From Research to Practice to Fiction


Since the early Nineties, I’ve been passionate about the wonderful women and men I met in my private practice who went on the sometimes odious path of recovery from childhood abuse. I’m sure if people knew how many obstacles they have to climb and how many hoops they have to jump through, many would think recovery is not possible.

But it is!

I’ve seen it many, many times. Never have I seized to be amazed by the courage and determination I’ve seen in survivors. That determination and courage spoke of Life’s force to be whole and healthy.

It wasn’t an easy decision to take my shindle off my door and retire. But it was time for me. My body told me, enough is enough. Looking back over the last five years in retirement, I know never again to ignore the wisdom of my body.

I became a writer. Well, maybe I always was, writing stuff in here for the last 11 years. After a wee detour into writing romance novels–I never would have learned about writing without the amazing women in my Wellington romance writers group and the NZ romance writer’s conference–I’m now writing about Elise, a woman with multiple personalities, who fights for her sanity and freedom as she’s framed for murder.

It’s fiction… made up, but certainly partially based on my experiences over the many years in my private practice. I’ve seen the struggles, witnessed the inner fights. My aim is to write Elise’s story from a point of authenticity, that is rarely found in the writing, fiction or non-fiction, about MPD. Maybe that way I can contribute to change the strange picture that is still painted about people with multiple personalities.

The characters of the book started their own website a few days ago and told me I’m not allowed to interfere. I hope all goes well and cross my fingers! You can check it out here!

I’m interested in gathering a small group of people with intimate knowledge about the struggles and joys multiplicity brings to read through my chapters and tell me where I’m off track and, hopefully, where I’m spot-on. If that is you, please email me, using the contact form.

That’s me for now. It’s almost Christmas, and I wish you a safe, peaceful holiday. Take Care!


New Beginnings

plantIn my preparation for coming ‘back to work’ I glanced through old comments and notifications and found a comment left in 2008 “How do I know I am with the right therapist”? I don’t know how I answered back then, but today I thought “What an interesting question”. How do therapists/counsellors know that they are right for a particular client, and how do clients know that they are with the right therapist?

Often both clients and therapists fall prey to the assumption that therapy is the only path to recovery and/or that therapy with a particular therapist is the only path to healing. This is a dangerous assumption. Let’s not forget, the client is doing the healing, not the therapist. The capacity of the seed to become a fully grown, healthy plant is within he plant, not with he gardener. He or she is only providing an environment in which that growth can accelerate. When the seed is not growing the gardener has failed to provide the appropriate environment.

Unfortunately there are plenty of therapy models that base the lack of progress in therapy on shortcoming in the client: s/he is either in denial, avoidant, hostile, has a negative transference, is lacking trust, or (my favorite one) NOT READY. And although that might all be present in the client, it is the therapist’s job to provide the right environment for that to be addressed. That’s the therapy. If clients wouldn’t have these negative symptoms, they wouldn’t need a therapist.

It might be useful to revisit what a therapeutic alliance is. Judith Herman writes in her book trauma and recovery p.134 and 147

the relationship between survivor and therapist is one relationship among many. It is by no means the only or even the best relationship in which recovery is fostered…Though the therapeutic alliance partakes of the customs of everyday contractual negotiations, it is not a simple business arrangement. And though it evokes all the passions of human attachment, it is not a love affair or a parent-child relationship. It is a relationship of existential engagement, in which both partners commit themselves to the task of recovery.

I read that interpretation and think of compassion, care, respect, understanding, and appreciation. If we (therapists and clients) can make that happen as best as we can and as often as possible, we are having a good thing going and growth can take place.

Coming back to the above question of how to know that you are with the right therapist my response is: when you are starting to feel better, think better, and function better. I personally don’t believe in the old saying “…it has to get worse before it can get better”. I think that is a tragic ‘invention’ of a pessimist who got hold of the fact that many people have to hit rock bottom before they act against their habitual beliefs. But it is by no means a law of nature. Things can actually get better starting NOW.

So, how do therapists/counsellors know that they are right for a particular client, and how do clients know that they are with the right therapist? I would love to hear your thoughts on that 🙂

Hearing Voices: From The Inside Out

This is a lovely 14 minute clip of Eleanor Longden describing her journey from a perceived madness to recovery. Besides any doubts we may have of her diagnosis of schizophrenia, her process of recovery sounds very much like recovery from DID. Take care, take faith, and take hope.

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 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!

Does Counselling Work?

 Hands The other day, on my way to town, I listened to talk-back radio questioning the counselling industry and wanting to hear from listeners whether counselling ever worked for them. Listening to some of the comments made, I was amazed how quickly people are prepared to judge without bothering to do at least some research, looking for facts, or doing at least some sort of deeper thinking.

