CCChat-Magazine_Issue-15

mingrob

A FREE magazine on and around coercive control

CCChat

The Free Magazine

On and Around

Coercive Control

FREE

April

2020

When things are overwhelming

Time To Schedule in a Cry Spa

THE CCCHAT INTERVIEW

SUE PENNA OF ROCK POOL

THE A-Z Of A JOURNEY TO RECOVERY

Alison Bird on Trauma

TRAUMA &

RECOVERY


The Apple

Technique

Making The Invisible Visible


An Apple A Day

Acknowledge: Notice and

acknowledge the uncertainty as it

comes to mind.

Pause: Don't react as you normally do.

Don't react at all. Pause and breathe.

Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the

worry talking, and this need for

apparent certainty is not helpful and

not necessary. It is only a thought or

feeling. Don't believe everything you

think. Thoughts are not statements or

facts.

Let go: Let go of the thought or

feeling. It will pass. You don't have to

respond to them. You might imagine

them floating away in a bubble or

cloud.

Explore: Explore the present moment,

because right now, in this moment, all

is well.

Notice your breathing and the

sensations of your breathing.

Notice the ground beneath you. Look

around and notice what you see, what

you hear, what you can touch, what

you can smell. Right now.

Then shift your focus of attention to

something else - on what you need to

do, on what you were doing before you

noticed the worry, or do something

else - mindfully with your full attention.

If you are worried or feeling

anxious, This acronym is

recommended by

AnxietyUK.

A - acknowledge

P - pause

P - pull back

L - let go

E - explore

Making The Invisible Visible



Editor's Notes

About The Editor

Min Grob started

Conference on Coercive

Control in June 2015,

following the end of a

relationship that was

both coercive and

controlling.

Since then, there have

been 6 national

conferences and several

smaller events.

Min’s interest lies in

recognising coercive

control in its initial

stages, identifying

the ‘red flags’ of abusive

behaviour so that a

person can leave a

relationship before it

becomes gets serious,

and it's harder to leave.

Min also talks about

identifying covert abuse,

and how it might look on

social media.

Min is a public speaker

and speaks on both her

personal experience of

coercive control as well

as more generally of

abuse that is hidden in

plain sight.

Let's Grow The

Conversation!

To contact Min:

contact@coercivecontrol.

co.uk

“ To study psychological trauma is to come face to face both with human

vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human

nature “

Judith Herman

Welcome to the Trauma edition of CCChat Magazine.

This has been an interesting issue to put together, not only

because of my own personal journey with trauma but also

because of the unprecedented 'lockdown' that has been

imposed as a response to coronavirus.

Living in these unprecedented times, I am only too aware of

how many of us have experienced elevated levels of stress

and anxiety. I know this because my inbox is full of survivors

needing a listening ear because this pandemic has created

significant challenges. It is clear that social media and its

propensity to spread misinformation and catastrophise is

having a significant effect on wellbeing - both good but also,

significantly, in creating more anxiety and fear.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to split this issue into

two parts and focus much more on the recovery side, leaving

the trauma side until after this pandemic is over. I think now,

more than any other time, there is a need for coping

strategies to reduce fear, anxiety, worry and panic attacks.

Even though this issue has been split into half, it is still a

bumper issue, packed full of information that will be useful to

victims, survivors or anyone who is worried during this time.

I have also used mostly uplifting and peaceful images in this

issue to, hopefully, give some joy in these very strange times

Stay safe and see you soon, Min x

Making The Invisible Visible


Contents

The Apple Technique

2 A simple way of managing anxiety.

Editor's Notes

5 With Covid-19, Min this issue has been

split in two,with greater focus on managing

worries and anxiety.

Understanding Trauma

9 Traumatic memories are encoded in a

different way to ordinary memories.

Book Into Cry Spa

14 Sometimes it all gets too much and you

just need a really good cry.

Finding Joy In Nature

21 Taking photos of nature to help with

melancholy.

The 3 Stages of Recovery

24 A summary from Judith Herman's book

'Trauma and Recovery.'

Recovery College

29 Putting recovery into action.

Making The Invisible Visible


Contents

The CCChat Interview

32 Meet Sue Penna of Rock Pool

Self Compassion

43 Self care to prevent compassion fatigue

A-Z of a Journey of Recovery

45 Ways of alleviating anxiety during these

difficult times.

CCChat Opinion Piece

90 Alison Bird discusses trauma

Coronavirus Relief Fund

96 Introduction to Maanch

Making The Invisible Invisible



Understanding

TRAUMA

I

n

her groundbreaking book Trauma and Recovery

Judith Herman, a Professor of clinical psychiatry at

Harvard University Medical School writes: 'The

Conflict between the will to deny horrible events and

the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic

of psychological trauma.

People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly

emotional, contradictory, and fragmental manner which undermines their

credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth telling and secrecy.

When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But

far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not

as a verbal narrative but as a symptom.' As anyone who has been through,

worked with or supported anyone who is traumatised, this comes as no

surprise yet there is a huge lack in understanding of what trauma looks like, to

the outside world.

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as " an emotional

response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster." It goes

on to say that shock and denial are typical, that longer term reactions include

unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical

symptoms like headaches or nausea which, whilst normal, can result in

difficulty in moving on with lives. Judith Herman views psychological trauma

as an affliction of the powerless where, at the moment of trauma, the victim is

rendered helpless by overwhelming force, where the traumatic event

overwhelms the ordinary adaptions to human life.

When it was first included in the diagnostic manual, the American Psychiatric

Association, in 1980, post-traumatic stress disorder was described as "outside

the range of usual human experience" but Herman is of the view that rape and

other forms of sexual and domestic violence are so common that they can no

longer be described as atypical.

The common denominator, according to the Comprehensive Textbook of

Psychiatry, is a feeling of " intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and

threat of annihilation"

Making The Invisible Visible


When people respond to danger, it

arouses the sympathetic nevous

system resulting in an adrenaline rush

and a heightened sense of alertness

which may alter peception such as the

ability to disregard hunger, fatigue or

pain, as the body prepares for fight or

flight.

When escape or resistance is not

possible, the body then becomes

overwhelmed and the normal response

to danger morphs into an altered state

which persists long after the actual

danger is over.

provocations and often sleeps poorly.

This hyperarousal occurs both whilst

awake and during sleep, causing

frequent wakings during the night,

with an inabilityto tune out repetitive

stimuli that others find merely

annoying.

Intrusion

Long after the danger has passed,

people who are traumatised relive the

event as though it were still happening,

experiencing nightmares during sleep

as well as flashbacks during waking

hours, which will often occur as a

response to seemingly insignificant

triggers.This hugely impacts daily life.

Traumatic memories are encoded in a different way to ordinary

memories in that they are not always linear, but are fragmented.

Traumatic events produce long and

lasting changes in the physiological

arousal, emotion, cognition and

memory and the traumatised person

may experience intense emotion yet

have no clear memory of the event, or

they may remember it without any

emotion. Traumatic symptoms have a

tendency to become disconnected from

their source and to take a life of their

own. Many of the symptoms of posttraumatic

stress disorder fall into three

main categories: Hyperarousal,

intrusion and constriction.

Hyperarousal

After a traumatic event, the body goes

into a permanent alert mode, always

looking out for danger. A person will

startle easily, react irritable to small

The seeming insignificance will evoke

vivid memories of the traumatic event,

to such an extent that even safe

environments can feel unsafe as these

triggers can strike at any time, often

with no forearning.

Traumatic memories are encoded in a

different way to ordinary memories in

that they are not always linear, but are

fragmented so, whereas a normal

memory is like the action of telling a

story, a traumatic memory is not a

memory because of ' an inward

reaction through the words we address

to ourselves, but through the

organisation of the event to others and

to ourselves ' (Pierre Janet)

Traumatic memories aren't really

memories at all, as they lack verbal

narrative and context but exist as vivid

images and sensations.

Making The Invisible Visible



In his essay, The Concept of The Survivor

Robert Jay Lifton describes the traumatic

memory as an 'indelible image' or 'death

imprint' Often one particualar set of images

cystallises the experience , in what Lifton

calls the "ultimate horror".

The intense focus on fragmentary sensation,

image without context, gives the traumatic

memory a heightened reality. In her book,

Judith Herman describes a vivid memory by

Tim O'Brien, a combat veteran in the

Vietnam War: " I remember the white bone

of an arm. I remember the pieces of skin and

something wet and yellow that must have

been the intestines. The gore was horrible,

and stays with me . But what wakes me up

twenty years later is Dave Jensen singing

'Lemon Tree' as we threw down the parts."

This, according to Bessel van der Kolk,

is because linguistic encoding of

memory is inactivated and the central

nervous system reverts to sensory and

iconic forms of memory reminiscent of

early childhood.

In the same way that traumatic

memories are not the same as ordinary

memories, traumatic dreams differ

from ordinary dreams. They often

include fragments of the traumatic

event in exact form,with little or no

elaboration, occur frequently and with

terrifying immediacy, as if happening

in the present.Kolk suggests traumatic

nightmares occur in stages of sleep,

where people do not ordinarily sleep.

“Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma,

the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force, When the force is that of

nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other people,

we speak of atrocities." Judith Herman, M.D.

According to Bessel van der Kolk, the

predominance of imagery and bodily

sensation with the absence of verbal

narrative in traumatic memories

resembles the memories of young

children who do not yet have the

verbal narrative to explain their

memories.

The studies of children, by psychiatrist

Lenore Terr offer insight into

traumatic memory. Terr found that

non of the children in a study of twenty

children, with histories of early

trauma, could give a verbal description

of events that occured before they were

two and a half years old, but eighteen

of the children showed evidence of

traumatic memory in their behaviour

and in how they played.

Constriction

When a person is completely powerless

and any form of resistance is futile,the

system of self defence shuts down as

the person goes into a state of

surrender.The helpless person escapes

the situation, not by actions in the real

world but by altering the state of

consciousness.

These alterations of consciousness are

at the heart of constriction, or

numbing, Sometimes situations of

inescapable danger evoke not only

terror and rage but also detached calm.

Events continue to register, but in a

numbed sense, often in slow motion

and may feel like a bad dream from

which the person is hoping to wake.

These detached states are similar to

hypnotic trance.

Making The Invisible Visible


“Traumatised people who can not

spontaneously dissociate, may attempt to

produce similar numbing effects

using drugs or alcohol. ”

Studies show that although people

vary in their ability to enter hypnotic

trance, it is a normal property of

human consciousness and that

traumatic events can powerfully

activate the capacity for trance.

While people usually enter hypnotic

states under controlled circumstances,

traumatic trance states can occur in

uncontrolled circumstances and

usually without conscious choice.

Traumatised people who can not

spontaneously dissociate, may attempt

to produce similar numbing effects

using drugs or alcohol.

A study of war veterans, by the

psychologist Josefina Card showed

that men who developed PTSD were

far more likely to engage in heavy

consumption of narcotics and street

drugs.

The constrictive process keeps

traumatic memories out of normal

consciousness, either as amnesia or in

the form of a truncated memory,

because we don't allow ourselves to

remember, for fear of opening up all

the pain, terror and distress.

Though constricted symptoms are the

body's way of defending against hugely

overwhelming states, they can narrow

and deplete quality of life and prevent

healing by becoming maladaptive once

the danger has passed.

Trauma and Recovery

The Aftermath of

Violence From Domestic

Abuse to Political Terrorby

Judith Herman, M.D.

