I used to notice, when I was a midwife, the differences in the way little new beings were present in the world and in how that changed in the following days, weeks, months. Sometimes the little one would be as if still asleep at first, like a tiny quiet dormouse, not really here yet. A few days later, someone had arrived, eyes open and full of depth and curiosity.
Other babes roar into existence outside their mums. I recall a new person shouting at me when only her head was born and we were still waiting for the wee body to come forth. I used to wonder about these differences.
David Wallin writes”…the need for comfort and connection in the face of threat or pain is built in by evolutionary design. It cannot be extinguished but only defended against.”
And why would it need to be defended against? It happens when, in the very beginning of life outside the womb, the need for comfort and connection has not been met. And this is so very painful to the little one that he or she has to bury the pain, and to find other ways to defend against it, against even knowing about this terrible, this deeply debilitating loss. The ways of being in the world that arise out of these circumstances are described by the kinds of attachment styles that are less than optimal.
“Mama loved her baby Ben, her small and precious child, but he always disobeyed her, he was reckless, loud and wild.” This was a favourite book in our house and now it’s being read to another small and precious child – one who is, at times, reckless, loud and wild. And at other times is thoughtful, gentle and considerate. Who is he becoming?
David Wallin writes: “It is in the crucible of the child’s first relationships that, for better or worse, the self is originally shaped.” He is writing about attachment and how the bones of who and how we are in the world are formed.
"Psychotherapists are applied neuroscientists who create individually tailored enriched learning environments designed to enhance brain functioning and mental health." (Louis Cozolino)
I put this great quote on the front page of my website because this extravagant way of describing my work made me smile. In retrospect, I guess people sometimes wonder what it really means
Lots of folk come to therapy for the first time, of course, & don’t know what to expect. Some of those will inevitably ask me: So what’s the management plan? How is this going to work? And there always is a plan, of course, but not a one size fits all.
“Therapeutic jurisprudence says that the processes used by courts, judicial officers, lawyers and other justice system personnel can impede, promote or be neutral in relation to outcomes connected with participant wellbeing such as respect for the justice system and the law, offender rehabilitation and addressing issues underlying legal disputes. Developed by Professors David Wexler and Bruce Winick in the United States in the 1980s in the context of mental health law, it is now seen to apply to all areas of the law and across cultures and is the subject of international study and development.”
You know those moments when regret sneaks up on you? Something that happened long ago and you would rather not remember it. Inflated with time and reeking of shame it circles you for a while. You think you’re on your guard but suddenly you’re on the floor. Got you again.
In the Oxford dictionary transition is described as “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” This can be a hiatus, a pause, a waiting and resting time, or it can be a very intense time when there is a realignment or a turning.
Those of us who work in what may be called ‘the helping professions’ such as nursing, midwifery, mental health practice, disability support or any profession that involves working with people who are in crisis or needing assistance in other ways, are often called upon to make great demands of ourselves. Long hours or very busy days, the challenges of working within a bureaucracy, the sometimes difficult relationships with our colleagues and our managers, and the needs or demands of our clients can leave us feeling hollow, exhausted and sometimes resentful and confused. Often too, without realising it, we manage and absorb vicarious trauma on a far too regular basis.
If you're thinking about doing some psychotherapy, you can go about it in several ways. Group therapy is one option you might want to consider.
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