Wave your clients goodbye…

It’s not the first time that one of my clients passes away: every time is sad, it comes with a lot of questions, and not many answers.
I could spend hours and so much ink describing transference, bond, boundaries, relational depth or emotional therapeutic warmth.


As with everybody, some clients touch you more than others, we learn from each other, we feel the journey we are walking together has a different vibe, that those sessions carry within them a deeper meaning, at times not just spiritual, but almost esoteric.
And maybe because there is death involved (at times planned, at times unplanned, at times expected and still denied) our role as therapists, my role as a therapist, molds into chaplain, healer, and silent companion; perceived as a friend but ‘never quite there’. Their stories become one with our own past: to explain it, to understand it; to even forgive it, at times.


Clients come to us for an outcome. But they ‘choose’ us for a reason: we become each others’ messengers, companions, angels.


And after this last week spent mourning and letting go of whatever obvious surrounds this last story in order to keep the essence, I have decided not to explain, not to justify, not to clarify as from a text book.


My nature is to stay. And I have stayed.
My nature is to listen. And I have listened.
My nature is never to forget that I am a human being, first. I am not God, I do not have answers for everybody, I am fallible, because in this ‘job’ we don’t have *one answer fits all*. Never.
My nature is to feel. I have felt. I am feeling. I accept what I am feeling. There is nothing wrong, ever, to whatever anyone’s feeling. E V E R
My nature is based on congruence: I am me [= woman, therapist, artist, chaplain, writer, walker, neophyte skateboarder, lover of the sea, …]. You cannot get just a side of me, I cannot lie, or be fake, or pretentious.
My nature is to take care of myself / my Self. I am doing this, constantly.
My nature, my reason for being here, now, on this beautiful spinning Earth, is to stay with, empower, support, inspire people so that they set off on their own healing journey.
I am here, cheering them on the side.


And waving them goodbye.

Inspired by: S+F, J, M, A and R, beautiful souls who have all touched mine deeply, and have now moved on.

therapists are human beings : a vlog?

#001

It has been a while since i have reflected on my on sense of integrity and congruence between me as a therapist and me as a human being in therapy.

Have you ever questioned yourself if you would be excused (as a therapist) if you made a mistake? Would your client still come and see you? And pay you? What are your clients’ expectations: to be cured, saved, helped, directed, forgiven…? By someone who potentially makes mistake and that at times is a mess inside and all snotty on the outside?

I have been having some similar questions, dipped into some anxiety, fear, and a pinch of subtle frustration / anger. Hence, I made a short video and I really would like to keep up a sort of diary, journal, a vlog basically in which to explore the me as a human being and the me as a therapist: do they perfectly match? Do they collide anywhere?

I know I do have a manifesto as an author and artist: is this the same as a therapist? Do they have to be the same? Do I need one as a human being? Would you expect your butcher to have a manifesto / agenda / ethical framework?

What i can tell you for sure is that my approach can be found where psychotherapy, spirituality and philosophy meet: right there. Very possibly it is also where you can find my ethics, my soul, part of my body and my Being, some of my thoughts, my fears and my shame, my inadequacy and humiliations.

I will be there.

Enjoy the video #001 : please : like, subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you!

ps: and if you fancy reading my book, you can still find it here!

 

Searching for Funds… for Research

I made a vow: that I would invest my next 7 months in scientifically researching a connection between Trust, Hope/Faith & Recovery from Addiction.

I have given myself some deadlines:

  • gathering of material and background study: from 18 Nov 2015
  • start of project Monday 11/01/2016
  • start of evaluation Monday  18/04/2016
  • start of write-up Tuesday 24/05/2016
  • completion by Thursday 30/06/2016
  • presentation by Friday 22/07/2016

In order to gather the necessary data for the research, I will need funding for the following (estimate):

  • books £100.00
  • access to research papers: £100.00
  • travel expenses £100.00
  • stationery £130.00
  • access to Survey Monkey £300.00
  • printing £150.00
  • ink £20.00

    time x writing £100.00 : 20 hr @ £5
    time x evaluating £300.00 : 15 hr @ £15
    time x interviews £200.00 : 20 hr @ £10

    This adds up to a total of £1,500.00 for a research to be carried out over 6 months (£250.00 a  month).

