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Of what has been lost #Trauma

A traumatic experience is closely intertwined with grief. It carries a tragic feeling of what has been lost and yet not found. I have tried to capture this poetic extract based on the work with clients. To hold space for grief is an important part of the therapeutic work.

Distanced from me, the body,

Ignoring the impulses that plea.

Disconnected from the power within,

Lived experiences forever bite thin.

Did you know, “I once was creative”?

Fragments of images make me apprehensive.

Detached when I share my narrative,

Most nights the memories act as fugitives,

Dazed for being valued and valuable,

Relaxing, laughing, breathing seem unachievable,

Dangerous to stand up on my feet, relax my shoulder and be,

Acknowledge what is lost and reclaim me.

reflection #counsellor #psychotherapy #trauma #mindfulness #mentalhealthmatters #mentalwellbeing #awareness #arttherapy ##traumahealingtraumahealing #embodied #attunement #psychodrama #reflection #EXAT #group Psychotherapy #PTSD #psychoeducation #intersectional feminism #BIPOC #motivation #wellbeing #growth #embodied #attunement #mindfulness#CALD#body oriented#feltsense #pleasure #process

Relational Safety

A poetic exploration when therapeutic alliance feels unsafe.

When you look away,

Spirit of safety is disarrayed.

When you  softly dismiss me,

My tender heart-aches to flee.

When your eyes hold me back.

Countless old memories return, snap

When formal structures take apart space.

Everyday Sensations tighten, leaving no trace,

When you appear carelessly cold.

My unprocessed trauma is unrolled.

When you cannot open up to my ways,

My body withdraws and decays.

When creativity becomes quiet,

Past beliefs return screaming secrets.

Instead when you are with me attentively,

I can flourish in our relational alchemy.

reflection #counsellor #psychotherapy #trauma #mindfulness #mentalhealthmatters #mentalwellbeing #awareness #arttherapy ##traumahealingtraumahealing #embodied #attunement #psychodrama #reflection #EXAT #group Psychotherapy #PTSD #psychoeducation #intersectional feminism #BIPOC #motivation #wellbeing #growth #embodied #attunement #mindfulness#CALD#body oriented#feltsense #pleasure #process

Becoming a therapist ! A poem

A poem that emerged in response to a question I was recently asked.

On becoming a therapist

Grateful, I was asked this profound question.
Guiding me inwards, a rich, intimate conversation.

How does one companion the bodily mystery?
Holding space and bearing witness to futility

Trusting the thresholds – towards a day of normalcy.
Unless dreams become vivid and nightmare less jumpy

Of celebrating moments of un-shallow breathing
Requires abandoning self-validation and un-saving

An inquiry into being and undoing of action
Weaving loss, pain, shame, myriad unspoken emotions

Paradigms of becoming continues – to surrender
Witnessing oneself, compassion when encountered

velveteen rabbit uttered wisely on being real.
A thing that happens over a long time, it’s alchemical.

Images courtesy -unsplash.com

reflection #counsellor #psychotherapy #therapist #trauma #mindfulness #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #healing #counseling #mentalwellbeing #awareness #arttherapy ##traumahealingtraumahealing“/ #embodied #attunement #psychodrama #reflection #EXAT #group Psychotherapy #PTSD #psychoeducation #intersectional feminism #BIPOC #motivation #wellbeing #growth #embodied #attunement #mindfulness#CALD#body oriented#feltsense

Anxiety

In recent days, I hear many people casually use the terms anxiety & anxious interchangeably. Feeling anxious is propelled by unease, worry or fear. Anxiety is a mental health diagnosis characterised by the below mentioned common presentations or their combination for a length of time. It is imperative not to self-diagnose.

A few common symptoms include

  1. Experiencing excessive fear or concern which is disproportionate to the event or the length of time associated with it. 
  2. Feeling scared or worried which impacts the processes of daily living and social engagement. An amplified occurrence of such a state could lead to a panic attack in which the entire body feels immobilised or in duress. 
  3. Feeling under threat with the survival response of fight, flight, or freeze kicking in which creates fatigue & exhaustion. 
  4. A restlessness that cannot be comforted by any known or familiar coping methods and sensed by tensing of muscles. 
  5. Impact on physical health including sleep patterns, appetite and mood. 

I would ask you to consider the use of language in referring to yourself or other. For eg. I am feeling anxious for the past few hours is dramatically different from saying I have anxiety. The reason I say that is because often I hear clients or even therapist for that matter use them interchangeably. I would remind you to consult a physician and seek medical validation.

Sometimes, knowing that you are alright could be what you need to hear. It may help you to find a release with hormones like serotonin or dopamine kicking into your system. 

If you feel anxious and it’s a propensity to life events, perhaps focus on the bodily sensations associated with it. For example, I would ask –

  1. Where does it initiate, e.g. stomach or chest?  
  2. How does it communicate its presence to you – e.g. tingling, constriction, fluttering. 
  3. If it was a messenger trying to speak to you – what is it letting you know of e.g. to slow down, take a breath, do too many tasks, rest, move etc. 

I would say in conclusion that only YOU know your body, mind and heart the best, so trust your voice & seek help.

#Psychotherapy #therapist #mental health #healing #mentalwellbeing #awareness #EXAT #attunement

Virtual sessions are the best gift for clients seeking safety.

I made a presentation to a mental health service to consolidate my experience in the past 18 months of offering virtual therapeutic service for clients who have experienced complex #trauma.  

In the past few months, I have learnt that unless the home (in which the client is currently residing) is a source of trauma, unsafe or isolating, it can play a significant progressive role in therapy. Trauma-informed therapists like myself follow a phased approach to therapy in which the first two stages we exclusively focus on safety, stabilization and resourcing. In this context, the home can become the secure base from where nervous system capacity can be built back.

I share a few of my insights due to which I am growing stronger in my belief that virtual therapy is a gift for clients with a #trauma history.

  1. The sessions are set up on an equal footing where the client, actively choose their spatial orientation, personal comfort, and objects of belonging. Some examples include determining if they would sit indoor or outdoor, on the floor or table or have their animals nearby or away.  
  2. When we have an unsettled, #nervous system, the last impulse is change, shift and transition like going to a new environment and sitting on the edge, vigilant at the slightest cue of danger. At home, the nervous system feels at ease with known scents, sights, and sounds. When we feel relaxed, we can connect to our internal and external world. Infact when we face moments of distress (during a session); association of nourishment is at arm’s reach—for example, a favourite cushion, blanket, plant or a cuddly toy. The process of pausing to attend during sessions, teaches us to do the same in-between sessions thus improving the capacity of nervous system to face dysregulation.
  3. The conditions in which we can experience #safety, trust, and resourced in a therapeutic relationship are optimal when the client, not the therapist, is in charge. I know for myself that as a therapist working with client’s remotely, I feel at the edge (of discomfort). To focus on the relational space, I have to acknowledge (in me) the unknowns that I cannot control which brings attention to how the client may be feeling in daily living. Infact, I find that opportunities to work together to problem solve can aid collaboration and connection.

Of course, this approach may not work for clients in the following scenarios 

  • When they live in a shared house without any privacy. 
  • If they are socially isolated, and meeting your therapist is an essential to aid contact.
  • Lack of optimal internet infrastructure.
  • When the client is in unstable mental health and at risk of self-harm. 

Choosing is a significant protective factor to the therapeutic process, and virtual sessions offer them like never before. 

Reference :

https://www.attachment-and-trauma-treatment-centre-for-healing.com/blogs/understanding-and-working-with-the-window-of-tolerance

Images via unsplash.com