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!

 

Stoptober 2016 : one year…

one year… one year…

I made a video not to celebrate the event (even though I will!) but to explain how I did it.

So, thank you very much for watching the following video!

In this video I am presenting my own personal experience with Stoptober 2015 and the tools I have used to quit smoking. Please, do remember that you can do it as long as you find your own system, what works for you and you are prepared! Good Luck! You have all my support and I’ll be sending you good vibes the whole month of October!


Any info regarding Stoptober can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/stoptober and on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/stoptober

You find us here: The Resting Tree: https://www.facebook.com/therestingtreelancs/

Should you need any more info, you have some questions or you would like to book a session with me, please feel free to contact The Resting Tree
via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/therestingtreelancs/
via email therestingtreelancs@gmail.com
or via the website https://therestingtreelancs.com/

My previous video about morning ritual : https://youtu.be/Ow7YEAN_IpI
Dandelions Fields Notebooks : http://amzn.to/2cIh5tI
Midori Traveller’s Notebook: http://amzn.to/2btL0cN
Leuchtturm 1917: http://amzn.to/2b6zi7s
Paperchase : http://amzn.to/2cA1ocl
Moleskine Pocket Reporter Ruled Notebook : http://amzn.to/2cIfdBd
Smash Book Eco Green Folio : http://amzn.to/2c6yhwB
Timu Leather Journal – Brown – A5 – by Nkuku : http://amzn.to/2cA4nBg

Thank you for watching!
Matilde Tomat

a life script: earthquake

I find working with Life Scripts extremely fascinating. And here is why:

Picture this day, the 6th of May 1976, North Italy. I am 8 years old at the time.

I go to school during the morning; dad picks me up and we are having lunch together at the barracks were he works; when we finish and go out dad notices some dead irises along a narrow stream nearby, flowers which were alive when we got there before lunch; dad talks to me about the nature of things, and death, and the caducity of life… and as a kid I can only feel a sense of impending doom; we go home to get changed but I feel scared so I follow my gut feeling and hide my favourite doll under a desk; we leave home and travel 30 km south to meet with mum and my younger sister; we go shopping and buy some new uniforms for dad; we meet with granddad and uncle and have dinner all together in a restaurant; the evening doesn’t feel serene and I remember arguments.

At a certain point, around 9pm, an earthquake. A strong one. A bad one. A dangerous one. Everybody screams and leaves, but for granddad and me. He tells me to keep on eating. I remember being so scared I was shaking. I feel abandoned and desperate. But granddad repeats that ‘this is life, and you just get on with it’. Later on in the car mum cries, sister cries, and I can physically sense sadness and drama. But I have survived.

friuli-1976

The 6.5 quake was centred on the town of Gemona del Friuli; it killed 939 people, injured  over 2,400, and left 157,000 homeless. It killed also my best friend; and most of my school friends. My dad started dying that day.

I survived. I am a survivor.

And this is how it happens: I have always thought I was a survivor, and that I should be grateful for it. As a kid I could not understand exactly what was going on, but children create their own stories: I survived because this and this and then this happened.

I survived because this and this and then this happened. A series, a specific sequence of events.

  1. I go to school (good girl)
  2. I feel impending doom & ending & death
  3. I experience mysticism
  4. I feel attached to objects
  5. I spend money for other people
  6. Arguments with family / uneasiness / not serene
    1. earthquake
  7. Abandonment + fatalism + ‘get on with it’

And now I can see how the pattern repeated itself in most of my life:

  1. I am a Perfect Daughter, so I act as a Good Girl
  2. I feel impending doom, weird sensation that the status quo is about to end
  3. I turn to mysticism / religion straight away
  4. I get very attached to objects / the story / … attached in general!
  5. I start spending money to compensate / attract
  6. Arguments begin >>> end!
  7. I leave with the sense of ‘It would have ended anyway!’ (fatalism / self fulfilling prophesy)
    1. + life is hard / shit
    2. + I just have to get on with it
    3. + I will survive / make it anyway

So, while as a child, I subconsciously thought that I survived only because of the sequence of events of that specific traumatic day, as an adult I repeat the same sequence of events over and over and over again – so that I can continually prove to myself that I can survive.

At this point I have a choice, don’t I? What if I start asking myself these questions*?

