Moving Past Sexual Abuse Group Starting Soon

Raeburn House, Auckland, New Zealand, is running another Moving Past Sexual Abuse group. In the past the group was organised as a support group in which participants would be surrounded by survivors who understood their experiences and sharing one’s stories and supporting each other was the strongest emphasis.

This new Moving Past Sexual Abuse group is about discovering ways of how to leave the abuse and the legacies of the abuse behind oneself. Rather than concentrating on what happened in the past the emphasis is on having a life worth living NOW, today, and the days to come.

You will be shown how it is possible to regain control and reconnect with joy, wisdom, and peace of mind. You will find that the capacity to live in wellness has always been dormant within you waiting for you to connect with it. The Moving Past Abuse group is geared to help you realise that potential!

You can expect that we will address how to deal with anger, difficult emotions, social connections, relationships with self and others, depression, perceptions, thought, and in general how not to be ruled by the past.

Here are the starting dates and details:

When: Mondays, 8 weeks, Starts 30 July
Time:·7:00pm – 9:00pm
Total Cost: $80
Facilitator: Gudrun Frerichs
Venue: Raeburn House, 138 Shakespeare Road, Milford

For more information contact Raeburn House, phone: (09) 441 8989 or emaillearning@raeburnhouse.org.nz.

Find more interesting groups run by Raeburn House by going to their website.

New: Moving Past Sexual Abuse Seminar

Raeburn House is running again a sexual abuse survivor group. In previous years the survivor groups were ongoing support groups that accommodated survivors to attend for several terms. They were designed following the three stages of Judith Herman’s model described in Trauma and Recovery (1992). Since then our understanding of recovery has evolved and the new group will take place with an emphasis on learning rather than sharing one’s experiences.

We will explore the three principles that are behind our psychological experience so that people can overcome the debilitating symptoms often found in the aftermath of sexual abuse. That involves gaining an understanding of how our feelings are created, how to deal with low moods, how to discern between low quality of thinking and high quality of thinking, and how to cope/deal with distressing feelings.

When: Wednesdays, 8 weeks, Starts 2 May 2012
Time:·12:30pm – 2:30pm
Total Cost: $60
Facilitator: Gudrun Frerichs
Venue: Raeburn House, 138 Shakespeare Road, Milford

To enrol contact Raeburn House directly on (09) 441 8989 or email learning@raeburnhouse.org.nz.

The ABC of Anxiety

I was watching breakfast TV this morning to catch up on the Cold Blast that has a tight grip on New Zealand for some days now. While sipping my hot cuppa after the weather update I listened to a psychologist talking about anxiety, how normal it is (according to her more people are suffering from an anxiety disorder than do from depression), how the body responds, and then offered a smorgasbord of suggestions how to deal with anxiety: relaxation, meditation, yoga, and if nothing helps seek out a health professional. This is the standard advice and treatment given for anxiety – besides drugs. How then is it that anxiety in increasing and people struggle with it for years? Can it be that there is something missing in understanding anxiety?

Anxiety is a derivation of fear. We never speak of a fear disorder, because fear is a NORMAL response to a dangerous situation. In a split-second the brain takes in the circumstances of the environment through the senses, evaluates it on whatever prior knowledge or experience people have of similar circumstances. Then it shoots neurological commands (mainly through the neurotransmitter adrenaline and cortisone) through our body to either freeze, fight, or flight. The commanding thought that goes with it is for example ‘Oh, help, run, or I am going to be killed’! When you stand in the middle of the road and a truck is coming you way, you want to quickly mobilize your body and get out-of-the-way. You will want to run. Fear helps you to do so. When the situation has passed, fear will leave your body and your physical chemistry will go back to ‘normal’.

Anxiety on the other hand, is not so much about a real situation. Anxiety is being fearful of something that is not real. Anxiety is about something PEOPLE THINK is real – but it isn’t because it has not happened yet and may or may not happen at all. Anxiety is a feeling people have because they have a thought or a battery of thoughts about a future situation they are making up inside of their heads. “If I am late for work I will be fired” or “If I speak out I will be hurt” or “The share market will crash and I will lose my money” or “I might lose everything if there is another earthquake” or “If I get closer to my partner I will get hurt”. These are just a few examples of fearful thoughts, worries about possible future events or consequences that are the cause feelings of anxiety.

Unfortunately, the human brain has no way of distinguishing whether something is real or people just think it’s real. It will respond the same way as it does in dangerous situations: adrenaline and cortisone will flood through the body – yet there is nothing OUT THERE to respond to, only an imaginary threat. People don’t have to freeze, flight, or fight. The way I see it, spiralling anxious thoughts leads to more flooding with neuro-chemicals which might lead to a full-blown panic attack.

One might say there is no such thing as an anxiety disorder. It should be classified as a thought disorder – although I think it is not helpful to be seen as a disorder at all. It only benefits the pharmaceutical industry who can sell millions of dollars worth of drugs, without addressing the root cause of the anxiety, people’s thoughts, but instead messing around with people’s chemical make-up.

