I am a 29-year-old girl from Norway where I work as a psychologist. On my free time I love to read, travel and experience new things. I also like taking photos and creative activities like scrapbooking and decoupage. My personality? For those of you who know the BIG 5 personality test, I am high on Openness, Conscientiousness, middle on agreeable and on extroversion/introversion. It basically means that I`m a flexible person, work hard, usually don`t make a fuss and love to be with others, while also needing to be alone to think and calm down. I also want to add that I love the Italian language, my family, Haruki Murakami, good music and my friends. I am VERY emotional, but calm when I have to be. Earlier I had a tendency to put other`s needs first, believing that I wasn`t worthy of any attention myself. Luckily I have grown in heart and mind since then, and learnt that being there for others mean taking care of your own needs first.
This blog is a blend of my personal story (called narrative or the sound of..) topics related to psychology and just random things I find interesting. I work daily as a clinical psychologist, and most of my clients have been abused and neglected in heartbreaking ways. Many of my posts will cover subjects related to trauma and dissociation. I am quite open and honest in my posts, because I believe it might make us psychologist less mysterious.
Most of the psychologist I know are kind, intelligent people. Some with their own stories, but all with a genuine wish to help. In this blog I want to share what I know about overcoming challenges and following your dreams.
Since more and more people have started to read this blog, I unfortunately found it necessary to password protect some of my more personal posts. If you want to read them, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I am also on twitter (@ninjafighter), instagram and Facebook. I also have two other blogs that are dedicated to psychology and the “Kindness project” that I started one year ago, You find them here: Free psychology and The kindness project.
In the last blog I post interviews with different people. I ask them questions about good things they do, and my hope is that their answers will inspire others to do be kind towards others. I have also invited guest bloggers to share their stories on “Free psychology”. They are brilliant writers, so feel to explore their story on this blog. I am always open to invite more bloggers who want to write, so feel free to contact me at any time if you`d like to write about topics relevant for the blog.
I started my blog three years ago, and it has grown so fast I almost can`t believe it. I am really proud of it, and grateful because I have made new friends and found other blogs that I like.
I want to thank all my readers and offer some encouragement to everyone who suffers or have done so in the past. I have been in the deepest valleys myself, and felt emotional pain so intense that I was afraid of it.
I hope this blog might prove that the fight for a better life is worth it.
- What Are the Different Types of Psychologists and What Do They Do? (psychology.about.com)
I have been raped. Now I got it out there, for everyone to see. The psychologist, who should have been secure and unscarred, that never managed to live up to that expectation.
It happened 8 years ago. I went on a date with a guy that I met on the Internet. I was sure it would be a good evening, as he promised to cook me dinner at his place. He was gorgeous on the pictures I’ve seen, and generally seemed like a nice guy. At that time I had not yet learned how terrible wrong I could be, I hadn’t met my ex the narcissist, just been in loving relationships.
At the beginning of the evening, everything was fine. But then he started to get aggressive in his flirting, and I went along with it. I still thought he was gorgeous, and felt a bit ashamed of my shyness. I didn’t want to be a girl that boys didn’t like. But somewhere in my stomach I knew it was wrong, and the feeling got stronger as the evening progressed. I had a lot to drink, as he kept filling my glass even when I told him I’d had enough. At this point, alarm bells were blaring inside me, and I started to get really, really afraid.
Several times I said I had to go, but he told me: ‘Can’t you stay just a little longer?’. He was so charming, so used to the hunt, that I didn’t know what to do. After a while, I excused myself and went to the bathroom, feeling relief flooding my hyperactived body. I thought this meant I could escape from his persistent kisses and fondling. But when I opened the door, he was waiting outside it. By now I couldn’t think clear. I didn’t know this man, and had no way of knowing if he could be a really dangerous. So I went into freeze-mode and escaped the prison of my body and fear. By floating away and blocking everything that was happening to me, I could cope as he dragged me into the bedroom.
I made feeble attempts at stopping him, and watched the door and him like a hawk. In desperation I thought: Didn’t he need to use the bathroom? Wouldn’t he get tired of me when I realized I didn’t want this? But none of this happened, only in my happy-ending fantasy. So I floated into oblivion again and still can’t remember the exact details of the rape.
The thing is, I’m only one of many. Even if I live in Norway, one of the riches counties in the world. But abuse happens here too, and I’ve been shocked when I’ve worked with many of the worst cases of it and realized its more common than any of us could imagine. Not even in our nightmares.
I never thought i would tell this to anyone, and now I’m actually publishing it here. I’m a bit scared, but also proud. Because this means that I’m still fighting, that I’m thawing from my freeze-mode. Now I’m able to stop things like that from happening again, even if it took a long time and many traumatic experiences before I got that far. By sharing this I hope I’m one step further down the road, finally ready to face the monsters who always were two steps behind me.
