What is the LAB Method?

The LAB Method started out as framework to guide partners and parents in every day relating to build a deeper, more secure connection.  In it’s 4th year of development, it has become an ever-evolving method to guide individuals in modern day relating with a specific focus on our Marin County culture.  What makes the LAB Method stand out is it’s offering of specific language to use, borrow, and make your own to help you move through the many sticky moments we face in every day parenting, partnering and relating.

What does L.A.B. Stand for?

LAB stands for Leadership, Attachment and Boundaries.  Developer of the method, Polly Ely, MFT has identified these three concepts as foundational principles of the method. 

L- Relaxed Leadership focuses on raising kids so they will want to follow YOU.   The method demonstrates this concept using an image of a mother elephant with her baby elephants.   The method reminds us of nature and the natural order of parents “in charge” and children following.  The method teaches parents about the use of “tone” in their voice.  The method guides parents to think of the “long arc” of learning and helps parents master the art of being an ally rather than being caught in the ‘oh so familiar’ power struggle of “cops and robbers.”

A-Attachment Theory is central to the LAB Method.   You might be wondering why?  One of the greatest predictors of individual and family wellness is raising kids who are securely attached.  The LAB Method framework dedicates an entire section to Attachment Theory and the 3 ingredients to support this development – attunement, rupture and repair.  This part of the method is supported by Telegrams, single page sheets that are like Mad Libs for individuals to fill out when they want help structuring a thoughtful repair or unpacking a moment of feelings and/or anxiety.  They are great tools for partners, siblings, parents and children.

B-Boundaries are essential for healthy relating.  We learn about boundaries from hundreds and thousands of experiences with our caregivers in our homes.  The LAB method helps caregivers early on identify areas to teach about boundaries.  This might include keeping passwords to devices private from children.  The method also guides caregivers to learn about their internal boundary system and how to slow moments down to listen to the little voice inside that ALL of us have to guide us through the many requests we get in our role as caregiver, partner, friend, co-worker.

The LAB Method is a framework that can be adapted to your home, your values and your family.  It is a method that can be used with all ages and for all time.

Last and most certainly not least, this method was born out of a desire to get ahead of mental illness and prevent the development of anxiety, depression and addiction.

What are Parent LABs like?

Parent LABs are typically 90-120 minutes in length.  Polly and her team of trained teachers use humor, heart, personal experience and professional experience to teach the many principles covered at one LAB.  Each LAB is freshly written to stay current with the landscape of modern parenting.  Teachers begin each LAB reviewing the ingredients of Attachment Theory and Self Determination Theory to deepen caregivers’ knowledge of healthy child/adolescent development. 

Early on Polly invites the attendees to listen with their heart first and their intellect second.   There is a lot of information packed into each LAB and if you listen with your heart, it will help you prioritize your areas that might benefit from reflection and LAB Method support.  Sprinkled through out LABs are opportunities to privately pause and reflect.  The Dad LAB guides father’s to take a few minutes to reflect on how they would like to be remembered by their children.  The Attachment LAB guides parents to reflect on the person in their young life who “slowed down” and played with them. 

Each LAB is organized around the 3 main principles- Leadership, Attachment, and Boundaries.  With in each category, teachers identify the many problems we face in that area and principles, practical tools, and language to help parents get unstuck.

Some of the other parent LAB titles include but are not limited to The Relaxed Leadership LAB, The Sibling LAB, The Teen LAB, The LAB for Leading Little Ones, The Emotions LAB, The Anxiety Lab, The Tech LAB and the Hierarchy LAB.