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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sponsored Post: Silver Lake therapist tells the tale of Woe to help out kids

This sponsored post is from Eastsider advertiser Matt Casper.

Silver Lake Therapist Matt Casper, MFT has written a new book,  “Woe Is Me: The Wild Adventures of Woe The Worried,”  to help children deal with anxiety and emotional expression. The illustrated book is written in a playful manner and features a character named Woe, who is dealing with the trauma from a battle with a doughnut monster. Here is an excerpt:

Woe is worried.  In fact, Woe is always worried. He worries when he’s asleep and he worries when he’s awake.
When he’s asleep, Woe has nightmares about huge monsters with smelly breath that chase him into dark caves.  When he’s awake, he’s worried about things like falling into holes and eating rotten eggs.
“What if I get so sick that I have to go to the hospital?!”
Woe talks about getting sick a lot.

“And what if the doctors forget about me, and I have to stay in the hospital for the rest of my life!  I will just keep getting sicker and sicker and I will always be throwing up and…”
“Okay, Woe! I get it!  Let’s talk about something else,” I often say to him.
Sometimes Woe has worries that feel small, and sometimes he has worries that feel big. Sometimes he worries about his socks, and if they have too many stripes. And sometimes he worries that his friends will stop liking him.
Actually, Woe often worries that we will stop liking him.
“Are you SURE that you are my friends?” he asks.
“Yes, Woe.  For the seven thousandth time, you are our friend!” I tell him…for the seven thousandth and one time.
Woe is so worried that his name is actually, Woe “the worried.” But Woe wasn’t always worried. In fact, his name used to be Woe, “the whatever.”  As in,
“Whatever.  No problem.  Whatever will be will be.”
Now, it’s more like,
“What?!  That’s a problem!  Something bad is going to happen to me!”
Here are some interesting facts I know about Woe:
1) His favorite color is clear.
(Which really isn’t a color, but Woe thinks that colors can be dangerous.)
2) He sleeps with his eyes open.
(This can look kind of creepy.  Woe says he wants to see any monsters that could attack him while he sleeps.)
3 ) He once got his head stuck in a jar of pickles.
(I don’t know how that happened.  I don’t even know how that is possible.)
4) He usually has one thing that he likes a lot.
(I mean a LOT.  Then, he thinks about this one thing a LOT.)

Rocks, for example. He thinks about them all the time.  He looks at rocks and collects rocks and even sings to rocks.
(Yes, sings to rocks. I’ve heard him do it.)
One day, Woe came to school carrying an ordinary looking rock.  Woe had dressed it up in a tiny hat and some pants with suspenders. “Hey, everybody!  Say hello to my little friend, Rocky.”  Rocky was Woe’s pet Rock.  It didn’t say much.  Actually it never said anything.
Yes, Woe loves rocks.

Woe used to love doughnuts.  Woe didn’t just like doughnuts, he LOVED them. It didn’t matter what kind of doughnuts–chocolate, vanilla, bacon, sprinkles or no sprinkles. Woe didn’t care.
Woe had wallpaper with doughnuts on it.  He had doughnut sheets on his bed.  He even wore doughnut underwear.
(Well, the underwear wasn’t made of doughnuts. There were just pictures of doughnuts on them.)
Yes, Woe loved doughnuts.

But one day, Woe’s love of doughnuts quickly went away…

The book is focused on children from ages 7 to 12 but “was written with the entire human population in mind,”  Casper said.
Printed with permission from Evergrow Ltd.



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13 comments

  1. FIRST LET ME START BY SAYING I dont have a computer my neighbor is nice enough to let me use her’s. Dear. DOC. I guess it must be true what people say there’s a sucker born everyday. IF all children had to worry about was in todays time’s was stale doughnuts, then ok the story came from the 1960’s. Our children are bombarded by crime, abuse at home and school, sexual, verbal abuse. So glad you posted this . i can tell my friends not to bother spending their hard earned money on a piece of B.S child pych.

  2. It’s a children’s book, ANON.

  3. Sounds awesome. Will Stories carry it?

  4. @ Anon Please don’t be so quick to judge. I don’t know Matt, but I see from his website that he has worked with troubled children.

    I take my Therapy Dog, Gunner (a Doberman), for weekly visits to three local group homes for abused/abandoned/neglected children ages 8-17. These kids have very serious issues, and many do not have a stable home to which they can return. I can tell you that many of them would identify with Woe.

  5. The excerpt sounds woefully depressing. Can you print an excerpt of how it resolves into hope?

  6. A therapy dog named Gunner – and a Doberman, to boot? I think if I were a traumatized young child, that dog would just add to my torment!