Making The Invisible Visible


Book Yourself Into

CRY SPA

Making The Invisible Visible


CRY SPA

What is Cry Spa? Do you ever have those feelings where

you are rushed , trying too hard to cope with everything

that has been thrown at you and all you want to do is

scream at the world? In the same way that I have found

myself so overtired, I have been unable to go to sleep, I

have been so stressd, I have been unable to cry.

Cry Spa came about purely by accident when, during a time of enormous

pressure. and at a time when I would have ordinarily gone out of my way to do

anything that would cause me more upset, I sat down to watch a movie,

knowing that it would make me cry, and then, having finished watched

another one, just as sad. I've done the same thing with music, when

heartbroken or in some other despair, I deliberately chose to listen to

melancholic songs of rejection and abandonment or, worse, bereavement and

wallowed in the comfort that these songs brought. They spoke to my

desolation, put my distress into words and made me feel less alone.

What I hadn't anticipated was the cathartic relief I would find from crying

until I could, literally, cry no more. All the pent up despair had been lifted and

had dissipated and although I was not exactly transported to a place of joy, the

relief of having released some of the tension meant I felt less on edge, the

migraines felt reduced, the jaw less clenched and the cloud was - even if only

slightly- less suffocating.

Now, during moments of intense stress and anxiety, I make sure I schedule in

a weekend specifically devoted to crying. It is an emotional detox; a way of

eradicating and eliminating. A wellbeing colonic, if you like.

So what does it entail, to devote a weekend to crying?

For obvious reasons, it's best to do this when you are on your own. I make

sure it's on a weekend when my children are away. Feeling sad and missing

the children is a natural starting point for Cry Spa, so we are at first base

before we've even started. I make sure I get in comfort food- something hot

and soothing- nourishment for the soul.It isn't about stuffing your face with

junk food, it's about food that tastes good, although it would be a lie to say

that junk food doesn't feature, I try and make sure that it isn't the main or

only feature.

Making The Invisible Visible


sometimes crying is the only

way to feel better

It is about releasing emotion but also

about enveloping your self in love, so

you are better able to face the future.

Setting the mood is important so

depending or where you will spend

most of your time, clear the sofa, fluff

up the cushions or change the

bedsheets. There is nothing better and

more life affirming that crisp, fresh

sheets, even better if they are starched,

so that they rustle as you put them on

the bed. Get in a candle or some oils

you can burn. The olfactory sense has a

unique intimacy with emotion so

soothing scents like rose, geranium,

vanilla or lavender can all help to set

the mood to release stress.

All that crying will make your eyes and

nose sore and your face puffy, so it's a

good idea to combine a Cry Spa with

some indulgent treatments for your

face or, at the very least, get in some

eyedrops, a soothing moisturiser, a lip

balm and lots of lotion impregnanted

tissues.

This may be going over the top, but I

even have a Cry Spa wardrobe - the

softest, fluffiest tops, leggings and

pyjamas for winter, or crisp cotton for

when the weather is warmer. Of course

there is a huge blanket, a hot water

bottle and plenty of tea. Get yourself a

playlist of the saddest songs and a

collection of tear jerker movies and cry

yourself to wellness.

AVOID ALCOHOL

Use the time to soothe

yourself with warming and

nourishing drinks. Try to

avoid alcohol, which is a

depressant, as you want to

cry to release frustrations

and pent up emotions, to

be able to feel better, not to

drown your sorrows.

Some soothing alternatives

to tea include Horlicks,

Matcha or turmeric lattes

and Barley Cup.

Making The Invisible Visible



Cry Spa Essentials:

Set aside some time, it doesn't have to be a

whole weekend, it can just be enough time to

watch a couple of sad movies. I like to make it

a whole weekend as I will also spend the time

listening to music and cooking.

Comfortable clothes

Moisturiser

Tissues

Balm

Lip balm

Comfort food

Nourishing food

Music - some ideas:

Gregorian Chants

Ethos Music - Nothing Left To Lose

Eric Satie - Gnossienes

Axi Rosenberg- Spiro

Amy Winehouse - Back To Black

Dido -White Flag

Lyeoka-Simply Falling

Verdi -Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Nabucco

Astrud Gilberto - Only Trust Your Heart

Nina Simone -Please don't let me be

misunderstood

Nat King Cole- Smile

Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind

Ain't No Sunshine Bill Withers

Andrea Bocelli - Con te Partiro

Ave Maria

sometimes crying is the only way to feel better

Food - some ideas:

Risotto

Shepherd's Pie

Sponge puddings and custard

Mashed potatoes and gravy

Soup

Bubble and Squeak

Rice Pudding

Lasagne

Cauliflower Cheese

Potato Dauphinoise

Dim Sum

Gnocchi

Polenta

Roti Canai

Udon Noodles in broth

Linguine with crabmeat

Ice cream

Trifle

Jambalaya

Moussaka

Aubergine Parmigiano/ Involtini

Movies- some ideas:

The Painted Veil

The Light Between Oceans

Sylvia

The Elephant Man

Blood Diamond

The Green Mile

Terms of Endearment

Big Fish

Hotel Rwanda

Ghost

Moulin Rouge

Butterfield 8

Jean de Florette

Remember Me

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

Bambi

Marley & Me

Cast Away

The English Patient

Cinema Paradiso

Dead Poet's Society

Making The Invisible Visible




Finding Joy

In Nature

Making The Invisible Visible


As cathartic as a

good cry can be,

sometimes we

just want to find

some joy in our

lives and one way

of doing this is to

spend time in

nature.

I

t can be really difficult to

motivate yourself to go out

for a walk, more so when you

are feeling particularly down.

The weather also plays a huge part in the

decision. Cold damp weather and the

recent high winds have significantly less

beckoning power than a bright blue and

sunny sky. One thing I've done for some

time now, which helps with melancholy,

is to take photographs of everything I see

in nature, that is beautiful. It might be a

blue sky, a vibrantly green copse or the

Making The Invisible Visible


rich blue of a linseed field, the bright

yellow of rapeseed or a beautiful

building, a blossoming tree, even the

sun's rays dancing off the surface of a

river, I now photograph these, not for

the joy they create at the time, but for

the low days, when I really need them

to lifet me up but can't motivate myself

into the outdoors.

I will often stop at a lay-by or pull over

on my bike to take a photo ( 'not

another photograph of a sunset, sigh

my children) or wake up really early

and drive to the sea for a life affirming

picture and then put them together in

one place - an album, or even on a

mood enhancing Instagram account

which only contains photos you know

will lift you out of your gloom and raise

your spirits. Look at them, when you

are feeling low. Look at them often

because, as the saying goes: small

steps in the right direction can turn

out to be the biggest step of your life.

Making The Invisible Visible


The 3 Stages of

Recovery

This is a summary of the 3 Stages of Recovery from Judith

Herman's seminal book “Trauma and Recovery”.

This model is used in therapy.

Trauma is often caused by natural

disaster, war , rape, childhood sexual

abuse or domestic abuse. It can be

caused by experiencing the abuse or

witnessing someone’s else’s abuse,

accident, or sudden death.

When several traumatic incidents

happen over a period of time, this is

known as chronic trauma. A one-time

traumatic event is known as acute

trauma.

The severity of impact experienced

from the trauma will depend on the

person, their history and any previous

trauma they may have experienced.

It is not uncommon for people who

have been traumatised to persistently

re-experience that trauma so they will

avoid any stimuli related to it.

It is likely that any negative thoughts

or feelings will worsen as a result of

the trauma and that the traumatised

person will be in a heightened state of

anxiety and hypervigilance - known as

hyper-arousal and possibly also be

reactive, so are irritable and are prone

to fly off the handle.

There may also be feelings of betrayal

and loss of trust.

The three stages of recovery, as

described in Judith Herman's book are

not a simple linear process. Each

traumatised person will move through

the stages at their own pace and may

even need to revisit the stages at any

point during their recovery, if they

later find that there is more to

process.

Making The Invisible Visible


Stage 1: Establishment of Safety

Judith Herman talks about how

traumatic events can destroy

assumptions of safety which can have a

negative impact on how you much you

value yourself. Shame and guilt often

fuel this negative experience of

yourself. According to Maslow’s

hierarchy of needs your sense of safety

and trust is established early in life and

trauma shatters that safety and

trust. At this first stage you share your

history with your therapist. It is crucial

that you feel comfortable with your

therapist as you need to feel the sense

of safety and trust which was taken

away from you due to the trauma. The

focus at this stage is about creating

more stability and reducing the

feelings of being out of control. This

stage is where a good history is taken,

so that assessments or evaluations,

agreed by you and your therapist, can

set the pace, and determine how to

move towards the second stage. Your

therapist will work on strategies that

will help you feel less overwhelmed

and more likely to stay within your

'Window of Tolerance'. Being outside

of your 'Window of Tolerance' is when

you are likely to get triggered and feel

overwhelmed with panic, anxiety,

anger or depression. The strategies

commonly used by therapists who

have experience with trauma recovery,

may include going into your

imagination to create a place that feels

safe & calm for you. Another strategy is

where you create a box in your mind to

put your memories or feelings in to, so

that you can come back to them at a

time when you are ready. These

strategies can help you feel grounded,

calm, and start to put some distance

between yourself and the feelings or

memories. When you have established

a readiness to do the deeper work you

will move to the second stage.

Making The Invisible Visible


Stage 2: Remembrance &

Mourning

This an empowering stage in your

recovery. According to Herman,

“trauma resolves only when the

survivor develops a new mental

‘schema’ for understanding what has

happened”. In stage 2, you tell your

story of the trauma by putting words

or feelings to the memory, naming the

sensations you feel in your body. It is

this naming of the trauma that may

give you a sense of the power that was

taken away from you. Sharing parts of

your experiences or being willing to

confront them is an act of courage so

you will set the pace. It may be that

telling your story brings up

uncomfortable emotions so it may be

necessary to revisit stage 1 to revisit

the strategies you learned to establish

safety, to keep you within your

‘Window of Tolerance’.

The relationship with your therapist, is

crucial. The therapist listens with no

judgment, giving you a language to use

to describe your experience to help you

construct a new interpretation of the

traumatic experience that is not based

on shame and guilt and you no longer

feel responsible for what happened.

Stage 2 can feel like putting together a

difficult picture puzzle. Patience is

important during this stage. You may

feel that you have made some progress

and then feel that you are stuck again.

When you are in the midst of the work

it may be difficult to see that there has

been any movement, yet there most

likely has been. When this stage comes

to completion you will need to rebuild

your life in the present and pursue

your dreams for the future. This all

happens in Stage 3 of the recovery

process. This will be challenging but

empowering.

Making The Invisible Visible


You may need to re-establish a sense of

safety as you approach reconnecting

with others. Now there is the capacity

to revisit old hopes and dreams.

This is an opportunity to create a new

self. Letting go and forgiving yourself

even if you had no control over the

event is possible at this time. The

positive aspects of yourself can be

embraced now. They become

incorporated into your new self.

Stage 3: Reconnection

In the 2nd stage you will have

mourned the old self that the trauma

destroyed. This stage is about

developing a new self. The goal is to

emerge with a sense of empowerment

and reconnection.

The old beliefs that gave meaning to

your life have been challenged and you

must now develop new relationships.

It is important during this final stage

that you devote time and energy to

taking care of yourself. According to

Herman, this means taking care of

your body, your environment, your

material needs, and your relationships

with others. food, body, peace.

In this process you may revisit some

issues related to safety that you did in

the first stage.

In Stage 3 of recovery you focus on

issues of identity and intimacy. The

trauma should have receded to the

past and there will likely not be the

barriers to intimacy that were there in

the past but it's important to

understand that recovery may not be

100% complete. Under stress, old

memories and symptoms may recur

but putting in place the strategies you

have learned can help you stay within

your 'Window of Tolerance'.

