human beings are born for relationships. A human baby on its own is not viable: as D. Winnicott said ‚There is no such thing as a baby‘. A human baby needs the relationship with a caring (m)other to survive and to build his/her mind. The human mind is built through relationships and interactive experiences with other people and the world, – which is why I love the idea of MindBuilders!
The human brain is born to wire up to the body. It is a dynamic system that is designed to re-organise and improve. It is constantly growing and changing with new experiences. This is called brain plasticity. The human brain is not a machine, that is either fixed or broken/defective. It can re-wire itself, kinaesthetically, through movement, sensory experiences and feelingful relationships. Every brain can! That’s why active exploration and movement activities are so crucial for healthy child-development.
I am a psychologist and have been working with families, children and autism for over 35 years using a therapeutic approach that has feelings and emotional states of mind at its centre, with a focus on unconscious psychic reality, emotional relationships and communication in the family. My approach is influenced by the helpful work of many other practitioners including DIRFloortime, Waldon Approach, psychodynamic psychotherapy, Formdrawing , Music Therapy , Somatic Experiencing, Polyvagal Theory, a.o.
In response to parents asking for more personalised support with their children’s behaviour at home, I developed a unique approach combining Autism Parents’ Consultations, Video Interaction Guidance and Reflective Review Meetings with parents as a comprehensive approach to supporting families with a child with developmental issues, autism or autistic-like behaviours: MindBuilders’ Parents’ Consultation Programme.
I also run workshops, webinars, training and study groups for parents and/or professionals on Autism, DIRFloortime, PLAY Activities and Techniques, Functional Learning, Waldon Method, and more, – as online courses, or in different parts of the UK, India, Bangladesh, … and since moving to Germany in 2019 increasingly in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
I am the author of several books and other therapeutic materials, including ‚Reaching the young autistic child‘ as well as 2 Picture Books ‘In the Family‘ and ‚Autism in the Family‘ to encourage colleagues and parents to talk about their child and challenging issues (co-authored with Merete Hawkins and Sheila Coates) with older siblings or other family members. My next book ‚MindBuilders‘ Play Manual: Playing with Babies – Playing in the Family – Playing and Autism‘ embraces the child with autism as a child with needs like any other child for ordinary family life, and it is full of illustrations and packed with practical ideas.