Anxiety is more about lacking understanding how our brain works. Once individuals can be helped to see that their thinking is causing their feelings, they are in control of changing that. They can let go of their worrisome thought by learning it is just a thought, it’s not real. The average person has 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day. Why not wait for a positive thought about NOW and give energy to that? Let go of the negative thought of what might happen if…, it’s not real. When you are in a calm state your inner wisdom will tell you whether you need to do something about your investment portfolio to be less vulnerable to share market fluctuations. It is not hard to see that a state of high anxiety is not helpful for making good decisions or plans.

 

PTSD Viewed Through the Lens of 3 Principles

Those who have followed this blog are aware how intensive I have covered the issue of overcoming the legacies of abuse and neglect. The simple reason is because dealing with flashbacks, memories, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and a toxic self perception seems to be the tragic struggle most survivors have in common. Not only that, it’s also a struggle that seems to take many many years to overcome for a large number of survivors.

But what if it doesn’t have to take forever and forever to deal with the aftermath? I don’t know any survivor who wouldn’t want to shorten the time until s/he is OK again, having a peace of mind, being in touch with a natural sense of well-being, balanced life, and overall contentment and happiness.

I have found this blog post that offers a challenge to those approaches to therapy with traumatised people who focus on re-visiting the traumatic moment, catharting feelings and emotions, and re-interpreting past experiences. Instead, principle based psychology is resting on the notion that every human being has an innate sense of health that we can access through our thoughts. It is important to understand the connection between thoughts and feelings. If our thoughts are negative and/or painful (for example: “I am such a cot-case”) we will feel depressed or sad or anxious. Thus the quality of our thinking determines the quality of our feelings.

Sydney Banks, who first conceived the Three Principles said “The most important thing to remember is it’s not what you think – it’s the fact that you think. Thought holds the secret to all our happiness, all our sadness. Once you realize the power of thought, I guarantee your life will never be the same again. If you have a positive thought and you put life into it…positivity happens
and you start to live in a positive life”.

Hop over the blog and read the challenging article. I would be interested to hear what your opinion is! Read this fascinating article here!

Letter To My Younger Self

Today I came across a lovely blog post from a fellow blogger. The title is “Letter to My Younger Self”. I became curious to see what Rachel (the blogger) wrote. 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 cope with something horrendously difficult and confusing the best thing s/he could. With the limited resources and understanding a child has; and 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. I encourage you to read the ‘Letter to my younger self” by clicking on the link!

Looking for the good in people

Good samaritan I came across an article about Human Goodness this morning, that got me thinking about how difficult it is for many survivors of abuse to hold on to the goodness in people. You only have to watch the latest news on TV or open the newspaper: you see human cruelty, mayhem, and disaster wherever you look. You only have to let your mind drift back in time to when you have been hurt … and think about all the other millions of people who have been victimized. Looking through this kind of a lens is producing a dark, grim picture.

The article reminded me that there are lots of little moments – and probably big moments as well – that might go unnoticed when we see through glases coloured by hurt and negativity. Maybe people are intrinsically good and we get distracted by the stink of a few rotten apples?

How about you conduct your own research and spend the next few weeks looking for the signs of goodness in people: the smile of a sales person, the driver that gives way to let you join the traffic, the friend who rings you up to see  how you are, the person who texts you 'thinking of you', the stranger who bends down to pat a dog tied to a tree.

The outpooring of compassion for the families of the lost miners in Southland has been one  of the examples where human goodness is so boldly visible. Go onto the facebook  site 'supporting the Pike River Miners' – 101600 people have shown their support.

I love to hear about your experiences of having found the 'good in people'.

 

 

On Children: Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil-gibran-drawing-archer-living-arrows Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I love this poem! It so clearly affirms the rights of children to find their own future unhindered and unharmed from other people's thoughts and actions. Do you like it too?

On Children: Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil-gibran-drawing-archer-living-arrows Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I love this poem! It so clearly affirms the rights of children to find their own future unhindered and unharmed from other people's thoughts and actions. Do you like it too?

Is Your Anger Appropriate or Inappropriate?

Angry(2) What is appropriate anger – and is there such a thing as inappropriate anger? Anger is one of the eight basic emotions (they are joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation) we observe universally in people all over the world. Anger is a valid, necessary, and appropriate human emotion.  I consider anger, like all other emotions, as data, or better: emotional information about the quality of an experience we have. Whereas in the distant past anger has informed humans about immanent threat to their lives, nowadays anger rather informs us about a trespassing, injustice, disrespect, or pending  physical or emotional harm.

Continue reading

How To Have A Happy Childhood?

J0411818 One of my favourite sayings is “It’s never too late to have
a happy childhood”. This is particularly true for survivors of sexual abuse. When
you are a survivor and you struggle to function in daily life, you missed out
on the vital ingredients to a happy childhood: emotional support, care,
respect, appreciation, and age appropriate challenges, which all together can
be described as the ingredients that make up love.

Continue reading