During such a time, it may be a good

time to reconnect with your therapist,

to both check in and practice the

coping strategies you have both put in

place, as a prevention, to help you to

focus on the present and the future

without being controlled by the past.

Trauma and Recovery: The

Aftermath of Violence- From

Domestic Abuse to Political

Terror

by Judith Herman, M.D.

available as a book and an audiobook.

Making The Invisible Visible



Recovery

College

Recovery College provides courses to help people build an

understanding of themselves. It is where the lived experience

and the learned experience join forces.

There are a number of Recovery

Colleges running across the country.

They offer educational courses about

mental health and recovery which are

designed to increase knowledge and

skills for self management of a

student's own mental health and

wellbeing. For a person with a lived

experience of mental ill health, it can

help them to become an expert in their

own wellbeing and recovery.

Recovery colleges can be used as an

alternative to, or alongside mental

health services, or to help move out of

mainstream services and they are a

place of education where service users,

carers and staff learn together.

This differs from the traditional

therapeutic approach where a client/

patient talks to a therapist, in a

recovery college both those with lived

experience of mental illness and those

who work as professionals learn from

each other.

Another difference between traditional

ideas of clinical recovery and what a

recovery college is able to offer is that

traditional recovery focuses on

removing symptoms and 'getting back

to normal', whereas personal recovery

means different things to different

people and is defined by the person

who is experiencing the mental illness.

Putting recovery into action means

focusing care on what is personally

meaningful and important and

recovery colleges provide a range of

courses and workshops open to service

users, carers and members of staff to

develop their skills, understand mental

health, identify goals and support their

access to opportunities to learn, grow

and plan for the future.

The courses are co-developed and codelivered

by people with lived

experience and learned experience of

mental health challenges.

Making The Invisible Visible


Recovery is learning to live a meaningful life beyond

illness, either with or without ongoing symptoms.

Who can attend the Recovery

College?

You need meet certain eligibility

criteria which differs from college to

college but, broadly speaking, it is

open to anyone aged 18 and above,

with experience of mental health

issues, carers and and National Health

Trust members of staff and volunteers.

What is Recovery?

• Recovery is learning to

live a meaningful life

beyond illness, either with

or without ongoing

symptoms

Ask your GP, local wellbeing service or

mental health support worker if there

is a Recovery College in your local

area.

• Recovery is a journey of

personal development and

discovery which focuses on

your wellbeing.

Useful Contacts:

MIND

charity for mental health

There is a network of around 125 local

Minds across England and Wales.

To locate your nearest one, use the

map on www.mind.org.uk

Recovery College Online

www.recoverycollegeonline.co.uk

Making The Invisible Visible




CCChat Interview

Sue Penna

Sue Penna is the Chief

Creative Officer of

Rock Pool Life CIC.

She has worked with

individuals who have

psychological trauma

as a result of adverse

childhood experiences

(ACEs) for over 30

years in her

professional life as a

clinician, trainer and

supervisor both within

the NHS and

independently.

Sue has written

trauma informed

domestic abuse

programmes including

the Inspiring Families

Programme, Adult and

Children and Young

People Domestic

Abuse Recovery

Toolkits and the

Sexual Violence

Recovery Toolkit.

Sue has also devised

the ACE Recovery

Toolkit written for

parents and the

ACE Recovery Toolkit

for children and

young people.

www.rockpool.life

S

ue

Penna specialises in writing psychoeducational

programmes that promote

trauma informed practice and a

recovery model and CCChat is delighted

to be able to interview Sue, to find out

more.

Min: Hi Sue, thank you so much for agreeing to this

interview, I’m really glad to be able to speak to you and

find out more about what you do at Rock Pool.

Sue: It’s lovely to be asked, thank you.

Min: Could you tell me a little bit about you and how

you came to start Rock Pool?

Sue: My background and training is in occupational

therapy. I specialised in adult mental health and also

trained as a counsellor. Most of the clinical work I did,

when I was in the NHS, was working with adults that

had experienced some sort of trauma as children,

mostly child sexual abuse. I left the NHS back in 2004

and became a domestic violence coordinator in the

third sector before it was mainstreamed into the local

authorities, back in the day when it was all voluntary

sector. I did that for a couple of years. I didn’t want to

go back to a mainstream local authority and so started

working on my own.

The world of domestic violence, bizarrely, started for

me, when I moved house and started volunteering. I

didn’t know anybody where I moved and saw an advert

in the local art centre asking for women interested in

sitting on a management committee of a refuge and

that’s where it all started. I went along and became a

member, I did that for a while and that was even before

I became a DV coordinator and it sparked my interest

and frustration around what happens to women really.

I was also volunteering in a refuge, another refuge, and

they wanted to run a programme for the women in the

refuge .

Making The Invisible Visible


“The world of domestic violence, bizarrely, started for me, when

I moved house and started volunteering.”

Sue Penna, Rock Pool Life

They knew that my background was in

writing groups. That’s what I did as a

therapist. I ran lots of group work for

sexual abuse and people with eating

disorders which is probably as a result

of trauma, so this trauma work I did, is

where the Recovery Toolkit started.

The first Recovery Toolkit for domestic

abuse was written and piloted in a

local refuge and then we piloted it with

Victim Support in Cornwall. They ran

it for two years. 77 women over two

years. We looked at the results of it, to

make sure it was useful and it had

been useful. And then out of that came

the children’s programme and then the

other toolkits.

Min: Are the toolkits for survivors or

facilitators? Who can access them?

Sue: What we do is train. Rock Pool

came about because I realised that I

couldn’t keep travelling around the

country delivering on my own, so we

set up Rock Pool because, at some

point I’d quite like to retire. What we

do is train agencies to deliver the

training to their clients so they are all

for individuals that have experienced

abuse and are separated from their

perptrator except our Inspiring

Families programme which is for

families where there is domestic abuse

and they want to stay together, which

is a huge number of people who don’t

get services because they often dip

under the radar.

For me, the thing around domestic

violence is that we are, on the whole,

Making The Invisible Visible


not good at assessing the dynamics of

domestic violence, in this country. We

tend to lump everybody in as the same.

I think that there are nuances to

people’s experiences- we don’t assess

what those dynamics are in that

family.

I think that there are families where

there is coercion and control, where

there isn’t necessarily any violence

because there doesn’t need to be,

because that control is so huge that

people, women mainly, are frightened

but I think there are other families,

and I think this is where the trauma

stuff comes in, where, if you have

grown up in a household where you

were traumatised and the people who

brought you up were traumatised, and

passing the trauma on, what are your

norms? Your coping strategies and the

things you do to survive are really

unhelpful both in adult relationships

and as a parent.

Min: Yes, that’s very true

Sue: So what happens at the moment

is that, if your way of resolving issues

is through violence, it will be classed as

domestic violence. It is wrong but if no

one has ever spent any time telling you

that there are other ways that that

relationship can be – and this isn’t

where there is power and control- this

is where there is violence without

power and control, that violence is a

poor coping strategy that has been

learnt by living in households that are

violent.

Min: I agree with you. It really

frustrates me when I see narratives

like ‘all abuse is abuse’. There is a

spectrum, you need to look at the

intention and you need to look at

where it is coming from.

Making The Invisible Visible


Sue: Absolutely. And because we don’t

assess the dynamics very well, we don’t

know that and just lump it all together.

Inspiring Families is a 10 week

assessment and they more or less go

through the same programme. It’s an

educative programme so at the end of

that, we will be able to look at the

families we are working with and go,

‘You know, there’s coercion and

control here, he’s really dangerous and

we need to protect these children at

any cost. This isn’t going anywhere

good.’ Or ‘there isn’t any power and

control in this relationship but there is

violence and actually what we know is

that violence is always about alcohol

and this person had lots of adverse

We struggle to get this programme out

there because what we are saying isn’t

very popular.

Min: This is a conversation that needs

to be had. With domestic abuse, the

emphasis tends to be on high risk,

which is good because that is where

the greatest danger lies, where there is

risk to life, but there is hardly any help

for coercive control at the lower end of

the continuum, where the behaviour is

wrong, where the perpetrator wants

tools on how to change, or the victim

needs tools on how to manage. It

seems to consistently be written off as

a toxic relationship where people

shouldn’t be together.

“If we start off shaming, we are not going to engage.”

Sue Penna, Rock Pool Life

childhood experiences, and when

they’re stressed they turn to alcohol

and there is violence at that point and

what we have to do is we need to

intervene with that alcohol.’ This

person isn’t going to benefit from

going on a perpetrator programme,

because that isn’t going to help that

person. What’s going to help that

person is if we can deal with the

alcohol first. We also make sure that

the children are supported, so we train

people to run this and we go in at week

4 and week 10 and we help them make

sure it is appropriate for that family

and we have had amazing, amazing

results. Some people need locking up

and the keys throwing away, and

unfortunately, sometimes we have to

take the children because, whatever is

going on for her, she isn’t able to

protect the children.

Sue: So, they don’t have to admit that

they are being awful before they come

onto the programme, because they

might not know they are and if we start

off shaming, we are not going to

engage with them. Before I finished

writing the programme, I went to

speak to some women’s groups and

asked the women what do you think

would have happened if you had been

offered this programme when he said

that he wanted to change? So, the first

thing they said to me was that he

wouldn’t come and, actually, that’s not

true. We have hugely high retention

rates on this.

Min: And what risk level are those

men assessed at?

Making The Invisible Visible


Min: I think that a situation can be

made worse if you shame someone, it

doesn’t motivate anyone to want to

change and they are more likely to

minimise their actions and feel

resentment for being made to feel

guilt. I think that’s a huge problem.

Sue: We don’t do that. What we do is

very trauma informed, we go here’s a

bit of information, here’s what you can

think about it, and they both know that

each of them is getting the same

information every week. I was

terrified, the first time we ran. Eight

families started the first group and

they were all high risk, and eight

families finished.

Sue: From high to low. A lot of them

are high. No one has ever worked with

them like this before. No one has ever

said come along and we’re going to

give you some education about it. No

one’s ever done that. With most

participants, the kids are on the

register. Most of the families are

safeguarded. We engage them and I

said, anyway, if he didn’t come, what

would that have said to you? And they

said ‘well he didn’t want any help, did

he?’ and they all said that they might

have got out earlier, so that’s a win.

My view, when we started this, was

that if no one completes this, I don’t

care because what happens is we will

have made those women safer. We’ve

given them an opportunity to

understand what’s going on and given

them an opportunity to exit earlier and

safely.

My primary aim was not to get the

men through the programme but to

make the women and children safer.

Min: Do you still keep in touch?

Sue: No, I don’t run it. This was in

Slough. We train the people to deliver

it. We’ve done a cost benefit analysis in

Slough, and we had an audit and an

audit evaluation on one we’ve

delivered in Wales and even the

auditors said, some people said it was

like magic. We can’t claim all of that

because there’s lots of factors so we

can’t just claim that it’s our group that

made all that difference to families and

I understand that, but it’s massively

more important than what has been

happening to them because most

perpetrator programmes are so long.

When I was working independently, I

did a massive evaluation over quite a

long time, 3 years of a perpetrators

programme and I’m not saying ours is

the it is a solution but it is a different

approach. When I volunteered in

outreach, I got to see this young

woman and she was 20, she had a baby

and he had punched her when she was

holding the baby. She didn’t come

from any background like this at all.

She rang the police and he was

Making The Invisible Visible


that young man off and just say he’s a

nasty bad person and have him sitting

in a room with die hard, nasty

controlling blokes who have been

doing it for years, it would have done

his head in.