  1. What changes do I want / wish for in order to enhance my life?
    1. I do not want to feel a survivor any more, I want to thrive
  2. How will I need to change to get what I want / wish for?
    1. I don’t have to leave, I have to stay and speak my mind with honesty. Because when I don’t either I leave (survive) or I go back to pleasing and being a Good Girl which then leads me back to the beginning of the cycle again.
  3. What needs to happen for me to make this change?
    1. I need to be courageous enough to speak up
  4. What am I willing to do in order to make this change?
    1. Be vulnerable and risk.
  5. How might I sabotage myself?
    1. I might say to myself that it’s not that important, that even if I speak things won’t change, people won’t listen, people won’t understand, I made it before so I can make it even now,…
  6. How will I and others know when I have made the change?
    1. I will be assertive and won’t compromise unless it really suits me
  7. How will I reward myself for making the change?
    1. I really have to think about it… I feel a hint of sabotaging creeping in just now (!) … I may give myself permission to journal and be artistic without judging myself 
  8. What will I do in my life after I have made the changes?
    1. I will have gained respect; and I will live and thrive ♥

 

… I will live and thrive ♥…

So, what’s your life script?

 

* http://www.ta-psychotherapy.co.uk/pdf/101.pdf – p.21

2012 – 2015 : lessons learned

I stopped and thought. And found something I wrote back in 2012. When everything seemed gloomy and depressing, lonely and worthless. I know it might look long; but I could not change a word of it… pls, stick with it

*** *** ***

FB_IMG_1450692465333

So, one day you wake up, you get ready and you go to work. The next day you wake up and you don’t get ready to go to work. You are not on holiday. You are off work, unemployed, on the street. For fun you might change your status and info on Facebook: Current employment: employed at Unemployed (it seems that Facebook does not allow you to be simply: unemployed).

What next? You gather your documents, your P45, your last wage slip, your National Insurance Number and you make that fatal call to the JobCentrePlus: it takes minutes or hours (in my case: hours, which became days) to explain everything and every single detail. You fill in forms, you talk to the lucky ones employed at the JCP and you wait in line. You are told what to do, where to do it and exactly when to do it. You sit and wait. And you look around at the other people who, like you, sit and wait.

What are they thinking about? One whistles, one talks on his mobile, one checks her nails, one has the colour freshly done with those horrible black markings around the forehead and around her ears. You start thinking: I would never employ anyone of them: that is too scruffy, this is too uninteresting, she is too loud, he is too ignorant, that’s way too rude…

Then, it downs on you: you are in that queue, too.

You are, for any reason, without a paid occupation. And you are becoming too argumentative, too patronizing, too pathetic. They might have technical or manual skills you do not have; they might have family issues you do not have; they might have health problem you are lucky not to have.

You are there, we are all there for the same reason: to beg for the State to pay us some money every couple of weeks so that we can buy food, petrol and pay our bills.

Whatever the reason you are now unemployed (Company run out of money, your position is no longer available, you are not enough qualified, you have done something wrong, nobody wants you, you are unemployable, you have got too many tattoos, et.) you need money to survive in this society. Whatever happened before, whatever kind of life you lead before, it does not exist any more.

And if you are like me, you have no mother, no father, no family to fall back to, no kids, no partner and are living in a country which is not yours by birth. You are Ms No One.

You have degrees, many hours of expertise on your shoulders, you read many books; have certificates, dreams and hopes. But you are still in line.

Your rhythms, your daily patterns, your expenses, your thoughts, your behaviour, all this and more will change. Your relationships with other people will change. Your attitude towards reading the newspapers or watching TV will change. What you will talk about will change: you will moan, you will beg, you will be depressed. The people around you will change. Going out on a Friday night with your work mates? A bit difficult now. You will find yourself with a lot of time in your hands and will not understand why you cannot talk, see, visit people at any hour of the day. This is why: they are working.

You will discover a new town: at 12pm it is going to be you, others unemployed, mothers with kids and pensioners around. You might find yourself recognizing the old chap who buys the same lunch everyday and sits in the same spot and makes the same comments. Everyday. You will start unpretentiously listening to the conversations at the tables next to you: the school, the bills, a mourning, a family friend who run away with the neighbour, looking forward to catch up the following day. You will smile to that old lady with lilac hair who struggles walking up the road and one Thursday you will wonder why she is not out any more. You will talk about the weather, the price of pies, the best sandwich in town, which is the strongest tea, the 3 for 2, the buy-one-get-one-free, the football match, the cricket you knew nothing about before, the races, the betting, the documentaries on TV you considered silly and for ‘thick people only’, before. Not to mention the doctors, prescriptions and medication. And you will cringe when one day you will hear your voice talking about ‘the old days when I was working’. You are getting unhappily comfortably old. Where are now your slippers and pipe, or your needles and wool? Have you started considering gardening coupled with a weekly trip to B&Q?