The final aim of the research is to understand a possible mean to minimise addiction and relapses in recovery from addiction, reducing also the distress in the families providing understanding, advice, information, and support. Needless to say, that this assists the advancement of a healthy behaviour by the reduction or prevention of addiction and relapse for those in recovery, with consequential reduction of harm and offending. As an outcome, it also provides the advancement of education and progress of the individual supporting sustainable recovery and increasing proactive social involvement.

I am convinced that, follow Erikson 8 psychosocial development stages, the main and first lesson any person should learn in Life (i.e. Trust) is missing in someone in addiction (and hence, recovery). In order to learn Trust in adulthood and during recovery, Hope must be acquired.

The fundamental question that I want to research is:

should Hope be connected to and found via Faith only? What is the difference in relapse time between a believer and a non-believer in recovery? What is the difference in relapse time between someone who is Hopeful and someone who is not?

For this reason, I have opened a Crowd-funding page here. Please, go, have a look, read; and pledge.

Thank you!

Stoptober 2015: 1 Nov & my Chimp Brain

No panic! It’s the 22 Nov and I’m still a very happy non-smoker!

As advised by the chemist and by the literature I’ve been reading, I’m still using only the patches (no gums, lozenges, or other), even if sometimes I forget to put them on (!) and I normally realize that in the middle of the night when I simply cannot sleep and I’m sweating, tossing and turning in bed asking myself why… because during the day, woman, you wore no patch!

But one Sunday morning I woke up, I went downstairs, grabbed a coffee, sat on my sofa, stroke the cat and then BANG! …

FAAAAG

I stopped and thought: where is that thought coming from? Because it wasn’t a physical craving, nor a psychological need of a reward or to fill a sense of nagging boredom. Nothing was different: I did not change the coffee, my sofa was the same, my cat was the same and this time, this voice was like coming from outside of me, from a buried part of my brain which I did not recognise. I never felt that feeling, that voice, that buried urge to smoke before.

It was scary: believe me. Me, the rational, good, studious person, who knew everything about addiction and recovery, read all the books, knew all the theories… where did that ‘thing’ come from? What was it? … and WHY?! Why that Sunday morning?

And then, I realised.. It was the First of November, wasn’t it?!

I decided and convinced myself I was doing Stoptober… So, a part of my brain (which I have nicknamed ‘the Silly Bitch’) was counting days and I was totally unaware of it… that part of my brain, the chimp brain, was my automatic coping mechanism, which has worked so well previously during many years of struggles and problems and pain and hurts; that part of my brain did not need my rational and logic Self as on a day-to-day basis in order to live and survive (!). That part of my brain was independent and autonomous and had almost an identity on its own. It did not need Me. I always needed It, not the other way round.

I could only describe it as that kind of spinstery plain secretary that works in one of those open plan offices, the one dressed in grey and boring green, pony tail and glasses, no make-up, not a smile, always alone and silent, does not talk to anyone, eats always alone, never goes to a do, or a Friday night for a drink with the rest of the Company; but… she somehow knows everything about everybody because she listens, she checks, she keeps track of who’s who and who goes out with whom, who comes in and who goes out and then one day she simply opens her mouth and everybody is scared because ‘she knows things’… that’s my Chimp Brain! That’s my Silly Bitch!

So, what to do now? Well, I decided to ‘talk’ to that part of my brain: I told the Silly Bitch that I love her and that she had done an amazing job up to now, that I recognise all the times I could probably not have dealt properly with Life without her help in the past but now… BUT NOW… we could have worked together to change my autopilot: no more “fight or flight”, no more automatic extreme responses, no more reaching for fags.

I was different. This is when I realised I can really make this thing work: (still) one day at the time, retraining my Self.

So much so, that I have decided to make a vow and to commit myself to explore, research and produce a document that examines the connection between Trust, Hope and Faith in addiction and recovery, from a Nichiren Buddhist perspective.

Of course, I’ll keep you posted!