Min: There would be no commonality,

he wouldn’t be able to properly engage

and he would just feel shamed.

removed from the house and put on

bail. We thought he was going to go on

a Perpetrators Programme with some

really hard core perpetrators. When

she told me about her partner’s

childhood, where his mum was a sex

worker and drug user. He had seen

possibly, even suffered abuse as a

child. I couldn’t believe he had

managed to make a relationship with

someone who wasn’t damaged.

Somehow his resilience was that he

had made a relationship with a person

who was whole and the fact that he

had made this relationship with this

whole person indicated that he was

amazing, but also, under stress, he just

reverted to his default position. He’d

been beaten up as a kid and when he

was stressed, he didn’t know what to

do and didn’t have the verbal ability to

say, so he thumped and what he did

was wrong.

What he did was very, very wrong. He

could have hit that baby and it could

have been dreadful but we can’t write

Sue: He would be so shamed to think

that the world thought he was like that

and I think that someone like that

deserves an opportunity to be educated

about how you can be different. And to

be educated on how you can manage

that emotional regulation in a different

way, so that he can make that work

and he wasn’t getting that. I never

forgot that couple and I think that

Inspiring Families was written partly

because of them. So that’s my stuff.

I think there are a core of mainly men

out there who, through toxic

masculinity, through developmental

trauma, because of the rubbish they

have been through as children, need

some help as adult males to

understand that they can have

relationships that are not about

violence. It won’t work if there is

control and coercion, I’m not

suggesting that, I think that some of

that is so embedded for some men that

it’s not going to change, but I think

that we can at least think of some of

them being treated differently.

We worked with this Polish couple. He

had punched her at a wedding

reception, pissed, and police were

called, he was arrested, bail conditions,

but she would sit in a group and she

was clearly saying ‘I’m not frightened

of him, he doesn’t control my money I

do what I want. His issue is alcohol.’

Making The Invisible Visible


That book ‘See What You Made Me Do’

(by Jess Hill) just sums up what we do.

I love that book and Judith Herman’s

book (Trauma and Recovery) was

hugely influential for me, when I was

doing my work. When I worked in

adult mental health I was constantly

being told I worked with people with

borderline personality disorder, even

though what they had actually

experienced was complex

developmental trauma as children, and

I worked in a really medical team and

the doctors would say ‘ This is

borderline disorder and then I’d go

what? What does that mean, really? So

they’ve had a bit of a shit life, why do

we have to label them?

Sue: It’s about giving the person the

knowledge that the experts have.

Teaching people about the dynamics of

domestic abuse, telling them these are

recognised ways that perpetrators

operate, giving them information on

how they can get their self-confidence

back, how to challenge the negative

thinking that the perpetrator will

instilled.

Get the voice out of the perpetrator out

of their head. If you’ve been

brainwashed to believe you’re a piece

of shit for years, you will see yourself

as different but if you can identify how

they did that, you can challenge it. You

can turn it round.

“Why can’t we just work with some of the consequences of the

horrors they’ve experienced, rather than write them off?"

Sue Penna, Rock Pool Life

Why can’t we just work with some of

the consequences of the horrors

they’ve experienced, rather than write

them off? Which is what the

programmes are about because, again,

a lot of the women who have had to

deal with DV get labelled with

personality disorders or something

bizarre, and they’re not.

They are trauma victims. They’ve

experienced trauma and we should

treat people as though they have

experienced trauma not treat people as

though they’re ill.

Min: Or treat the person as though

they are so totally devoid of autonomy

that they can’t have a say in their own

lives and that experts know best.

It doesn’t have to be a life sentence,

but just putting sticking plasters on

people or just patronising people and

telling them you know better.

Min: Or cocooning

Sue: I don’t like it when agencies

control victims.

Min: What I’m really interested in

focusing on is shame. I think that it is a

big issue and one that is more

destructive than constructive. Shame

never comes from a good place and

there are no positive learning

experiences to be gleaned from being

shamed. I think that it’s a way of

making people feel bad from a position

of moral superiority. It is a tactic used

by perpetrators and abusers, but also

used as a way to humiliate people by

Making The Invisible Visible


those who aren’t abusers and, as a

society we need to understand that

making people feel inadequate is the

root of emotional abuse.

Sue: Looking at all of this with a

trauma lens on, it’s about making

people safe. I don’t necessarily mean

physically safe, as in going to a refuge,

it’s about being psychologically safe.

How do we let people understand, it’s

about trustworthiness and safety and

we can do so much by establishing

that. I don’t think years in counselling

is needed and it’s something every

frontline worker can do, if we just

think about it in a different way.

Min: If you had one tip

for professionals and one tip for

survivors, what would that be?

Sue: Tip for professionals – you need

to be professionally curious about what

is happening to people and for people

who have experienced abuse, that

there will be help somewhere, and if it

doesn’t work out the first time, just

keep going with it.

Min: Sue, what do you do to relax?

Sue: I watch rubbish telly

Min: With or without wine?

“You need to be professionally curious about what is happening

to people.”

Sue Penna, Rock Pool Life

Min: Have you worked with female

perpetrators?

Sue: We haven’t. There’s no reason to

think Inspiring Families wouldn’t

work, if the perpetrator was female, we

just haven’t done it because we aren’t

delivering in enough places, but the

Toolkit can be run with men or

women.

Min: How would a survivor get to hear

of it?

Sue: It depends if their area is

running it. Lots of Women’s Aid

affiliated organisations and third

sector providers run it, but we don’t

have a database.

Sue: With Gin. I like Gin. I like

cinema, I love walking. I just like being

home with friends and family. It’s

difficult at the moment, with this

lockdown. The thing that really relaxes

me is that I’m in a choir. I love singing.

I was one of those kids who was told I

was tone deaf

Min: Are you kidding? I was called a

growler and they needed people in the

choir to make up the numbers but I

was told I couldn’t sing, I could only

mime.

Sue: Yes, that was me. My daughter is

a soprano, classically trained and has

perfect pitch. A few years ago my

husband bought me singing lessons. I

thought was the worst present I’d ever

received in my life, except that it did

make me go and sing and now love it.

Making The Invisible Visible


“Words are the most powerful and we all have the

ability to use words that heal or harm.”

Sue Penna, Rock Pool Life

I sing in a choir, I sang in a band for

my husband’s sixtieth. When my

children were growing up, I didn’t even

sing them happy birthday because I

believed I made such a noise.

Min: It’s interesting though, isn’t it,

how someone made you feel ashamed

and it’s had a lasting effect. I often

wonder how different things could

have been if I hadn’t been made to feel

ashamed.

But we also all have the ability given

the right information and support to

challenge the harmful words and the

hurt they caused and choose our own

words, make our own destiny.

Min: That's a beautiful thought and a

beautiful way to end this interview.

Thank you so much, Sue, for agreeing

to talk to me for CCChat Magazine. It's

been really insightful and a real

pleasure.

Sue: I often think of the saying ‘sticks

and stones may break my bones but

words will never hurt me ‘ and the

absolute nonsence that is . Words are

the most powerful and we all have the

ability to use words that heal or harm.

For more information :

www.rockpool.life

An Introduction to Rock Pool

This is a really lovely short

film explaining why Rock

Pool was established and

outlining the work they do

https://youtu.be/

NtTfWrPeOfM

Making The Invisible Visible



Self Compassion

Not Compassion Fatigue

B

eing

a compassionate and empathic person who cares

for others is an admirable trait. But if you are always

trying to make other people happy and putting their

needs before your own, you could be neglecting

yourself and be at risk of compassion fatigue.

The author Andrew Boyd writes that 'Compassion hurts. When you feel

connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you

cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You

must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. From that quote, it

sounds like someone who has invested so much energy into the struggles of

others that it has had a detrimental impact on them.

If you find yourself in this situation, you could be at risk of compassion fatigue

which is described, by Dr Charles Figley,director of the Tulane University

Traumatology Institute as ' an extreme state of tension and preoccupation

with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a

secondary traumatic stress for the helper.'

Compassion fatigue happens when you are exhausted by it all, you feel

drained and become irritated. People in the caring professions are most at risk

of compassion fatigue and surveys have revealed that many workers have

recognised the symptoms in their colleagues. Compassion fatigue is also

common in those helping after a disaster or who are at the frontline working

with victims including therapists, which is why they have supervision, to be

able to offload worries that they have absorbed.

Compassion can be a good thing in that it can motivate us to help others but it

can also become overwhelming when someone cares more for other people

than they do about themselves.

There are ways to care without risking your own mental health. The first one is

to put your self first. You can't help others if you are not in a good place

yourself. Play to your strengths. If someone asks you to do something you

know you're not good at, tell them you're not the best person to ask and

suggest something else or someone else instead. Stop seeing yourself as a

rescuer and take a step back. This could be in the form of finding some

professional help or a support group for the person you are caring for.

Making The Invisible Visible



A-Z of a

journey of

recovery

Making The Invisible Visible


Instead of challenging distressing

thoughts by looking for evidence and

coming up with a more rational

response (CBT), in ACT, the thought is

accepted as a thought and then

defused using a variety of techniques,

which may include mindfulness,

metaphors and language with

a commitment to values-based living.

ACT is based on the idea that trying to

rid ourselves of pain and distress only

increases it, and turns it into

something traumatic. We learn to

make room for painful feelings,

thoughts, and sensations - allowing

them to be there, coming and going

without us struggling against them.

AWARENESS

One of the ways of healing from abuse

is to have a better understanding of

what abuse is and how and why it

happens. We may not be able to get the

answers we seek and we should be

prepared for that, but what we will get

is a deeper understanding that this is

something that happened to us, does

not define us. It is an acknowledgment

of what has happened and recognising

the impact it has had.

ACCEPTANCE AND

COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT)

ACT is a form of behavioural analysis

developed by clinical psychologist Dr

Steven Hayes and others, that builds

psychological flexibility. It differs from

traditional cognitive behavioural

therapy (CBT ) in that, unlike CBT, it is

not about controlling or eliminating

thoughts, feelings and memories, but

about accepting that they are there and

learning how to live with them in a

meaningful way.

Resources:

ACT in context: The Acceptance and

Commitment Therapy Podcast

www.contextualscience.org

www.stevenhayes.com

A Liberated Mind:

The essential guide to ACT

by Dr Steven C Hayes

AUDIOBOOKS

When in a heightened state of anxiety,

it can be difficult to muster enough

concentration to be able to focus on

the task of reading. When this

happens, I find that audiobooks are an

excellent way of getting the

information that I am unable to glean

from reading and find it especially

soothing to listen whilst driving down

secluded country lanes, in bed or when

cooking and tidying.

Making The Invisible Visible



BALANCE

As we age, things start to deteriorate,

one of these being our sense of

balance.There are several reasons for

this, ranging from inner ear problems

to nerve damage but, arguably, the

main one is either a loss of, or poor

core strength caused by deteriorating

muscle mass.

BE KIND

If you can be anything, be kind.

Experiencing a traumatic event can

make you feel violated and constantly

unsafe. Feeling as though you have

little control over your life can lead to

anger. Feeling angry is a natural

response to experiencing or witnessing

trauma. It is your body's way of

communicating that it has exceeded its

ability to cope but it can affect your

relationship with people around you

both at home, at work or online.

If you find yourself having anger

outburst and blaming those around

you for those outbursts, or your social

media engagement is becoming more

aggressive , it is a good idea to take

some time out and seek support.

Making yourself feel better by making

someone else feel worse is not a

sustainable self-care model.