You will realize that, since you now have so much time on your hands, everybody is asking you favours: can you do this? can you do that? can you look after my children, can you come and clean, can you… do you mind… would you… could you… if only you… just because you don’t work. Volunteering for friends and family: the new unspoken form of slavery. You feel that too many people are now expecting something from you: the JCP is expecting you to fill in all the forms and go there every two weeks at a precise time and you should actively look for a job everyday for at least three hours on the internet (which, thanks to Facebook, become five); your parents might be expecting you to go round daily ‘just for a chat, you know’; your partner is expecting you to clean the house, get dinner ready, do the pots, the shopping and the ironing because you don’t work; your friends expect you to watch their kids, help them out building that shed, organizing that barbecue, to listen to their moaning about their managers/marriages; your neighbour is expecting you to move the car, mown the lawn, sort your yard; the council is expecting you to pay the taxes and fill in the bins properly; the bank is expecting you to pay the mortgage and all you are expecting to is actually to turn into an ostrich. And because they work and, of course, they are stressed, they all shout at you.

On the other hand, your thought might shift from: ‘I have paid taxes all my life and hence I am owed money’; to ‘Thank the Lord I’m getting something this week. Pies are only £1.50 down the road’. You will dread hearing people making comments about ‘all those who cannot find a job and I’m paying all these taxes to support them’ and ‘look, all those foreigners milking the system’; or ‘Britain First’.

You will desperately look for your job, the one you have studied for and got a degree in and have been paid for till the previous month (Me, washing pots in Restaurant? No chance, I am a PA) then you will look for anything that comes around (What, am I over-qualified to wash some stupid pots?!? Why haven’t I studied Pot Washing AdvCert at Uni!), then you might even find yourself comfortable in not doing anything and just being at home watching TV.

You might start feeling depressed, having a bit of stomach ache, feeling down, sad, very tired, feeling sleepy, bloated, heavy, shaky, constipated, headaches that don’t go away, prone to flu – cold feeling. You will realize that your sleep patterns have changed because, hey! there is a movie on TV at 11.45pm and who cares if it is late: tomorrow I don’t have to go to work. So, the next day you wake up at 11am. Or one evening you realize you haven’t eaten anything the whole day and wait! I don’t even remember what (or if…) I have eaten anything the day before.

Or many nights you will go to bed thinking what you should pay the following day. But you haven’t got the money. And you wake up feeling tired already still thinking about who or what you should pay. So, the easiest way out is stopping to answer the phone. The next step is not opening the mail you get. And then you don’t answer the door, you don’t go out any more. You don’t wash yourself nor dishes and pots which pile up in the sink. You live in your pyjama on the sofa among crumbs and fags. But, hey! you know all the stories that go on on Corrie. Or who goes out with whom, who split up with whom: what an achievement… Your days are just one long movie with four gipsies and a big brother who get strictly married at a border with some Australian police force during the Second World War and they all go dining together after having been relocated via a time machine in the 60s in just a heart-beat. The Grand Design of your Life written by Mrs Cookson. Carry on, Sophie!

What was one single problem has become a huge mountain of problems, letters, unwashed hair and teeth, unpaid bills and unanswered phone calls you don’t know how to address.

You blame your Company, you blame the State, you blame your ex colleagues, you blame your family, your friends, the ‘foreigners’, the double-recession, the Euro zone; your phone company for the upgrade you did not need, your bills Sky-high (I still watch only Poirot, anyway), your new car (I’m single, why did I buy a 7-seater?), the new sofa in a colour that does not match your mood (‘makes me sick now!), the new windows (who cares for a bit of draft?), the new carpet (I could have cleaned it), that holiday in the Caribbean (what’s wrong with Lytham?).

You blame yourself. And you blame God.

You get angry and bitter. You don’t know what to do and hence you do nothing. Besides maybe drinking and smoking too much.

One day you look at yourself in the mirror and you notice all those down-facing lines around your mouth and realize you haven’t smiled in ages.

***

Let us now take some steps back:

So, one day you wake up, you get ready and you go to work. The next day you wake up and you don’t get ready to go to work. You are not on holiday. You are off work, unemployed, on the street.

What do you do? ++

TRT logo

*** *** ***

…and then I’m looking at myself now: thanks to being unemployed I went back to college, I attuned myself to my vocation, I studied, I learned about myself, I discovered humility, compassion and Nichiren Buddhism (no need to blame God now); I got a cat, I fell in and out of love, I laughed and cried; I embraced my past, my parent’s addiction and my co-dependency, bought a house, got a divorce and The Resting Tree was born.