Have you heard the history of the man who complains of God not giving him with what he wants? After a while, an angel comes to him and asks: “Why didn`t you do anything with all the opportunities God gave you” ?
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post where I complained about the uncertainty of my current situation. I was worried about economy and what I shall do after Christmas. I felt helpless, and like I had no control over what would happen to me. And then I came to work today and discovered to emails in my inbox. One week ago, I wrote several emails to Italian psychologist associations, to inquire about working in Italy. When I got no answer, I let it rest and thought I had to discard my plan. But, strangely enough, the most important emails I sent (to the EMDR association and psychologist association in Italy) were answered, AT THE SAME DAY. I have experienced a lot of these synchronies before, where everything just lines up neatly in front of me, so I don`t have to stumble anymore. As if this wasn`t enough, my worries about economy were also soothed, as I had gotten another email providing me with the funds I need to arrange a concert in September. I also got an invitation to an arrangement I had waited for.
When I was in Rhodes with my family, I told my stressed mother that she just needed to relax. That the universe would fix everything. She shook her head in disbelief of my naivety, while my brother nodded sagely in agreement. There has been many occasions in my life, where I felt like her, but usually I told myself it would all work out fine, and it always did.
How can this be? Why am I so lucky, and does this work for everyone?
I cannot answer that question completely, but I do think that trusting that a solution will manifest itself in one way or another, has some truth to it. It is like being on a boat on a stormy sea. You can either shout out in rage of the unfairness of it all, or you can look around you to see if there is anything that can save you. You can let your body react, as it does very well in a crisis, and trust yourself. We all have the ability to change our circumstances. To see opportunities when they arise, and grab them like it was the last thing on earth.
So, just trust the universe. And you will get what you need.
There are many beautiful songs out there, and this is one of my favorites at the moment.
McLachlan wrote it after hearing that Jonathan Melvoin, the keyboardist for the Smashing Pumpkins died after a heroin overdose in 1996.
“I wrote “Angel” after being on the road for almost two years straight and was both mentally and physically drained,” McLachlan wrote. “I went to a cottage north of Montreal to relax and write and read an article in Rolling Stone about the Smashing Pumpkins keyboard player who had OD’ed in a hotel room.”
She continued, “the story shook me because though I have never done hard drugs like that, I felt a flood of empathy for him and that feeling of being lost an lonely an desperately searching for some kind of release.”
The song has had enduring popularity and has been used in a number of different ways, with some uses (such as in a child memorial) misconstruing the lyrics. McLachan said during a Reddit AMA that she doesn’t mind that it gets used in so many different ways. “I think once an artist puts a song out there, it becomes open to interpretation, and I purposefully leave a certain amount of ambiguity in songs so that people can relate the songs to themselves and to their stories,” she said.
“And for me, it’s a great validation as an artist to know that something I’ve created has gone out there in the world and helped people to heal, or to feel something, in a profound way like that.”
For me, the song is about safety when everything feels like it`s falling apart. A symbol that at our darkest moments, there is someone who wants to protect us.
This year I`ve read a lot. Some psychology books, but also fiction. One of the psychology books I`ve read, that I want to review here, is “Uncommon therapy” by Jay Hayley. The book is from my favorite therapist, who I wish I was. I have written about him before, and try to remember that nothing is impossible every time I have a client myself.
Milton H. Erickson, M.D. is generally acknowledged to have been the world’s leading practitioner of medical hypnosis. His “strategic therapy,” using hypnotic techniques with or without actually inducing trance, allows him to get directly to the core of a problem and prescribe a course of action that can lead to rapid recovery.
Milton Erickson was an interesting therapist and scientist: With creativity he tailored therapy to each client so that it fitted perfectly. He was the perfect “mirror” for others, so much that he actually could “talk” exactly like the client in front of him. He strongly believed in the unconscious, and in letting people find their own insights. He could tell little anecdotes that were completely right for the client. An example was an alcoholic that lived in a family where everyone drank (even his own wife) and drunk for several years. He was considered a hopeless case. Milton gave him a task: He should go to a park and sit down to watch a cactus for several minutes. Erickson told him this cactus could live without water for three years. 5 years later his sister called Erickson and told him both he and his wife had stopped drinking. He also used Reframing, mirroring and the paradox intervention. And example of the first, is when he sent a rootless client to Flagstaff so that she created new positive associated to a place that just seemed negative before. An example of the second is when he met a patient that tore things apart. She tore and threw everything she saw: Clothes, curtains, wallpaper. Generally, she was acting out. Erickson stood beside her and did the same thing, he tore up pieces of the wallpapers and threw things here and there. He exclaimed: “This was fun! Let`s go somewhere else and do more of it”. They came to a hospital, where he ripped the clothes off a nurse.