Having a sedentary lifestyle is not only

a contributor to poor core strength, but

research suggets that it also increases

anxiety. In recent years, there has been

a lot of research into 'active sitting' in

which stabilising postural muscles are

worked, whilst sitting, by using wobble

cushions and physio balls. The

unstable surface activates the body's

stabilising muscles which, in turn,

improve balance.

When we improve our balance, we

lessen the risk of falling - a concern for

us all as we age. - but we also improve

our posture, our proprioception and

our coordination. Active sitting has

also been shown to have positive

benefits on concentration and focus in

children with ADHD, it is thought that

this is due effort required to stabilise

on a moveable object.

A Sissel Sit Fit cushion is an active,

dynamic seating aid which helps

engage stabilising muscles, to improve

balance, and tone the pelvic floor.

www.sisseluk.com

BREATHING

We all know how to breathe - or do

we? It might come as a surprise that

the majority of us breathe inefficiently,

mainly because we have always known

how to breathe and we do it

automatically, so have never had to

question whether or not it needs

Making The Invisible Visible


refining. There are many breathing

techniques that, depending on whether

you need to get more oxygen in the

lungs, correct hyperventilation,

manage a panic attack or dispel

anxiety, can help.

When people are anxious, they tend to

take rapid and shallow breaths. This is

known as thoracic breathing and,

when you are breathing in this way,

you are only part using yourwhole lung

capacity.

A simple way to check if you are

breathing thoracically is to stand in

front of the mirror and breathe. If your

shoulders rise as you breathe in, you

are breathing into your chest.

Because this form of breathing doesn't

use your whole lung capacity, it is very

easy for the oxygen and carbon dioxide

levels to become unbalanced resulting

in hyperventilation or a panic attack.

The way to breathe and ensure you are

using your whole lung capacity is to

breathe either through the abdomen

(diaphragmatic breathing) or laterally

(intercostal breathing).

Abdominal Breathing

This is the breathing that moves the

belly. As you inhale, your belly

extends out and as you exhale it

moves back in. Belly breathing is what

is used in Yoga practice.

Lateral Breathing

This breathing technique is used in

Pilates. It uses the whole of the lungs

and allows the abdominal muscles to

stay engaged for exercise.

Breathing is wide and full and directed

into the sides and back of the ribcage.

Making The Invisible Visible


Intercostal Breathing

1. Place each hand on the side of your

rib cage.

2. Inhale.Try not to lift the shoulders

as you inhale. Feel how your rib cage

expands sideways.

3. Exhale, concentrating on expelling

their air from your lungs as if you are

squeezing air from an accordion.

4. Inhale and visualise the breath

going both into the sides and the back

of your ribcage.

Some Breathing Exercises:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

1. Sit comfortably, with your feet on

the floor and place your hands on your

belly.

2.Breathe in slowly and calmly. Fill up

the belly with a normal breath. Try not

to breathe in too heavily. The hands

should move out when you breathe in,

as if you are filling up a balloon.

Try not to lift the shoulders as you

inhale.

4. Breathe out slowly to a count of 5.

Try to slow down the rate of the

exhale. After the exhale, hold for 2-3

seconds before inhaling again.

5. Work to continue to slow down the

pace of the breath. Practice this for

about 5 to 10 minutes each day.

Note: Breathing deeper may cause

light-headedness. A temporary

response to inhaling more air.

5. Visualize your ribcage expanding on

the inhale, like an accordion and

coming back together as you exhale.

6. It is easier keeping shoulders down

if, instead of placing your hands on the

ribcage, you loosely tie a pair of tights,

an exercise band or scarf just under

your chest.

Breathing for panic attacks.

This breathing focuses on the

outbreath, just letting the in breath

happen.

1. Sit somewhere quiet and still and

inhale. Feel the breath enter your

body. Note the coolness of the air.

3. Exhale. Notice the different sound

your breath makes, as you breathe out.

Feel how your body anchors down.

4. Inhale. Nice and soft. Until you can't

breathe in anymore.

5. Exhale. Visualise all the stale air

being expelled from your lungs. Expel

every last drop of stale air.

Repeat until the feelings of panic start

to subside.

Making The Invisible Visible


CRY SPA

Please see the full article on this in the

magazine.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL

THERAPY (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is

a form of psychotherapy that focuses

on modifying dysfunctional emotions,

behaviors, and thoughts by

interrogating and uprooting negative

or irrational beliefs. It is a "solutionsoriented"

form of talk therapy, and

rests on the idea that thoughts and

perceptions influence behavior.

CBT aims to identify harmful thoughts,

assess whether they are an accurate

depiction of reality, and, if they are

not, employ strategies to challenge and

overcome them. CBT was founded by

psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s,

following his disillusionment with

Freudian psychoanalysis.

CBT is a preferred modality of therapy

among practitioners and insurance

companies as it can be effective in a

brief period of time, generally 5 to 20

sessions, and can be delivered

effectively online, in addition to faceto-face

sessions.

COCONUTS

When you are stressed, the scent of

coconut may have an effect in blunting

the natural ‘fight or flight’ response by

slowing down the heart rate.

A small pilot study at Columbia

University found that people who

breathed in coconut fragrance, saw

their blood pressure recover more

quickly after a challenging task.

Researchers speculate that inhaling a

pleasant scent enhances alertness

while soothing our response to stress.

CHOCOLATE

Making The Invisible Visible

Chocolate contains theobromine, a

compound that exists naturally in a

variety of plants, most notably the

cacao bean. Theobromine generally

occurs in higher quantities in dark

chocolate than in milk chocolate due to

the cacao content being higher in a

dark chocolate.

Theobromine is said to have certain

health benefits such as

- It may help lowering blood pressure.

- It may improve “good” cholesterol.

- It improve blood flow.

- It may give an energy boost.

- It may improve cognitive function.

- It may result in a mood boost

As if anyone needs an excuse to eat

choclolate when they are in need of

cheering up......in moderation of

course!



DANCING

Dancing improves your heart health,

overall muscle strength, balance and

coordination. It also improves mood

and reduces depression. For those of

you who would never consider joining

a dance class, there arenow a wealth of

online alternatives available.

Just Dance

Available as an app, or as a game. Copy

the dance moves to popular tunes and

receive a score. Just Dance recently

celebrated its 10th anniversary.

www.ubisoft.com or app stores

DETOX

We all know that ditching the junk

food and eating healthily can have

postive effects on our health and a

social media detox can have a positive

effect on mental health. I write this

during the Covid-19 lockdown and

have, in recent weeks, become acutely

aware of how the constant reporting

on coronavirus, the level of

misinformation, and uncertainty has

created a climate of fear. Add to this

the increase of online aggression - all

of which have a negative impact on

wellbeing.Too many people end up

comparing themselves to others and

even if you aren’t aware of it, social

media brings out the competitive side

where each reaction and comment is a

measure of how popular a post is. All

of which can have a detrimental

impact on self-esteem, anxiety and

depression. Social media is also highly

addictive and by focusing energy on

what is happening online, it ironically

takes you away from what is

happening offline.

Seen On Screen

Founder Bonnie Parsons and her team

of dance trainers break down dance

moves and teach everything from how

to strut, hip roll and even flip your

hair. Her classes are available online.

www.seenonscreen.dance

Body Groove

Misty Tripoli is the founder of Body

Groove, a dance inspired fitness

programme that doesn't rely on

following complicated steps. It is

available to stream online.

www.bodygroove.com

Ballet Beautiful

Mary Helen Bowers, former ballerina

with the New York City Ballet has

created an online streaming platform

for ballet inspired exercises.

www.balletbeautiful.com

Making The Invisible Visible


EXERCISE

Exercise in almost any form can act as

a stress reliever. Being active can boost

your feel-good endorphins and distract

you from daily worries but I'm not

going to tell you all about the benefits

here, instead, here are some quotes to

inspire you:

" All truly great thoughts are

conceived while walking.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

“A bear, however hard he tries,

grows tubby without exercise.”

EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and

Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an

interactive psychotherapy technique

used to relieve psychological stress. It

can be an effective treatment for

trauma and post-traumatic stress

disorder (PTSD).

During EMDR therapy sessions, the

client relives a traumatic or triggering

experience in brief doses while the

therapist directs their eye movements.

EMDR is thought to be effective

because recalling distressing events is

often less emotionally upsetting when

attention is diverted elsewhere. This

allows the client to be exposed to the

memories or thoughts without having

a strong psychological response.

Over time, this technique is believed to

lessen the impact that the memories or

thoughts have on a traumatised

person.

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“An early-morning walk is a

blessing for the whole day.”

Henry David Thoreau

“If you are in a bad mood go for a

walk.If you are still in a bad

mood go for another walk.”

Hippocrates

“My grandmother started

walking five miles a day when she

was sixty. She's ninety-seven

now, and we don't know where

the heck she is.”

Ellen DeGeneres

" I like to move it, move it. I like

to MOVE IT."

Erick Morillo

Making The Invisible Visible


FRIENDSHIPS

Sometimes, we come to realise that the

friendships we have are no longer

healthy. It can be difficult to let go of

relationships we may have had for a

long time but when maintaining that

friendship takes a toll on your

wellbeing, it is time to evaluate.

Some signs to look out for:

1. You are constantly making more

effort in the friendship

2. The conversation is mostly about

them.

Franklin Method®

The Franklin Method® combines

creative visualisation, embodied

anatomy and physical and mental

exercises. It was founded by Eric

Franklin in 1994 and it is taught all

over the world, including the

Universities of Vienna, Cologne,

Karlsruhe and the Juilliard School in

New York

It starts with the knowledge that we all

have the power to change and teaches

how to move your body with maximum

efficiency, using coordinated

movements and dynamic alignment, to

keep your body youthful and

energized.

It uses the knowledge of neural

plasticity; that the lives we live shape

the brain we develop and teaches how

to use your brain to improve your

body’s function.

www.franklinmethod.com

3. They put you down or make fun of

you in front of others

4. You feel constantly drained after

spending time with them.

5. The friendship has become too

competitive.

6. They are not happy for you when

things go well.

7. The friendship is conditional.

8. Your friend constantly cancels at the

last minute. If this has been

consistent, throughout the friendship,

it shows unreliability. If this coincides

with a new relationship, make sure

they are not in an abusive relationship.

Cutting ties with family and friends

could be a sign of abuse.

9. They constantly make you feel

guilty.

10. They encourage criminal or risky

behaviour.

11. They exclude you from things with

mutual friends.

Making The Invisible Visible



GRATITUDE

For many trauma survivors fear gets in

the way of feeling gratitude and

thankfulness yet healing from trauma

can happen in multiple ways and a

gratitude practice can help the process.

Knowing what we are grateful for can

be something that we think in our

heads but don’t quite feel in our hearts

and although the positive effects of

gratitude may not happen

immediately, they increase over time

and with practice.

GARDENING

Gardening is good for your mental

health. Firstly, you are out in the fresh

air and sunshine, which improves

mood, it can also reduce anxiety and

depression as well as lower blood

pressure and improve fitness.

Gardening allows you to focus on an

activity in a mindful way that keeps

you in the present, without being

distracted by the past or what is

happening in the future.

GRAVITY BLANKET

Gravity blankets are therapeutic

weighted blankets designed to aid

insomnia by simulating a hug to gently

distribute pressure over your body. It

has been shown to produce a calming,

soothing effect that reduces stress,

alleviate restless leg syndrome and

promotes better sleep.

www.gravityblankets.co.uk

A simple way of practicing is to keep a

gratitude journal and, each day, record

something positive that happened. It

can be something as small as

appreciating a sunny day or an act of

kindness but, with practice, it will help

to develop a more positive outlook into

our lives.