  7. @James
    There are many therapy dogs of all breeds doing work every day to rehab and help children and adults. They have to pass rigorous tests to certify that their temperaments are correct for this type of work. Gunner has been a therapy dog for more than five years, and has literally changed the lives (for the better) of many children. Your comment, even if it was meant in jest, only serves to perpetuate myths of many dog breeds. You are welcome to visit my website or email me for detailed stories and photos of his work with everyone from toddlers to sick and dying adults.

    Dobermans are used in Search and Rescue (the WTC on 9/11) and Service Dogs as well as Therapy Work. One of the children with whom we have been working at the group home has progressed to the point where she is going home next weekend……a huge and positive step. She said the saddest thing about leaving the home is that she won’t get to visit with Gunner anymore.

  8. I have seen Gunner with small children who stand up and are eye level with Gunner, they throw their arms around his neck and hug him as hard as they can. Gunner doesn’t move, even though he rolls his eyes to watch Sandy to make sure everything is okay and he will be allowed to breathe again. He just waits for the child who feels he or she needs to hug him until they release him. Then he stays close, sometimes delivers a kiss (the best way a dog can say I love you), and sees what the child wants to do next. Sometimes they wave and walk away, sometimes they stay to talk to Gunner and learn more about him.

    And Sandy forgot to mention, Gunner’s pet name is really Gunner-bunny. He is a gentle soul, he is kind, non aggressive and knows that people — the very old and very young alike — need unconditional love, something he has 80 pounds of to share.

    If only humans could give love without hesitation as a therapy dog does — to people of any age or color, to people with health problems or people who might not look right to everyone — the world would be a better place.

    — from the owner of three therapy dogs in eight years who has seen the magic a therapy dog spreads

  9. What Karen didn’t mention is that her current Therapy Dog is a wonderful female Doberman named Quatsch. Thank you, Karen, for beautifully stating what not only Gunner (who is Quatsch’s great uncle) but many Therapy Dogs do every day to make life a bit brighter and more tolerable for those whom they touch.

  10. For those of you who might question that Dobermans might not be the best choice of therapy dogs, I have had a Golden Retreiver, a German Shepherd and now a Doberman as therapy dogs. At this time, I would have to give the German Shepherd the highest marks as an amazing bombproof therapy dog. She worked eight years as a therapy dog and had more than 460 visits with children and adults.

    But every dog, even within a breed, is different and have different personalities. And therapy dogs are not limited to purebred dogs, mixes are exemplary at this job, too. Because I wanted the best dog I could get to be my new current therapy dog, I went to the breeder that produced Gunner, hoping I would get a dog with his wonderful temperament as my new working dog. Quatsch has now completed more than 50 therapy dog visits and is well on her way to trying to follow in Gunner’s paw prints.

  11. @anon resident. I appreciate and understand your comments regarding the serious worries which kids today must face. I did just want to clarify that my book is not about “a stale doughnut,” rather it is a story about a fictional character that suffers a traumatic attack by a violent creature that happens to look like a giant doughnut. This is a book aimed for kids 7-12 and is therefore meant to entertain as well as engage and educate. The trauma that the character faces is meant to be a bit fantastical as it then becomes a way for kids to be invited to discuss whatever trauma they might have faced in their own lives. I don’t want to scare kids into talking about their feelings, I want to engage with them in a non-threatening way. Trauma provides enough threat and fear. Throughout the book (as in my other books) the character is supported by his friends and learns practical ways to handle anxiety, stress and fear. My goal was to write a positive book that reinforces the importance of community, acceptance and respect. As with my other books, my aim is to encourage kids to express their feelings and provide the message that every child deserves to feel how they feel and to share their feelings with others without fear of being attacked or judged.

  12. I think a Doberman could make an excellent therapy dog.

  13. @Carol Good idea. This book is actually quite positive, and that’s one of the many reasons I really like it. Throughout the book, the author gives clear ways to help kids feel better when they are worried. It also emphasizes the importance of friendship and talking about feelings in a respectful way. Here is a passage I found that might give you an example of the overall positive nature of the book.

    “Woe, I want you to close your eyes,” I said into the microphone. “Take a deep breath. Imagine that your lungs are like big blue balloons. Watch them slowly fill with air, and then slowly let the air out.”

    “Okay,” said Woe, breathing slowly. “On a scale of 1-10, with really worried being a 10 and not worried at all a 1, how worried are you?” I asked.

    “An 11,” said Woe. “Just kidding, just kidding. I think I’m at a 6, maybe now a 5? Hey, I don’t feel so worried right now!” shouted Woe, ducking his head out the broken window.

    “That’s awesome! Hey, can I please come in and talk to you?” I asked. Woe frowned and then quickly ducked his head back inside. We all waited quietly. It seemed like we waited for 3 1/2 years.

    Suddenly, the front door of Woe’s house opened. I walked inside and found Woe sitting in his room.

    “I’m happy to see you,” I said.

    “Me too,” said Woe.

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