Three years and three months.

September 2012 – January 2016: many things can happen.

So, if you and I are both having a bad day and things seem to go not the way we planned and expected, let us not fuss about it too much: it’s just a day, in the great scheme of things. I have learned to take even the bad days (and the very bad days!) with the *this could be as good as it gets* kind of attitude (or, nothing is going to be any better than this kinda-bad I’m experiencing now). It taught me to put things into perspective and to simply enjoy what I have and learn contentment in the small things. Not easy when you carry at least 40 years of conditioning and Catholic guilt which run in your veins. But that led me to better my Self. So, also my situation changed.

It can be done.

Sending good vibes, as per usual ♡.

*

++ © Matilde Tomat 2012-2016 – You may not, except with my express written permission, copy & distribute or commercially exploit the content or part of it. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system. Thank you for your understanding. 

2016 : resolutions & yoga challenge

Well, Happy 2016!

(if we decide to believe in dates…)

I have spent three days over the Christmas period (at Salus, Withnell Hall, Chorley) in teaching / discussing / planning but most of all understanding New Year Resolutions and how to make them work. New Year Resolutions are no different from any other resolution and we all know (or should know) that in order to make them last and hence work for us, we need to use our older part of the brain, the limbic system, which is connected with pleasure, instinct, rewards, addiction (!), and sex (!); and that part does not like nor understand reasoning, logic and language.

Hence, it is absolutely pointless to talk us into doing something if that something does not give us in return a pleasure. My quitting smoking in October was not linked to a better health nor more money in my wallet (those are just by-product of the action of quitting) but with the pleasure I personally get from breathing properly and the sensation of pure and utter freedom, which to me is somehow addictive! (= freedom of choice, freedom of thinking, freedom of behaviour, not being dependant from anything nor anyone; basically, being a rebel!* – that was and still is my WHY)

So, I have decided to join a challenge (and see what kind of pleasure I can get out of it…): it is a (free) 30-day Yoga Camp Challenge.

If you fancy joining me, please follow the links below…

Yoga with Adriene – #yogacamp

Yoga with Adriene – main website

Introductory Video, as below:

 

Yoga with Adriene YouTube – her YouTube Channel

20160101_174738

Let me know if you decide to follow me and then we can share our thoughts!

sending good vibes, and love, as per usual 

 

*rebel: in this case, simply being free; and at the same time accepting the consequences and responsibilities of being free; of not being scared of freedom, accepting it and making the most out of it; being in-dependent.

Stoptober 2015: 3* month & pain

I have learned something new; and here it is!

I don’t know if you remember when I was previously writing about the three-worse-three: third day, third week and third month.

My ‘cruellest month’ is not April (thanks T.S. Eliot) but December. I woke up one day, about two and a half weeks after having quit also nicotine (no patches any more, thank you very much) and my body was in agony. Every thing was an effort, every thing was in pain. I felt like if a massive steamroller had been parked on my bones the whole night, and as if a constant electric current was creating spider webs linking my knuckles to my wrists to my elbows, to my knees to my ankles: I felt a decrepit, old, agonizing puppet.

Even my hair was hurting…

Could that have simply been cold or flu? Possibly, but I had no temperature. Either my body decided that it was time for me to experience rheumatoid arthritis to a whole new level; or, I was about to die.

I am not the kind of person who runs to the GP immediately, so I spent about 10 days trying the usual supermarket remedies, topped by herbal concoctions I remembered from home. I still went to work but believe you me, everything was an effort! I didn’t feel like eating, I was also sweating, tossing and turning in the middle of the night… I was feeling really poorly. I went through menopause before and I saw the other side of the tunnel, but it really felt I was experiencing that all over again.

One day I decided that I couldn’t take that pain any longer and when two friends also commented on the shade of pale white my face was displaying, I went to see my GP, who confirmed that if felt like if I was fighting some kind of inflammation: there was a battle going on and we needed to understand where and who was winning.

I went through a series of detailed blood tests which came all back negative (thank you very much), except for the hormonal one: I was in menopause. Well, I knew that!