After this event, the girl became an angel, not knowing that the nurse in on the whole thing. An example of the paradox intervention was telling a woman who had severe problems with her weight. Erickson told her to try a new method where she first would gain a certain weight before she started with dieting. When she no longer had to restrain herself, she suddenly lost the weight she needed.
The book “uncommon therapy” provides a comprehensive look at Dr. Erickson’s theories in practice, through a series of case studies covering the kinds of problems that are likely to occur at various stages of the human life cycle. The results Dr. Erickson achieves sometimes seem to border on the miraculous, but they are brought about by a finely honed technique used by a wise, intuitive, highly trained psychiatrist-hypnotist whose work is recognized as a major contribution to the field.
I loved the book, even when I was somewhat shock at how brutally honest he could be at times. But it seems like it works, since he always wants the best for his clients. Even if Erickson`s dead, his legacy lives on.
When she was little, her grandfather told her about the cloak of invisibility. A little girl wanted to get inside a palace, but as she was poor and never could get inside, she could only dream. One day a fairy appeared, holding a blood-red cloak, sparkling in the sunlight. She carefully draped it around the girls shoulders, and left. Three days later, when she by coincidence looked into a mirror in a hotel where she went in to wash her face, she startled when she could`t see herself in the mirror. In shock her cloak fell off her with a heavy thud, and she magically reappeared. Picking it up and taking it on again, she vanished once more.
The following days, she experimented with her cloak, and not only could she not see herself in the mirror when she put it on, no one else could either. With a thumping heart, she went to the palace. The cloak firmly around her slim body, walking with shaky legs, she stepped inside her palace of her dreams. Not only did her eyes rest upon beauty she never knew existed, but she also saw the prince himself. He was so handsome, that her cloak almost fell off her again, but she managed to avoid the disaster by clutching it tight. Three days later, she ventured into the palace again, and saw the prince sitting in the library, reading a book with tears streaming on his beautiful face. Without thought, she ran over to him, always eager to help. When she ran, her cloak made her trip and she fell, exposing the body she always tried to hide. The prince looked up from his book in shock from the loud thud, and the sudden appearance of a girl right in front of him. Their eyes met, and if there is such a thing as faith, this was it.
Three years later, they were happily married and had a girl, a little princess. The girl with the cloak, was never invisible again.
Her grandfather looked at his grandchild and smiled. She sat there, in rapt attention, dreams floating in her eyes. She looked at in him in awe and asked with a tender voice:
«Can I have a cloak like that?» He chuckled, stroking her hair and thinking he would give her anything, if he only could. On her 4th birthday a present was under a bed together with a little fairy doll on top of it. Eagerly she ripped off the paper, exposing a beautiful red cloak with glittering beads all over it. Before her parents, who always disapproved of her no matter what she did, could come in and realize that her grandfather had indulged in her once again, she hid it in the closet where she herself hid when her father roared in anger.
Later, she tried it on. She hid her bruises, misery and pain, and felt safe underneath the soft satin cloak. When she heard footsteps outside her room, she did not shiver like usual. She only put the cloak tighter around her, hiding in her closet, murmuring that everything would be okay. Like magic, her father left her alone, though he probably knew she sat there, and could have dragged her out to the bed like he sometimes did.
She had always felt invisible, even without a cloak, but this time it felt good. When she recalled how much fear and horror she endured in her life, as an adult, she knew that she finally could change her future. Her cloak was always with her, no matter how dirty and ragged it became. Bit by bit, she felt safe enough to show small pieces of her invisible self to people who loved her. She managed to hide when someone untrustworthy came into her life, and slowly the bruises that had marked her body for so many years, faded. Sometimes, in the darkness before the dawn, she still put the cloak on, and little by little she managed to show herself to the world. She was like a broken mirror, but slowly the pieces came together again, and finally, one day, she was able to look at herself fully. Her husband, a kind man, helped her and found many of the broken pieces. Handling them with care, he fixed the mirror together with her, until they both could look into each others eyes without ever having to turn their gaze away from what they both hid inside.
At their third anniversary, he hid a present under her bed, with a little fairy on top. Her eyes filled with tears, as she saw the soft present underneath it. With shaking hands, she unwrapped it. A new cloak, even softer than the first one, appeared. Her tears flowed freely now, and when her husband came in with a birthday breakfast on a silver tray, he came over and held her hand. Carefully, he draped the soft silk around her shoulders. To her amazement, he wore a black cloak himself, shining in the sunlight from the new day. Together, they walked over to the mirror.
Her tears stopped flowing, and in that moment, life was good.