Book: The Life-Changing Power of

Gratitude

Marc Reklau

GABALONG TEA

Gabalong is a type of Oolong tea that

has undergone a special fermentation

process, resulting in accumulated

GABA in the tea leaves.

GABA, or Gamma-Aminobutyric acid,

is an amino acid produced naturally in

the brain which reduces the activity of

neurons in the brain and central

nervous system, which can increase

relaxation and reduce stress.

GABA is found naturally in varieties of

green, black, and oolong tea, as well as

in fermented foods including kefir,

yogurt, and tempeh whilst valerian,

hops, magnesium, and L-theanine,

also have an effect on the brain’s

GABA activity.

Making The Invisible Visible



HIBERNATING

Humans cannot actually hibernate, but

in the coldest months of the year,

many of us are drawn to something

similar. We want to batten down the

hatches against the treacherous

weather outside, preserve our energies,

lay on fat. If only we could suspend the

demands of life, just until the sun

comes out again, all would be well. In

the meantime, we have Duvet Days.

HAPPINESS

HULA HOOPING

Apart from being a fun activity, hula

hooping can be a seriously effective

exercise. Adult sized weighted hoops

are inexpensive to buy and it's easy to

learn from online tutorials.

Some benefits of hula hooping:

1. Cardiovascular. It can burn as many

calories as a treadmill.

2. Tones abdominals, hips and back.

3. Improves blood flow to spine.

4. The rhythmic motion is like a

massage.

5. Improves breathing, focus and

concentration.

6. Alleviates anxiety and depression by

increasing endorphins

www.hooplovers.tv

www.hulafit.com

Do you wish you were happier?

According to Russ Harris, author of

The Happiness Trap, the way most of

us go about trying to find happiness

only ends up making us more

miserable and increasing our stress,

anxiety, and depression.

This book looks at how, by clarifying

our values and developing mindfulness

(a technique for living fully in the

present moment), we can learn to find

true satisfaction in life.

The techniques in the book are based

on ACT ( Acceptance and Commitment

Therapy) and practicing these will help

to :

(a) Reduce stress and worry;

(b) Handle painful feelings and

thoughts more effectively;

(c) Break self-defeating habits;

(d) Overcome insecurity and selfdoubt;

and

(e) Create a rich, full, and meaningful

life.

www.thehappinesstrap.com

Books:

The Happiness Trap

ACT Made Simple

both written by Russ Harris

Making The Invisible Visible



ISOLATION

Being alone is often equated with

loneliness. Research suggests that

social isolation and loneliness increase

the risk of heart disease, obesity,

anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's

disease, high blood pressure, and even

early death. But research is also

increasingly showing that there are

real benefits to finding things to do by

yourself.

Doing things by yourself allows you to

enjoy activities you love at your own

pace and in your own way. Through

solitary pursuits, you learn more about

yourself and reflect on your

experiences.

IKIGAI

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that

essentially means “a reason for being.”

It is made from two Japanese words:

iki, meaning “life” and kai, meaning

“effect.” so together it means a reason

for living. Ikigai is the reason why you

get up in the morning. To discover it,

you must first find what you are most

passionate about and you can then

find the medium through which you

can express that passion.

Ikigai is often associated with a Venn

diagram with four overlapping

qualities: what you love, what you are

good at, what the world needs, and

what you can be paid for. The ultimate

goal of Ikigai is not happiness but

fulfilment and practicing is defining

your purpose, and discovering your

full potential. The aim is to define what

you can best contribute to the world,

the things you’re good at and that give

you pleasure while doing.

Book: My Little Ikigai Amanda Kudo

While there is a wealth of research

pointing to the psychological

downsides of loneliness and social

isolation, there is an increasing

amount of evidence suggesting that a

certain amount of quality time alone is

critical to well-being.

Some things, this research suggests,

are just better off being done by

yourself without the distractions,

opinions, or influences of other people.

Even though people sometimes fear

seclusion, research has shown than

many people actually seek and prefer

solitude.

Even if you naturally seek the company

of a crowd, you can learn how to enjoy

a little time to yourself now and then.

It is important to remember that being

alone and loneliness are two very

different things. Loneliness involves

being isolated despite wanting social

connections, whereas being alone

means taking time for yourself

between regular social interactions.

Making The Invisible Visible


JOURNALING

If you struggle with stress, depression,

or anxiety, keeping a journal is a great

way to help gain control of your

emotions and improve your mental

health by writing down your thoughts

and feelings to understand them more

clearly. There is also increasing

evidence to support journaling as

having a positive impact on physical

well-being.

Some of the benefits include clarifying

any thoughts and feelings. By writing

them down, you will get to understand

yourself better, as well as become

clearer about what it is you want to

say, what makes you happy, what

causes discord.

You will also become clear about what

makes you angry or sad and situations

and people who have a detrimental

impact on your mental health. By

writing about painful emotions, you

are able to release the intensity of

these feelings and feel calmer as a

result.

JOGGING

Making The Invisible Visible

As well as the fitness benefits of

jogging or running, there are many

psychological benefits. Some of these

include increased mental flexibility,

confidence, stress relief,and improved

mood.

Because jogging is an aerobic

cardiovascular exercise, it sends

oxygenated blood to the brain, which

can help you think more clearly. It also

releases your natural mood-elevating

compounds.

Exercise is one of the key factors

associated with the growth of new

neurons in the brain, a process known

as neurogenesis and running builds

confidence and determination and

better self-esteem.

Going for a jog might improve your

mood in the short-term by helping get

your mind off your troubles, but it can

also lead to longer-lasting stress relief

benefits.

Research suggests that sticking to a

running regimen in times of stress

leads to greater resilience, meaning

you are better able to handle the

challenges life throws at you.

Experiencing that “runner’s high”

triggers feel-good emotions that can

boost your mood and reduce stress.

Researchers believe that these positive

feelings happen because running

triggers the release of endorphins.

There are a number of running apps

that can help start up and motivate:

Couch to 5k

Map My Run

DRT (Dynamic Running Therapy) - a

combination of running, mindfulness

and talk therapy.



KARAOKE

According to research conducted at the

University of Frankfurt, singing boosts

the immune system. The study

included testing professional choir

members’ blood before and after an

hour-long rehearsal singing Mozart’s

“Requiem”. The researchers noticed

that in most cases, the amount of

proteins in the immune system that

function as antibodies, known as

Immunoglobulin A, were significantly

higher immediately after the rehearsal.

The same increases were not observed

after the choir members passively

listened to music.

KINTSUGI

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of

repairing broken pottery by mending

the breakage with lacquer dusted or

mixed with powdered gold, silver, or

platinum.

It teaches that broken objects are not

something to hide but to display with

pride. When a bowl, teapot or vase

breaks, instead of throwing it away,

Kintsugi enhances the breaks giving it

a new lease of life and valuing it even

more because of its 'scars'.

Kintsugi can also be seen as a

metaphor for life as people often talk

about feeling “broken” after enduring

heartbreak, grief and trauma. It can be

the process of healing wounds and

rebuilding lives while acknowledging

that our scars make us strong and

interesting people.

Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of

Embracing the Imperfect and Loving

Your Flaws Tomas Navarro

Singing is a lung workout resulting in a

stronger diaphragm with better

breathing and posture. It also releases

endorphins, the feel-good brain

chemical that makes you feel uplifted

and happy. In addition, scientists have

identified a tiny organ in the ear called

the sacculus, which responds to the

frequencies created by singing. The

response creates an immediate sense

of pleasure, regardless of what the

singing sounds like. Not only that, but

singing can simply take your mind off

the day’s troubles to boost your mood.

Singing releases stored muscle tension

and decreases the levels of a stress

hormone called cortisol in your blood

stream. Singing improves mental

alertness Improved blood circulation

and an oxygenated blood stream allow

more oxygen to reach the brain. This

improves mental alertness,

concentration, and memory.

The Alzheimer’s Society has even

established a “Singing for the Brain”

service to help people with dementia

and Alzheimer’s maintain their

memories.

Making The Invisible Visible



LISTENING

Learning how to listen better can have

many benefits. Being an effective

listener can help to resolve conflicts,

build trust, and inspire people.

If you are part of a team, it is especially

important for leadership and

to strengthen teams. By spend most of

your conversations listening , you will

be able to absorb the information as it

is given to you so that you collect all of

the facts instead making assumptions

which will put you in a better position

to make well-informed decisions.

LAUGHTER

One of the best feelings in the world is

the deep-rooted belly laugh. It can

bring people together and establish

amazing connections.

Everything from a slight giggle to a

side-splitting guffaw can change the

temperature of a room from chilly

unfamiliarity to a warm family-like

atmosphere.

Here are some other benefits of

laughing:

1. lowers blood pressure

2. reduces stress hormone levels

3. works the abdominals

4. improves cardiac health

5. boosts T cells for immunity

6. releases endorphins

Read: How to Be Miserable: 40

Strategies You Already Use

Randy J Paterson

When you stop worrying about what

you’re going to say and focus on what’s

being said, you will put more thought

into what you want to communicate.By

listening, you will be able to uncover

undelying issues and be able to

identify what is really being said.

Being an effective listener also means

not being distracted and allowing

yourself to zone out, just to focus on

the bits and pieces of what they’re

saying.

People feel valued when they are being

listened to and this promotes feelings

of trust and respect and better

cooperation as active listeners have

greater powers of persuasion because

they encourage mutual feelings

of respect.

How do emotional reactions get in the

way of real communication? Therapist

Mike Nichols provides easy-to-learn

techniques, and practical exercises for

becoming a better listener--and

making yourself heard and

understood, even in difficult

situations.

Read: The Lost Art of Listening

Michael P Norris

Making The Invisible Visible


MUSIC

Studies show that listening to music

can benefit overall well-being, help

regulate emotions, and create

happiness and relaxation in everyday

life. Listening to ‘relaxing’ music has

been shown to reduce stress and

anxiety in healthy people and in people

undergoing medical procedures.

Music also lessens anxiety. In studies

of people with cancer, listening to

music combined with standard care

reduced anxiety compared to those

who received standard care alone.

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is about being fully

present, aware of where we are and

what we are doing. It means paying

attention to the present moment as the

present is the only real moment we

have. The past has already gone and

the future is yet to happen so

mindfulness focuses on the present,

being here, in the now.

Paying more attention to the present

moment – to your own thoughts and

feelings, and to the world around you

has been shown to improve mental

wellbeing by helping us to enjoy the

world around us more and understand

ourselves better, as it allows us to

become more aware of the stream of

thoughts and feelings that we

experience.

Read: The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle

Studies suggest that music can

enhance aerobic exercise, boost mental

and physical stimulation, and increase

overall performance.

Research has shown that the repetitive

elements of rhythm and melody help

our brains form patterns that enhance

memory. In a study of stroke survivors,

listening to music helped them

experience more verbal memory, less

confusion, and better focused

attention.

In studies of patients recovering from

surgery, those who listened to music

before, during, or after surgery had

less pain than patients who did not

listen to music as part of their care.

Listening to music can also help people

with Alzheimer’s recall seemingly lost

memories and even help maintain

some mental abilities.

MOOD

Mind Over Mood: Change How You

Feel by Changing the Way You Think

www.mindovermood.com

Making The Invisible Visible



NUTRITION

According to Dr. Maxine Barish

-Wreden, an integrative physician, a

healthy diet can be more effective for

treating depression than prescription

medications. Studies have shown a

reduction in depression of 40 to 60

percent when people eat the right

foods.