What I didn’t know was that nicotine affects hormones balance. I was really experiencing menopause again; or, better: I was now experiencing it fully for the first time. Besides my breast feeling tender and painful (and having grown an extra size: thank you very much!) the pain I was feeling in my joints and nerves was due to the imbalance (or new balance) of the level of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone produced by our body in response to both mental and physical stress and it is also the hormone our body uses to fight inflammations. Now that I wasn’t smoking nor introducing nicotine any more, my body had to find a new balance in the production of cortisol and a whole new way to fight inflammations. Not to mention that my years and years of smoking were a constant inflammation in itself and my body, not receiving nicotine any more, had to get rid of it. During the process of quitting, the body tends to shut down the immune system, since the body is going through some massive changes.

So:

nicotine = creates and manages inflammations

no nicotine = no managing of inflammation and immune system on holiday >>> me = pain!

Cortisol imbalances due to inflammation, can also cause fatigue. I was telling my friends, as a joke, that where you put me, there I would have fallen asleep. Because cortisol is designed to keep people alert in times of stress, it can then cause insomnia; and hence, the lack of proper refreshing sleep will make you tired.

What did I do in the end? quote-reminder-wellbeing-glutes-soul

I took two full days off: sofa, bed, books, soups and warm water, teas and tears.  I slept all the hours I needed, I took regular anti-inflammatories as suggested and provided by my GP, I let tears roll down my cheeks and I hydrated myself with veg soups, chicken stock and warm water.

I am not a doctor, which means that I am not suggesting (never, ever…) that if you are in pain after quitting, this is what happened to me and hence, it must also be what is happening to you: please, go and see you GP! This is simply what happened to me: now I feel much better, I sleep all the hours I need, I set aside more time to recharge my batteries and I enjoy taking care of myself. I consider the word *self-respect* my new mantra and I take a day at the time not only in the process of quitting but also (and now especially) in the process of recovery, recuperating and regenerating.

Sending good vibes and do take care out there…

Stoptober 2015: friends & habits

I went to Liverpool to celebrate something important with a couple of close friends. Do you know, those kind of friends who really know you and you really know them; and you can talk and tell stories and they are always there to help you. That kind of friends.

We have known each others for years, years filled of evenings where the three of us spent hours with bottles of white wine, fags and tarot cards.

Sometimes just a text was enough. A text with one word: Kebab?!? which meant, again: food, yes. But especially white wine, fags and tarot cards.

This weekend was different. We have seen each other before, mid October, when I just started Stoptober and I was fuelled and charged up and quitting sounded just so easy.

But this weekend, it was really different: I felt out of my comfort zone, I wasn’t in my house, we also needed to talk and tell each other the ‘last news’ and I also had a pretty sweet story to tell. This meant: white wine and tarot cards. But no fags.

I can tell you that it was difficult. It has been hard, being there with two smokers and not smoke. I could have easily reached out for a cigarette. I had to force myself and ask them to please do not give me one if I caved in and begged for a fag.

Now I am back home and the moment I sat in my car, ready to drive back, I felt protected and the desire to smoke simply disappeared.

I am wondering what’s the ratio: alcohol? smoking friends? out of comfort zone? habits?

I am also thinking: if I stayed there longer, would I have been able to create new smoke-free habits with the ol’friends, or would I have caved in?

The things I am happy about, besides seeing my friends and spending some good time with them, are that of course, in the end, not only I haven’t smoke but I haven’t even asked for a cigarette (!): I didn’t beg, I didn’t plea… and that the moment I went back to my car I was happy to go back to my ‘usual’ smoke-free life. At the same time, I have felt how easy it can be just to lower your boundaries and relapse: still, no cockiness woman! It can be just so easy…

I know a relapse is not the end of the world! But why risk it?

I think I need to focus more (again!) on the WHY I am quitting in order to strengthen my armour… and as per usual, I’ll keep you posted!

Creative Reflective Writing Course

Calling all benevolent lyrical logical outlaws, sing-my-song stringers, masters of curiosity, megalomaniac optimists, dissident holies inhabitants and glotto-libertarians for 8 Thursdays of sacred fun.

At Juice Sustainable Recovery Group in Colne, from THU 16 July 7pm

TRT FYV Juice flier

Find your Voice at Mill Hill Community Centre

We all need to be listened to, to find our voice, to have time and space to clear our mind and make the best possible decision.

I will be at Mill Hill Community Centre from 4 March, from 2pm till 5pm every Wednesday, to listen to your stories.

These will not be counselling sessions since I am only a trainee counsellor, but still… I will offer you a safe island for you to be able to open up, vent out, talk or even be silent: a space just for you.

Please, reserve your space calling 07576 007363 (2pm, 3pm, 4pm) or call to discuss possible availability of other times and dates.

Fees:

  • 20min : free assessment
  • 1 hour session: £15
  • 10 sessions : £120

trt - FYV flyer