Enriching Learning

Milton Erickson claimed that every child has a driving need to learn and discover, that every stimulus constitutes for the child a possible opportunity to respond in some new way (1980), from which we may conclude that pediatric psychotherapy's goal is appropriately directed at facilitating and enriching such learning opportunities. Learning how to learn is one oflife's essential skills, equipping the child with knowledge, shared experiences, strategies for coping, meaning, enjoyment, and well-being in life. My definition of learning, thus, goes beyond the three R's that are the basis of our educational systems to include building on and utilizing the child's natural curiosity and desire to learn as a foundation for the acquisition of values, prosocial behaviors, problem-solving strategies, and other necessary attributes that are incorporated—or not—during childhood.

In this chapter I have provided stories about empowering children to make a difference, about developing positive attitudes toward life circumstances, and about learning to be self-reliant. There are stories about learning to use the skills, resources, and abilities a child has available, as well as about how to take a realistic approach to being happy (Burns & Street, 2003; Seligman, 2002).

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