The vagus nerve transfers messages to

and from the guts and brain and while

the gut is able to influence emotional

behavior in the brain, the brain can

also alter the type of bacteria living in

the gut. Gut bacteria produces

neurochemicals used by the brain for

the regulation of physiological and

mental processes, including mood. It’s

believed 95 percent of the body's

supply of serotonin, a mood stabilizer,

is produced by gut bacteria.

Stress is thought to suppress beneficial

gut bacteria which can lead to

depression, when the gut is inflamed

by processed foods such as sugar and

flours.

To remedy this, reduce flour and sugar

adding fresh fruits, fibre, fish and

fermented foods to create a new

microbiome of healthy bacteria to help

your gut bacteria thrive.

Read: The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood

Food Rachel Kelly

NATURE

Making The Invisible Visible

The idea that spending time in nature

can make you feel better is intuitive.

We all feel better having spent some

time in the garden or taken to the

mountains or woods to heal.

Researchers are amassing a body of

evidence, proving what we all know to

be true: nature is good for us and has

both long and short term mental and

physical health benefits.

NORDIC WALKING

Nordic Walking has been around since

competitive cross country skiers in

1930's Finland started using poles in

their off season training when there

was no snow. They discovered this

technique kept their heart and lungs in

top condition and ensured upper and

lower body muscles remained in top

shape. Nordic Walking uses poles in

order to add two major benefits to

walking - using poles means the upper

body muscles are used as well as the

legs. The poles help to propel the

walker along so they have to work

harder than usual yet the support

given by the poles makes it feel easier.

The poles are not planted in front of

the walker but in a specific way that

increases the use of the upper body.

It can be done by anybody, anywhere

and does not require expensive

equipment or clothing.

www.nordicwalking.co.uk



OASIS

Although the literal meaning of oasis is

"a green spot in the desert," it can also

be used to describe a peaceful area in

our everyday lives, whether this is a

location, or an imagined place.

ONESELF

“He who lives in harmony with himself

lives in harmony with the world.”

~Marcus Aurelius

Know your ideal self. Make a list of all

your positive qualities, or the ones you

would like to cultivate:

ONLINE THERAPY

As a result of the coronavirus, online

therapy is rapidly taking over

traditional therapy as a place for

support. Online sessions are

convenient- you can send your

therapist a message from anywhere, at

any time — and cost effective as there

is no commute, so no travel expenses.

The therapy can be interactive and face

to face - via Skype, Zoom and other

video platforms, or live chat with

either a real person or an automated

bot at the other side. It can also be

through email or text. All you need is

web access or mobile. The most

attractive part, for me at least, is that

you don't have to go out into the world,

when you've bared your soul and all

you want to do is retreat to your duvet.

www.talkspace.com

www.e-therapy.uk

www.teencounselling.com

www.qwell.io www.regain.com

www.7cups.com www.betterhelp.

Will you be kinder, fairer, more

tolerant, more magnanimous, more

patient, more dignified?

How do you respond to difficult

situations?

Which principles do you wish to

uphold?

It may be difficult, to act with integrity

all the time and you may find yourself

behaving in a less than ideal way. In

order to build up a habit of sticking to

your principles, just practice doing the

“next right thing” all the time. It is ok

to make mistakes, we are all human

but it is important to learn from them,

if you value your principles.

Are you a positive or a negative

person?

Negativity thinking has an effect on a

peaceful mind if you allow that

negativity to dominate your thinking.

Radiate compassion and be a good

Samaritan. Not only will others

benefit; you’ll also add to your own

sense of self-esteem.

Making The Invisible Visible



A number of studies point out that

negativity may lead to poor health. In

one study of nuns over their lifespan,

novices were evaluated regarding how

they saw the glass half full or empty.

The result was that the ‘half empty

individuals’ lived ten years shorter

than their counterparts. There are

many ways to be more positive in your

life, even when you’re experiencing

sadness, anger, or challenges. In his

book, Born to be Good, Dacher Keltner

writes: ‘Positive thoughts are a

biological mandate for health.’

Book: Born to Be Good: The Science

of a Meaningful Life by Dacher Keltner

POSTURE

Good posture keeps bones and joints

in the correct alignment so that

muscles are being used properly. It

also helps decrease the abnormal

wearing of joint surfaces, decreases the

stress on the ligaments holding the

joints of the spine together and

prevents the spine from becoming

fixed in abnormal positions. Because

muscles are being used properly, less

energy is used so there is less fatigue.

Good posture also prevents backache

and muscular pain and contributes to a

good appearance which is also good for

confidence and self esteem.

POSITIVITY

“Watch your thoughts; they become

words. Watch your words; they

become actions. Watch your actions;

they become habit. Watch your habits;

they become character. Watch your

character; it becomes your destiny.” ―

Lao Tzu

PILATES

The Pilates Method was created by the

late Joseph Pilates whilst interned

during WW1 because of his German

nationality. He developed a fitness

regime for his fellow internees, in

order to maintain their health and

fitness levels whilst being held in

confinement. Pilates later set up his

first fitness studio in New York, at an

address he shared with the New York

City Ballet and he soon began to

attract leading ballet dancers because

his exercises perfected and

complemented their traditional

exercise programme. Actors and

actresses, and sportspersons were all

attracted to a workout that built

strength without adding bulk,

balancing that strength with flexibility,

and achieving the perfect harmony

between mind and muscle.

For online pilates classes go to:

www.bodycontrolpilatescentral.vhx.tv

Use code KEEPMOVING to enjoy a

25% discount for first 3 months after

the initial free 7 day trial.

Making The Invisible Visible


Being more positive means making a

conscious decision to change our

thinking and accept that life will bring

difficulty and negative moments. To

see the glass as half full and not as half

empty, even when life throws us

challenges. Here are some ways of

developing a more positive outlook:

1. Accept challenge as a natural part of

life that we learn to navigate.

2. Cultivate self-reliance. An attitude of

entitlement sets us up for unrealistic

expectations that others should cater

to our needs and wants, but being able

to depend upon ourselves to get our

needs met will make us happier and

more fulfilled.

QWELL

Qwell is an online counselling and

emotional well-being platform

accessible through mobile, tablet and

desktop and free at the point of need.

www.qwell.io

QUALITY OF LIFE

Our quality of life is greatly affected by

how much negativity there is in it.

Whether it is spending time with

negative people, being stuck in a

negative situation or our own negative

attitude, these can all sap our energy

and significantly impact our lives.

To experience negative times is normal

but to constantly have negative energy

pervade our lives can limit our

potential and keeps us from living a

purposeful, hopeful and fulfilling life.

Those of us with a negative outlook on

life also have greater amounts of

stress, increase in health problems and

less opportunity because of inability to

see past the negativity to opportunity.

3. See life as full of opportunity instead

of in terms of lack. Learning to

appreciate all we do have. People who

are grateful are able to see the good

instead of complaining and living in a

constant state of suffering.

4. Choose not to sweat the small stuff.

5. Have a purpose. Happiness is the

by-product of achievement and

inspiration. It keeps us motivated and

active in our lives.

6. Choose good company. Emotions

are contagious and for that reason we

become the most like the people we

spend our time with. If our friends

and/or family groups are full of

emotional-vampires we will

unconsciously become like them or

become drained by them.

7. Take responsibility for our thoughts

and attitude. If we consistently believe

bad things happen to us we inhibit our

potential.

Making The Invisible Visible


RESTORATIVE YOGA

Often overshadowed by more dynamic

styles of yoga, restoratice yoga offers a

more a more healing and recuperative

experience that offers many benefits to

anyone with anxiety or affected by

trauma. Some of the benefits are:

1. It consists of fewer poses that are

held for longer - anywhere between 5 -

20 minutes per pose, using props to

support the body giving you the

benefits of deep, passive stretching

and a respite from the frenetic pace of

life.

RECOVERY COLLEGE

Recovery Colleges offer educational

courses about mental health and

recovery which are designed to

increase students' knowledge and skills

and to help them feel more confident

in self-management of their own

mental health and well-being. For a

person, with lived experience of

mental ill health, this may help to take

control and become an expert in their

own well-being and recovery and move

on with their life despite mental health

challenges. This will hopefully help to

achieve or work towards whatever is

meaningful in their lives. Recovery

College can be used alongside or as an

alternative to mental health services,

or to help move out of mainstream

services. Students choose their own

courses to work out ways of making

sense of what has happened and

become experts in managing their own

lives. There are a number of Recovery

Colleges running across the country.

Contact your local wellbeing service to

see if there is one in your area.

2. The slower pace and deep breathing

activates the parasympathetic nervous

system, reduces cortisol and slows

down the effects of the fight-or-flight

stress response.

3. The prolonged poses allow the

opportunity to create the conditions

needed to cultivate the skill of

conscious relaxation, to release

unnecessary habitual tension in the

body and mind.

4. The nature of restorative yoga

promotes mindfulness.

5. Restorative yoga boosts the immune

system by encouraging relaxation and

regulating the body's inflammatory

response to help you heal faster and

some poses can relieve sinus pressure,

increase circulation, and help with

breathing more efficiently.

Try restorative yoga at home:

www.gaia.com - 7 days free

www.movementformodernlife.com -

14 days free

www.yoga international.com- 14 days

free

Making The Invisible Visible


SLEEP DISTURBANCES

Stress and anxiety can cause sleeping

problems or make existing problems

worse. Dr Guy Meadows is a sleep

physiologist who is a cofounder of The

Sleep School and author of The Sleep

Book which uses a blend of

mindfulness and ACT therapy

techniques, in a five-week plan to

improve sleep problems.

There is also an app, the Sleep School

for Insomnia app which contains a

5-step approach to retrain the brain to

build a new regular sleeping pattern.

SELF CARE

Self-care is the key to living a balanced

life and is any activity that we do, in

order to take care of our mental,

emotional, and physical health.

Although the concept is simple, in

theory, it is something that is often

overlooked.

Self-care should be something we

enjoy doing and not be a chore we

force ourselves to do, or it defeats the

object. It is something that replenishes

rather than depletes from us and is not

only about considering our needs; it is

about knowing what we need to do in

order to take care of ourselves in order

to be able to take care of others.

Rather than something that just

happens, plan your self- care. Add it to

your calendar. It can be as simple as

making sure you book in those missed

medical appointments or a haircut, to

making time for a long walk, meeting

friends, visiting the cinema or trying a

new hobby.

www.thesleepschool.org

The Sleep Book by Dr Guy Meadows

SELF ESTEEM

Recognise what you're good at.

Make a list. We tend to focus on what

we can't do, instead of everything we

can do.

Focus on positive relationships.

If certain people bring you down or

make you feel bad, spend less time

with them. It is important for your self

esteem to build relationships with

people who are positive and who

appreciate you.

Be kind to yourself

We can all be our worst critic. Think of

what you'd say to a friend in a similar

situation. We tend to give far better

advice to others than to ourselves.

Be assertive

Being assertive is about respecting

other people's opinions and needs, and

expecting the same from them. One

way of doing this is to start saying "no"

to things youknow you will resent.

Making The Invisible Visible



TRIGGERS

Emotional triggers are how you react

to someone else’s behaviors or

comments. When triggered, you may

either withdraw emotionally and

simply feel hurt or become angry and

respond in an aggressive way. The

reason your reaction is so intense is

because you are defending against a

painful feeling that has surfaced. Being

triggered is exhausting and painful but

being aware of what the triggers are

can go a long way towards mitigating

the emotional pain.

1. Identify your top three emotional

triggers.

TRAUMA STEWARDSHIP

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is the

founder and director of The Trauma

Stewardship Institute and author of

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday

Guide to Caring for Self While Caring

for Others and The Age of Overwhelm.

