The following is a case history of a student with social problems and hyperactivity, treated by Katherine Rudolph:
Documentation Manual – Patient B
A. Therapeutic Situation
1. The patient was treated in a Rudolf Steiner school.
2. It was to benefit one child, through a group situation.
3. Each session was approximately ½ hour.
4. It took place during the third of a year.
5. In the 2nd grade classroom, with the teacher present and 12 2nd graders.
6. The child was a boy, 8 ½ years old.
7. The child’s parents were not compatible.
8. The therapy took place every two weeks.
9. The school paid for the cost of the therapy.
10. The child was very hyperactive at times and utterly introverted and withdrawn at other times.
a. It created social and disciplinary problems in the class.
b. The doctor diagnosed constitutional difficulties, possible schizophrenia.
c. He appeared quite alienated and had been having psychiatric help.
11. He was often demanding attention through his inappropriate activity. His voice was weak and mumbled.
12. He has black hair and eyes and was normal stature for his age. His face was very pale and he had shallow breathing.
B. Methods of Therapy
1. The process was carefully accompanied with rhythmically repeated exercises.
2. This was inspired by the group situation and represented a story-in-motion.
C. Therapeutic Exercises
1. ‘Here on the earth I stand’
2. ‘You can gaze in dark waters’
3. ‘Whenever the moon and stars are set’
4. ‘Loudly blew the bitter blast’
5. Rippling and rustling’
6. Which winds whisk’
7. Moon on the field and the fold’
8. Slowly silently now the moon
9. The child followed the movement in verse of the story-in-motion. At times he would hide under a chair and then reappear. The story of a lost sheep was recounted. Sometimes the movement was more and the speaking less. In between the narrative was told by the therapist.
The imaginative experience in space was brought about by the children repeating the sounds and movements in unison.
The child whom the therapy was made for always wanted to be the lost sheep. All of the children enjoyed calling him back into the fold. He thereby felt needed and protected. The sheep had been frightened by a sudden storm and the shepherd boy had to call them back. The other children all were hiding like the alienated child, in all parts of the classroom. Then they slowly returned. This made the one child feel at home and the children in the class played along. The moonlight is invoked to bring back the lost sheep ‘Moon on the field and the foam. etc’. The expectation of the lost sheep coming back made him feel like he was in the limelight and could rightfully ‘act it out’ for once.
10. The therapeutic connection became very good. The child felt that the others knew how he felt, (namely lost) and then, happily found and wanted. He remembered being the lost sheep months later, and spoke about it at times.
Through this dramatic story and a similar ‘Christmas Play’, where the child could again feel part of the whole, helped the classroom situation. The child’s family moved away from the school not long after. How he fared later remains unknown.
E. This child needed much more one-to-one treatment but the time situation didn’t allow it. Psychological assistance would be recommended.
The following work was brought to life in the Christmas play referred to in the case history:
A Norwegian Folk Tale, translated by Dan Lindholm and written in free verse by Katherine Rudolph
The Shepherd Boy’s Gift
Of a poor shepherd boy at the first Christmastide, this tale is oft told. May it spread far and wide; who weary and wind blown, aching with cold, long sought a lamb that had wandered alone; lost it was, straggling astray.
Along the trail of a dried-up brook, behind the shadows of bramble and bush; everywhere did the shepherd boy search, uphill and down in the land beyond Bethlehem, city of David.
Bitter fear gripped his heart. How he’d suffered before. Whenever a lamb had been lost, he’d been scolded and beaten, left without bread in his room at the inn. Since his father had gone, his master was mean and ill tempered.
Of course he was troubled, as onward he strode. How could he know that darkness and fear would be conquered by light that love might shine forth in every man’s heart, this night at the Turning of Ages.
Yet he steadfastly sought, he hardly took heed when the wind had died down; the birds ‘gan to sing; the stars were now shining brighter than day. One he clambered away, e’er steadily upward; straining his ears; but he could not hear – even the faintest of bleatings; the lamb was nowhere to be seen.
At last at the top, he scanned o’er the plane of the ancient land of Judaea and – BEHOLD – now the wonder that entered his heart, when an Angel appeared amidst the night stars, and the heavens rang forth to rejoice in the birth of the babe who was born in a manger.
These words spoke the angel of peace: ‘Have now no fear, thou keeper of sheep; your lost lamb is fast asleep, and safe in the lower pasture: A greater Shepherd has been born to save the world from sin and scorn. A Saviour, in Bethlehem this sacred morn and shall be Christ the Lord. Make haste! Make haste to the babe in a manger’.
‘A Saviour is born; and I so forlorn? What have I to bring him this wondrous morn? Alas I’m bereft, I have nothing to give.’
But the angel answered him thus: ‘Nothing to give? See’st though aright? Take now this flute; let it sing in the light which shineth so bright, in an Orb around the manger.’
With this the angel disappeared and uttered not another word, but the shepherd saw that it was true; on the ground there shone a flute. This he held then to his mouth and, lo, it played all by itself. O’hear – Seven pure tones did fill the air, such as one might hope to hear singing from the heavenly spheres.
So filled was the shepherd boy’s heart with joy that he hastened too fast down the steep path. He stumbled alas, and fell on his face with a cry of dismay, and oh! what pain. Then he saw the flute again and fought through pebbles and thorns on that rocky terrain; and again it played. But only six tones remained; still onward he ran, drying his tears on the way.
Now the path lightened; he was running in time and steadily faster when he stopped in his tracks; there before him it sat, the great grey wolf, the lamb-slayer himself, snarling and baring sharp fangs; and that monster he hated for barring his way: ‘Aside, let me pass. Get out of here fast,’ he yelled at the wolf without thinking. Such was his fury that he threw then the flute at the beast and it vanished away. But hear the bad news. So did a tone in his flute!
