Learning Some Tricks of the Trade

Have you ever wanted to learn some tricks of the counselling trade? I find myself often intrigued by the numbers of people who want to ‘GET OVER IT’ as quickly as possible. And fair enough! Why would you want to spend months walking down a certain path when there is a quicker way to reach your destination?

Over the years I have found that some things – especially in the field of human development – take time. Like a seed you plant into the earth needs time to germinate and grow for a certain time to become a flower, brush, or tree, people need time to grow. But there are conditions that can speed up that growth: for the seed that would be fertile soil, enough water, warmth, and protection from bad weather or weeds.

For people’s growth and healing similar ‘speeding up’ processes are possible. You can learn to connect better with people, you can be more confident, you can stop being anxious or depressed … and it doesn’t have to take much time at all. NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming, has given us plenty of great tools to speed up certain growth processes.

I am offering a series of 6 Saturday workshops, starting 30 April 2011, where I will pass on a range of very useful NLP tools and skills that people can then apply in their daily life.

If you are curious and would like to know more about it, go to my website, drop me an email, or call me for a chat about the workshop.

Survivor Support Groups Term II/2011

The new dates for the Sexual Abuse Survivor Support Groups at Raeburn House are finalised. There are still a few spaces left for both groups. It is advisable that participants are in some form of counselling so that any critical issues that might be triggered by group conversations can be worked through appropriately. People should discuss with their counsellor their wish to attend our support groups.

Moving Past Sexual Abuse
This group looks at the long term effects of abuse and explores how to move past them. Besides attending to difficulties participants encounter in the present, we will spend time each session exploring: disclosure, safety, self-awareness, coping strategies, boundaries, stress, and trust.

Thursdays, 10 weeks, starts 5 May 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Facilitator: Dr. Gudrun Frerichs
Total Cost: $60
Surviving Sexual Abuse
This group aims to aid recovery and strength for women in a safe environment. Besides attending to difficulties participants encounter in the present, we will spend time each session exploring: group members’ relationship styles, family dynamics, understanding and embracing sexuality, feelings, shame, assertiveness, support systems, and self-esteem.

Wednesdays, 10 weeks, starts 11 May 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Facilitator: Dr. Gudrun Frerichs
Total Cost: $60

Course bookings and payments can now be made online
at www.raeburnhouse.org.nz

138 Shakespeare Road
Milford, North Shore 0622
PO Box 36 336
Northcote, North Shore 0748
Raeburn House
Phone: (09) 441 8989
Facsimile: (09) 441 8988
Email: info@raeburnhouse.org.nz

ACC: 6 Months After The Review

Almost 6 months have passed since the Independent Review came out about the state of affairs regarding the hotly disputed ‘New Clinical Pathway’. Since then the ‘sexual abuse community’ (if you can call it that) has been holding its breath waiting for the changes to be implemented.

Unless something slipped through my radar, nothing has changed. There have been no official announcements that the demanded changes have been actioned upon. The proven policy of ‘wait quietly and see, the opposition will run out of steam’ has again shown to be the most effective. Continue reading by following this link.

Letter To My Younger Self

Today I came across a lovely blog post from a fellow blogger. The title was “Letter to My Younger Self”. I became curious to see what Rachel (the blogger) wrote. (The post is no longer life anymore.) Those of you who know me will understand that: I hold the strong belief that a big part of the recovery journey is to find a place of compassion, love, understanding, respect, and appreciation for the younger SELF who managed to cope with the abuse.

When I make this statement I hear frequently “Yes, maybe, BUT see how much I am struggling, see how much I am in pain, see how difficult it is to reverse the dissociation”. The way the younger Self coped is creating a whole lot of problems today.

My counter-argument is usually: The younger You coped with something horrendously difficult and confusing the best way s/he could. S/he did so with the limited resources and understanding a child has; often with barely any support. You can now, as an adult, make the necessary changes.

However, the first step is to give recognition to the child in the form of love, care, respect, understanding, appreciation. It won’t be long until one by one your problems will start melting away.

Coping When Disaster Strikes

A terrifying disaster like the Christchurch Earthquake has a huge impact on people. We are confronted with the fragility of life, with the unpredictability of our physical safety on this planet, and with our inability to protect ourselves and loved ones from such tragedies. Trauma people may have experienced earlier in their lives often gets triggered and they find themselves thrown back again into the depth of traumatisation.

When you have been touched by a traumatic event and you feel emotionally numb, irritable, angry, or tearful, don’t be self-critical because these feelings are some of the normal feelings people have as a response to an un-normal event. You might experience sleeplessness, hypervigilance, nightmares, or avoid thinking about what happend: all these reactions are normal. These symptoms may go on for several months and in some cases they could turn into a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Whilst we cannot ‘not’ be affected by trauma one way or the other, most people are free of any symptoms after a few months. However, there are a few things people can do to help coping whilst they experience trauma symptoms and to avoid longlasting problems.

The world has seen devastating catastrophic events such as natural disasters, extreme poverty and famine, wars, political terror, slavery, and the abuse of individuals on a grand scale. Yet, in the aftermath of devastation, traumatized individuals have usually been able to recover and rebuild their lives and their countries. One characteristic of human societies is that people come together and seek closeness with others to help with the integration of traumatic experiences. “Emotional attachment is probably the primary protection against feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness; it is essential for biological survival in children, and without it, existential meaning is unthinkable in adults” (Kolk & McFarlane, Traumatic Stress, 1996, p. 24).  Seeking and giving support when traumatic events strike is one of the most effective ways to help people cope.

In times of crisis and heightened stress the first rule of conduct is: BACK TO BASICS. In order to be able to keep up with the extra pressure on your emotional and physical functioning, its vital that you look after your basic needs first. You can only be of help to others when you are taken care of. A car without petrol is no use to anybody … it won’t run.

Make sure you get some decent amount of food – actually, foods high on carbohydrates (sugars) have a stress reducing effect – and don’t forget to stay hydrated. Without enough fluids we humans tend to not function that well. It is also important to get enough sleep, and if you can’t sleep, get some rest somehow. Stay active by either helping with the clean-up, running, cleaning up your yard or house, giving a hand to people in need.

It helps to stay away from alcohol, recreational drugs, and cigarettes. These substances compromise your thinking speed and quality, and they are an extra stress on your body.