Counselling and counsellors have been the target for much ridicule and sarcastic comments for many years. In a society that puts a lot of emphasis on being successful, showing no weaknesses, and appearing spotless, having to go to a counsellor must mean for many people the ultimate declaration of personal failure and weakness.

Read more here

Climbing the Mountain of Sexual Abuse Recovery

This blog is about climbing the mountain of recovery from sexual abuse. It’s about the struggle, the hopelessness, the hurt, the obstacles, and the joy that comes with undertaking such a transformative journey.

I remember one of my teachers saying:

“Therapy is like climbing a mountain. You have a guide/therapist who knows the territory and a climber/client who puts her/his faith into the guide’s hands. Therapist and client are connected with a strong rope while they are covering the same territory. The therapist never more than a few steps ahead of the client”.

What is written here is about such a climb. Its as much about my own recovery from sexual abuse as it is about your recovery. Let me guide you through the territory that I have traversed many times over the last 20 years both as a survivor and a therapist. Some of the places may be familiar to you while other places may be new, scary, or exciting.  

The views I am showing you here are through the looking glass of a survivor who has found recovery through therapy. I have tried many other means and shortcuts – even trained in some of them – only to find that they are at best band-aids. When I asked survivors “what was the most important in your recovery”? ALL of them said something like: “my therapist understanding, my therapist being there for me, being listened to, being respected, being believed”. The healing aspect always was the relationship between them and their therapist.

Therapy became the safe haven where they felt safe enough to talk about their past experiences of sexual abuse. Here they shared their hurt feelings from not being loved and cared for in the way they needed, about being betrayed and losing trust in people, and about feeling responsible for the abuse. They talked about feeling out of control and not trusting themselves, about their shame and guilt, about their hopelessness, and about their sense of powerlessness and victimisation.

How well they coped depended to a large extent on their relationships. A breakdown of an important relationships was often the catalyst that brought people into therapy. Relationship conflicts and the sense of injustice, disrespect, and victimisation survivors experience in many different situations often remained as the dominant theme during therapy. Relationship conflicts always evoke feelings of immense distress and easily trigger memories of abuse experiences from the past. Repeatedly survivors asked me “Do I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘kick me’, or why do I always meet people who treat me badly?”

This blog is all about how survivors are climbing and what they have found helpful on their journey to recovery.

Dissociation – Multiplicity – Recovery

Savatore Dali 1925: Woman at the WindowI wish all my readers a wonderful ‘TwentyTen’. As the new year begins we are looking forward to the coming days, weeks, and months hoping that the hard times of the past year are behind us. I hope that you find in the New Year all you need: support, love, care, rest, peace, healing, and well-being.

I hope that in some small ways this blog may help you on your way to recovery. It is heart-warming to see how much support and caring readers express to each other through their comments. I would like to encourage everyone to keep using this site as a place for support as well as for information.

If there is any topic you think is missing here, any question you would like to have addressed, feel free to mention it here or drop me an email.

On my Therapy Blog you find lots of posts about general therapy issues such as: Depression, Stress, Relationships, Communication, Brain Research



It’s This Time of The Year Again …

PhotobucketHi Everyone! It’s this time of the year again … you hear Christmas songs everywhere – (I spent all morning baking gingerbread houses) – people here DownUnder get their swimsuits out while those Northerners huddle around fireplaces wrapped up in warm socks and pullovers.

I fiure, this is just the right time to play a little bit ‘dress-up’ with my blogs. Check out the Multiple Voices Blog with the snow-man theme, and my Gudrun Frerichs Blog being covered in Christmas Green and Red.

I have two BIG announcements to make for the time leading up to Christmas.

  1. You have a few more days to sign up for the FREE TeleSeminar “How to Accelerate Your Recovery from Sexual Abuse”. It takes place on the 22nd of November 2 pm (New Zealand Time) (that is 21st of November 6 PM US pacific time). Make sure you don’t miss out and sign up here.
  2. Also, make a note to come back to my blogs for the CHRISTMAS TREASURE HUNT. It starts on the 24thTeddy present of November and involves finding 24 gift parcels (like the one on the right!) hidden in the blog posts of all my three blogs, whereby each parcel comes with a hint where to find the next one and with a letter. All letters combined give the ‘solution’.

The First 50 people that send in the right solution will get a prize.
Prizes are: 1 – 3 = four 30 minute one-on-one consultations with Gudrun
                           value $300 each
                 4-20 = 12 week TeleSeminar: Recovery from Sexual Abuse
                           value $98 each
                21-50= E-book “The Secret of Successful Relationships” – over 70 pages of state                                    of the art relationship and communication skills – value $29 each

                                Reindeers banner