Across the low pasture astrode he to the plain, where the lambs were all peacefully grazing – save one, who was curious about all the light; it seemed to be bleating a question that night. And the shepherd boy thought that it might get lost; so he followed it foolishly this way and that, hoping it would return to the fold. At last he got made though, then the lamb ran and the shepherd boy ran; forgetting the gift that he held in his hand, he flung the flute at the lamb in vain.
What woe was his when the sound of only four tones remained. How he had bungled this thing. Yet he still must hurry on, for the angel had said, ‘Make haste, make haste to the babe in the manger.’ Only a pace had he made when he though, ‘Where are the others this night? Did all of the other ones leave the night watch while they themselves pass their time at dice and cheer? I am left along here!’ Such was the shepherd boy’s thought.
And indeed it made him right cross; that he only a boy must stay and watch and guard the flock, how annoying! But how could he know that the others, his elder s and uncle and brothers awaiting him knelt at the manger?
So he glared at the fire, and kicked the old jug, distraught at them all and his plight as the littlest shepherd. But much to his fright an invisible might knocked the flute from his hand. When at last it was found, there were only three tones to hear. Still the tones were so clear; bright and wondrous they were. Might he not play for the saviour?
And as he pressed on, nigh to the town; he suddenly found that he was surrounded by trouble: knocked in the nose, kicked in the shins, fighting a gang of street urchins, who wanted his glimmering flute. But he had the flute in his grasp. This time he held on to it fast! At last the nightwatchman came and frightened the urchins away – ‘I’ll break up the terrible game that you play!’ said he to the scuffling children. So bitten and ragged and torn, the poor shepherd boy blundered on, ‘til he got to the gates of the town.
True there were only two tones left to ring in the flute yet these from the fields of wonder. Then spied he the stable whence shone the star, with glory above from the heavens; and peace in the heart of man. The lad longed for the sight of the babe; but as he walked past the door of the inn a savage guard-dog fell on him, and would have torn him to bits.
Then he brandished the flute, which smote like a sword – one pure not did him well serve; the dog was stunned; but he had only one tone for the babe in the manger. So little was left of the angel’s gift, that he was sore ashamed. But Mother Mary beckoned him close, and, he sounded the angel flute round and clear that all might hear the last and wondrous tone.
The ass and the ox pricked up their ears; the other shepherds gathered there heard; Mary and Joseph beamed with joy at the tone of the poor ragged shepherd boy. But the Christ Child in the manger low, wrapped in light and swaddled in clothes, stretched out his tiny hand – to touch the flute which the shepherd lad had borne through trials and woe.
And – Behold! – how the flute did glow – O’HEAR. Those seven pure tones both full and clear did fill the air, as they had before. Such tones as one might hope to hear ringing from the heavenly sphere – just as the lad had first received, as gift from the angel of comfort and peace. High in the hills, the tale is still told how he’d sought the lamb that fled from the fold; how, weary and heartsick he hearkened and heard tidings of the Saviour, Christ the Lord.
The following is another case history of a child with social problems and hyperactivity and antogonistic behaviour, also treated by Katherine Rudolph.
A. Therapeutic Situation
This child was referred to me by his second grade teacher. Antagonistic behaviour, not participating in group interaction with speaking and singing, bullying other children were part of his social problems.
He has a congenital heart circulation weakness. Indeed his whole feeling soul is affected.
B. Impulse for Speech
Charlie enjoyed speaking during the word games. He was quick-witted and had no trouble thinking and remembering words. Large and small balls were thrown, and he managed to throw on the breath. His voice, however, was not strong. (Blowing up balloons were a way of increasing his breath capacity).
During the stories and verses Charlie showed less enthusiasm. He was good at rhythm in movement (stepping with the syllables), when he was encouraged to keep up the pace. However he enjoyed it less than the word games. Stimulating heart and limb forces to keep up with the head helped to bring his impulse into balance.
C. Flow of Speech
Charlie’s breathing was somewhat shallow. Iambic verses in the story with galloping helped the diaphragm – breathing to ensue. This was interspersed with narrative in motion and followed by relaxing songs. He then opened up and felt the process (the story was about a ranch and discovering certain activities which coincide with speech exercises involving vowels which stimulate the blood circulation). ‘O’, ‘ah’; these are more diastole expressions (in relation to the breath current) whereas Charlie had a lot of EE –Asystole already in his character. His temperament tended to be melancholic, meaning his head activity predominated.
D. Charlie’s pronunciation of the consonants and the balance of consonants was normal. Lips – MBPFV, Teeth LNDT, Th, Sz, R, Sh, Ch and Palate VGK, Ch and H were all articulated, but all were strengthened in general.
E. Course of Therapy
Charlie needed to feel love and humour. During the therapy humorous songs and verses were sung and spoken. Speaking and singing with others in the classroom situation needed to be encouraged. Good humour toward his fellow classmates was also subtly woven into the story content. Love of the earth as a place to grow and learn was imaginatively evoked in the narrative of the story without appearing to be didactic.
Clowning may have been an interest to be developed with Charlie. Therefore, later events in the story might have included joining a circus. Generally, efforts were made to reinforce self-confidence and to realise his intrinsic value as a human being. The friendship element was naturally deepened in relation to his peers as well.
Speech, in its formative element centred Charlie and helped his individuality to gradually enter so that his true talents would be expressed more easily.
The stories were built up and carried through in episodes which began with the former verses and songs and always contained a new element.
As certain segments (for example, ‘rancho grande’) were finished the texts were given leading on to the ‘circus adventure’.
The child will continue to need opening-up. There is much turbulence below the surface. Work with clowning and or musical development would be beneficial to the feeling soul.