When clients ask themselves , "will I ever feel better?" or " once I have felt this way , how I will I ever go back to being how I was before?" I often think of the healing process as something we grow through and around. We become aware of what has hurt and what has been difficult but throughout the therapy journey, our experiences can be understood and we develop new ways of being and dealing with life. Within a Psychotherapeutic setting, clients are encouraged to be real and honest in a way that is not always easy in everyday life . We take on roles in our lives , as parents, carers, professionals, teachers, directors, to name but a few: yet what we cannot do in these roles is always be truly honest in the sense of what is going on for us in our internal worlds : we may want to protect others or not put any worries onto them or we may be having to function and survive.
Being real: at some points we need to confront what is challenging us and we may ask for help, often people feel overwhelmed to the point they feel physically unwell and cannot carry out their usual daily routines and activities. There is also a lack of connection with loved ones or people may feel they have lost some of their spark and motivation.
What I love most about the work I do as a counsellor is the way people amaze me . The strength , depth and tangible resilience of spirit I see in individuals leaves me
in awe of the human soul’s capacity for healing. When we talk about trauma , we don’t talk enough about the post traumatic recovery and growth. The end of therapy is where it all begins from what I have witnessed.
I have seen clients overcome debilitating anxiety to live full , happy lives . I have witnessed those who have lost loved ones , despite the pain, move into a place of giving and receiving so much love and support to others . My younger clients who have witnessed traumatic events , events which could shape them, refuse to be defined by them . They say to me they don’t want people to see what they went through , only the people they have become through the experience.
Hiding behind someone’s deepest pain are parts of themselves that need to be reclaimed, through therapy the difficulties have a space , people reconnect to themselves and integrate all the parts of themselves so things have a fluidity and emotions and come and go in a healthy way .
Our body is a vessel for our emotions and we can store and hold frozen capsules of experience unknowingly, often when we are ready to look at these things they will thaw and float to our consciousness , sometimes taking us by surprise . I have clients ask me why after so long would they get a reaction to an event that happened many years ago . There are several factors to consider, there may have been a trigger to an emotional memory , they may have embarked on a healing journey willingly and be implementing new tools for exploration, they may hit a low point and this can be a catalyst for a past event or it may be that they are simply ready and in a stronger place to deal with something that happened long ago .
Survival may mean that at the time of an event it may not be safe to fully process, so nature will allow us to tuck things away until the time is ripe to really sort out and process what happened .
In healing and recovery there are a few things to consider : support is needed , as much support as you can find in terms of friends, family , colleagues , therapists , pets , calm environments and healing spaces .
Consider you are healing physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually - all levels are entwined . When we work on the body we work on all levels and same the other way .
Journal your thoughts , dreams, ideas, feelings and insights along the way .
Find a therapist with the model of counselling which resonates - do your research .
Self- care is paramount , self compassion and an open mind .
Recovery is all about the journey and the unfolding , take each moment step at a time . Listen to yourself, what do you need? What is your intuition telling you ?
Remember behind the tough times we find ourselves ! The human soul is amazing . I have seen miraculous things happen over and over . Believe in the essence of who you are .
Lisa-Jayne Maltby is an Integrative & Humanistic Therapeutic Counsellor (MBACP & UKCP) who works in private practice and agency settings in Hampshire. She works with Young people, Parents and Individual Adults and has a background in School Counselling ( both private and secondary state schools ) in the UK and Internationally. Specialises in working with individuals experiencing Bereavement, transition and change, Post trauma work and a variety of emotional and psychological challenges, helping people for over 16 years.