Through the Eyes of a Volunteer

Throughout the month of January, I got the opportunity to complete an internship with Filbert. I did two hour sessions twice a day, as well as reading out of various books, watching DVDs, and having discussions with Emma. I went through an intensified version of Son Rise training since I was with Filbert for four hours a day, but it was quite the experience.

At first, my play with Filbert was not natural. I have a background of working in daycares for five years, so it was all too easy for me to play with Filbert like I would a child at daycare. My first several sessions were spent getting comfortable with the Son Rise program and getting to know Filbert as he got more comfortable with me. After much reading and intense discussions with Emma, I was finally able to give in and let myself go. My sessions with Filbert became exhilarating, emotional, exhausting, and fulfilling.

As I gave myself over to Filbert and presented our world as a fun and amazing place, he never ceased to amaze me in our sessions together. He and I had moments in the playroom that left me elated for the rest of the day. The first breakthrough that made me so happy it brought tears to my eyes was when he looked directly at me and told me he loved me. This kid has no idea of the effect he has on me… One morning session he put his cheek in front of my face, so I kissed it. I was so excited that he leaned in for another kiss…and then another!! I was absolutely ecstatic. Words can’t even describe it. As I left that session, I knelt down in front of Filbert to say good-bye. He leaned his head in for a good-bye kiss. These sweet moments have become a regular occurrence in our sessions together.

I would not trade my experience for anything. I became so attached to Filbert that I switched my spring schedule around so I am able to fit in internship hours every week. I have really taken to the principles of the Son Rise program. The founder, Barry Neil Kaufman has written several books based on these concepts. I am currently reading To Love is to be Happy With. I am fascinated by Filbert’s diet. I started by casually asking questions, which Emma always openly answered. She let me taste some of her homemade probiotic salsa and sour kraut…awesome!! She lent me some great books that I flip through whenever I get a chance. When I graduate from DC food and am on my own, I plan on following the diet plan.

Another plus to working with Filbert is that you get to be around his family. His little sister makes me smile every day. Emma taught her my name, too. : ) Emma and Pancho both showed me how to use my new camera because I was completely clueless. They are both incredibly open and welcoming. The entire family makes you feel loved and accepted. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are.

God has revealed many things about myself through this experience and I thank Him every day that He brought me to it.

2 replies
    • Em
      Em says:

      Great question! First we start off with an attitude of unconditional love and acceptance which allows us to join him joyfully in this “abnormal behaviors” showing interest in what he likes. The more we truly love and accept all of him the more he’d rather be interacting with us than doing “abnormal behaviors”. These are Son-Rise Program Principles that set the Son-Rise Program apart from other therapies and make it so effective.


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