Inspiration comes from a variety of sources
We have many great therapists in Norway, and through courses and education I sometimes meet some of them. It`s usually very inspiring, since they knit their theories together with their work in exciting tapestries. Last year we were on a lecture by a therapist called Per Isdal. He tried to help violent men, and told us about burn-out or compassion fatigue in that regard.
Yesterday we had a meeting were one of the lead psychiatrist at our clinic, talked about the same theme, and we had to fill out a questionnaire that asked about felt tiredness, stress and satisfaction with our work. Luckily I was in the “no risk” group, which I think comes from the meaning I derive from my work. I truly feel that I can help, and nothing is better than seeing my clients blossoming. To see them walking forwards through strive, and to be there when its extra rough, is an honor, and I try to remember that every time I`m afraid, have too much to do, or just think about everything that is wrong with the world. I also think that going to lectures and reading relevant books, has helped support my sanity and ability to help.
Help for the helper
I`ve read many good books this year, and one of them is “Help for the helper”. It is packed with quality advice and knowledge, and is also easy to read. P. Isdal recommended it himself, so I immediately ordered it and prioritized reading it. The ideas from the book were reawakened today, after reading “treating complex PTSD`by Courtis and Ford. I came to a part about sensorimotor psychotherapy, and it reminded me on features from “help for the helper”. I then remembered one of the sessions where I applied the theory, and wanted to share it with you. Some have said it would be good if I shared more from my clinical practice, and I want to do that, at the same time as I keep the privacy of my client and duty of confidentiality.
Working with abuse is a lot about listening to signals from the body again, and that means that we have to explore memories and feelings that might awaken fright or terror.
Unfortunately, I can`t go back in time, but I can do everything I can to help them live the life they never had.
By being observant on what happens inside me, I actually help them realize what happens with them. It can be subtle things: That I suddenly breathe slower, or that I need to push my chair back, or maybe that I feel uncomfortable. When I get unusual reactions like, I ask myself like Rotschild recommends: What is going on right now? Maybe I have picked up on something they are feeling?
We are mirrors
When we see someone play the piano, some of the same nerve-cells for moving the fingers are activated in our brain as in theirs. When I subconsciously register that my client feel scared, I will “mirror” this and start FEELING scared myself, and often too a degree where my heart starts to speed up or my breathing starts to change. Monkeys who never showed fear toward some object, might actually feel fear for the same object later if they see another monkey react that way.
- Intriguing Trauma Treatment (lilyscot.com)
- Fighting Apathy by becoming a Helper (pretendyouregoodatit.com)
- Homeostasis Refers to More Than Just The Planet
- Interview with Patricia Smith: Founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project
- Video about the discovery of mirror neurons
- Ramachandran Essay –– If you don’t read the whole thing, check out his thought experiment at the end.
- How Stuff Works – Article about mirror-touch synesthesia.
- Monkey Do, Monkey See –Very interesting interview with Daniel Glaser
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.13). 04/2007; 2(1):3-11. DOI:10.1093/scan/nsm005
- Review: Hem Helpers Do Their Job at a Great Price (stilettojungleblog.com)
- You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is brave. (lifeanditswhatnots.wordpress.com)
- How Do You Know Your Shrink Is Helping You? (psychologytoday.com)