She is widely recognized as a pioneer

in the field of trauma exposure.

The book Trauma Stewardship is

written for anyone who is exposed to

hardship, pain, crisis and trauma. It is

for those who notice that they are not

the same people they once were, or are

being told by their families, friends,

colleagues, that something is different

about them. It is a navigational tool for

remembering that we have options at

every step of our lives. We can make a

difference without suffering; we can do

meaningful work in a way that works

for us and for those we serve.

www.traumastewardship.com

What causes you to be most upset and

thrown off balance. Is it when

someone criticizes your weight or

appearance? Your achievements? Do

you feel undeserving of a healthy

relationship?

2. Find the trigger’s origin.

Knowing where your triggers come

from allows you to know yourself

better.

3. Substitute negative beliefs.

Start with one trigger that has the least

emotional charge and tell yourself that

this is not the reality. Substitute the

negative belief with a positive, more

realistic one.

4. Pave the way for more positivity.

It takes time and practice to change

your way of thinking and for it to sink

in and become real.

5. Working with a therapist or coach

can help in identifying and managing

triggers.

Making The Invisible Visible



UNFOLLOW

There will be times when those you

connect with on social media either no

longer inspire or engage you or can

make you feel deflated - even angry. If

you find that you are becoming

increasingly negatively affected by

someone's posts, it could be time to

unfollow. It's not necessary to inform

someone you have unfollowed, this

isn't about attaining the moral high

ground, it is about how anger and

negativity can impact your wellbeing.

If the account questions your decision,

be honest, let them know the posts are

having a negative impact on your

wellbeing. Good reasons to unfollow

include accounts that:

UNFAIRNESS

Life is inherently unfair and for anyone

who has suffered injustice, especially

when others seem to have it so easy, it

can be an extremely bitter pill to

swallow. For anyone who has

experienced abuse, dicrimination or

loss, it is natural to want someone held

to account but all too often abusers

will refuse to admit culpability and

when accountability is either not

forthcoming or there is denial, there

may be a desire to seek repercussions

for what was done - even wanting

revenge but ultimately, none of that

makes the pain go away. It feeds the

anger, keeping the pain alive for

longer. To quote John Milton " He that

studieth revenge keepeth his own

wounds green, which otherwise would

heal and do well". Some people react

more to injustice and are more

invested in seeking revenge whilst

others are able to move on with their

lives. When we are caught up in a cycle

of vengeance, it is time to seek help to

manage our emotions.

- Are too narcissistic and constantly

post selfies, photos of what they have

and who they know that make you feel

inadequate.They are looking for the

validation you don't need to give.

- Only promote their own content or

products. Unless it's an influencer

account or you value the content.

- Deliberately pick fights. This isn't

about informed debate but someone

spoiling for a fight. If following is

becoming a chore due to hostility or

negativity either from their posts or

comments and conversations they

encourage, it's time to unfollow.

- Deliberately encourage divisiveness,

taunting, provocation and hate.

- Abuses hashtags. If the list of

hashtags is much longer than the

actual post.....

- Constantly asks you to retweet their

posts.

- Constantly makes you feel angry.

Making The Invisible Visible


VALIDATION

“You have been criticizing yourself for

years, and it hasn’t worked. Try

approving of yourself and see what

happens.” ~Louise L. Hay

It is common to seek validation from

others, to confirm we did not do

anything wrong and are not a bad

person but that should not be our only

way of affirming ourselves, we also

need to be able to validate, support,

and help ourselves.

VALUES

Life presents an endless series of

decisions, that require difficult choices

and while many factors are involved,

your core values are critical to deciding

them. These values define the kind of

person you are, or want to be, and

provide guidelines, or even

imperatives, for your actions.

But how do you know what the

principles that give our lives meaning

and allow us to persevere through

adversity, are? Some examples of what

core values can be about include:

financial security, health and fitness,

accomplishment, compassion, love,

creativity, dependability, work, calm,

beauty, gratitude, leadership, learning,

survival, security, self preservation

family, success, bravery or freedom.

Russ Harris , author of The Happiness

Trap has a You Tube video which looks

at a values focused life:

https://youtu.be/T-lRbuy4XtA

We can do this by taking an honest

look at ourselves and acknowledging

both our strengths and areas where we

are less so, using praise instead of

shame. If something did not work out,

at least we tried and can try again.

Read: How To Raise Your Self-Esteem

Nathaniel Branden

VENTING

Venting can feel good but research

shows that venting can perpetuate

anger issues by reinforcing negative

responses to situations. When we

enlist others in our rants, it reinforces

the anger even more resulting in a

lesser likelihood of resolution. We are

very good at making snap judgments

and condemning others on a moment's

notice. Instead of venting, practice not

jumping to conclusions and, instead,

practice staying with the emotion,

without labeling and judging to allow a

more informed reaction and next time

you find yourself venting, pay

attention to how many times you

repeat the same information. When

we're worked up we repeat ourselves

for emphasis. Setting limits will force

us to keep it brief, sort out our

thoughts, and then focus on to a

solution.

Making The Invisible Visible



WALLOW

Sadness doesn’t worsen or last longer

if you give it your full attention.

Often, the fastest way out of emotional

pain is through it, as ignoring bad

feelings can make them worse in the

long run.

Pretending everything is ok can

undermine self-acceptance as you are

effectively telling yourself that your

feelings are inappropriate or

unimportant but allowing yourself to

have these feelings is self-acceptance

in action.

WABI SABI

wabi sabi is centered on the acceptance

of transience and imperfection. The

aesthetic is sometimes described as

one of beauty that is "imperfect,

impermanent, and incomplete".

It helps us to see the beauty in

imperfection, appreciate simplicity and

accept the transient nature of all

things.

From reframing failure to ageing with

grace, the wabi sabi philosophy can

teach that joy and inspiration can

come out of an imperfect life.

For survivors of abuse who have been

made to feel worthless, or trauma

survivors who feel their experiences

have irrevocably damaged them, this

philosophy of seeing the beauty in

damage is affirmative.

Letting yourself wallow means that you

also learn to feel more comfortable

around other people’s despair.

WALKING

Psychologists have found that a

10-minute walk may be just as good as

a 45-minute workout when it comes to

relieving the symptoms of anxiety.

Walking can also be used as a

mindfulness exercise to manage or

offset a panic attack, as well as

improve balance.

Here is a walking exercise that can be

helpful for alleviating anxiety and

panic:

Imagine you are walking on a

tightrope. Place one foot directly in

front of the other. Do this looking

straight ahead and- either with arms

outstretched, or holding a pole, like a

broom handle or a dowelling rod.

For a more challenging exercise,

imagine walking the tightrope

backwards, toes touching heels.

Making The Invisible Visible


Because sighing involves taking such a

big breath, it can work to reinflate

most of the alveoli. When we are

stressed, the breath is quickened. This

rapid breathing, or hyperventilation,

which can make us feel breathless, can

be accompanied by an increase in

sighing. According to research,

excessive sighing can also play a role in

some anxiety disorders, including

panic disorder, post-traumatic stress

disorder (PTSD), as well as phobias

but it is unclear whether excessive

sighing contributes to these disorders

or is a symptom of them.

XHALE (or sighing)

We sigh when we are frustrated,

worried and when we are relieved. A

sigh tells others about our current

mood and is used in drama to convey

mood. On average, humans produce

about 12 spontaneous sighs in 1 hour.

That means we sigh about once every 5

minutes. These sighs are generated in

the brainstem by about 200 nerve

cells. If, on the other hand, we sigh

more than what is considered normal,

that can indicate an underlying

problem like uncontrolled anxiety,

depression or a respiratory condition

Research reveals that sighing is much

more than a sign of frustration or

sadness, it helps preserve lung

function. When we are breathing

normally, the small air sacs in the

lungs, the alveoli, can sometimes

collapse spontaneously. This can

negatively affect lung function and

reduce the gaseous exchange that

occurs there. Sighing helps in

preventing this.

A 2008 study investigated whether

persistent sighing was associated with

a physical health condition and whilst

no association was identified, it is

interesting to note that researchers

found that 32 .5 % of participants had

previously experienced a traumatic

event, while 25 % had an anxiety

disorder or other mental disorder.

The researchers found that all

participants reported a greater sense of

relief after they were instructed to take

a deep breath, indicating that

controlled, deep breathing could play a

role in reducing stress after an anxietyprovoking

event.

Participants with a high propensity

towards anxiety showed a significant

decrease in muscle tension after a

spontaneous sigh, whereas

participants with a low propensity

towards anxiety showed a significant

decrease in muscle tension after

spontaneously holding their

breath. However, neither was

associated with a greater sense of

psychological relief. The results

suggest that sighing could have

important implications for how we

understand the role of breathing in

anxiety disorders.

Making The Invisible Visible



This style is really great for people with

injuries who need to work slowly and

methodically.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga practice is equal parts

spiritual and physical. This style is all

about releasing the kundalini energy in

your body said to be trapped, or coiled,

in the lower spine. These classes are

pretty intense and can involve

chanting, mantra, and meditation.

Ashtanga yoga

YOGA

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that

focuses on strength, flexibility and

breathing through a series of postures.

Yoga originated in India about 5,000,

with many different styles:

Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga classes are best for

beginners since they are usually paced

slower than other yoga styles. Hatha

classes today are a classic approach to

breathing and exercises.

Iyengar yoga

Iyengar yoga focuses on alignment as

well as detailed and precise

movements. In an Iyengar class,

students perform a variety of postures

while controlling the breath and poses

are held for a long time while adjusting

the minutiae of the pose. Iyengar relies

heavily on props to help students

perfect their form and go deeper into

poses in a safe manner.

Ashtanga yoga involves a very

physically demanding sequence of

postures, so this style of yoga is not for

a beginner.

Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa is the most athletic yoga style.

Vinyasa was adapted from ashtanga

yoga in the 1980s. Many types of yoga

can also be considered vinyasa flows

such as ashtanga, power yoga, and

prana. In vinyasa classes, the

movement is coordinated with your

breath and movement to flow from one

pose to another.

Restorative yoga

Restorative yoga focuses on winding

down after a long day and relaxing

your mind. At its core, this style

focuses on body relaxation. Restorative

yoga also helps to cleanse and free

your mind. Many of the poses are

modified to be easier and more

relaxing. There are fewer poses that

are held for longer to facilitate a

deeper stretch and props such as

blankets, bolsters, and eye pillows are

used to help you sink deeper into

relaxation.

Making The Invisible Visible


Practicing Yoga from Home:

Yoga International

Stream hundreds of expertly led yoga

& meditation classes on any device.

Free trial.

www.yogainternational.com

Down Dog Yoga

Down Dog Yoga is part of a series of

exercise apps which includes HIIT,

Barre, and 7 Minute Workout

Because of Covid-19, all apps are

completely free until May 1st.

www.downdogapp.com

Making The Invisible Visible



ZEN

Zen simply means slowing down.

Anytime you need to:

Close your eyes. It’s simple, really:

Anytime you want, you can stop and

pull the blinds shut, turning your gaze

inward.

Take deep breaths. Pull a big inhale

in through your nose, filling up your

belly from the bottom of you all the

way up to the top of you. Hold, then

exhale the breath out your nose from

top to bottom. This mindful breathing

increases your focus, slows your heart

rate and contributes to a feeling of

balance and grounding.

Choose Zen. “Think. Say. Do.” Every

action is first a thought. Every thought

has an intention. Set a clear and

positive intention to “find Zen” in your

everyday life. Think it, say it, and do

it.

Read: Zen: The Art of Simple Living

Shunmyo Masuno

ZEAL

Losing zeal can be scary. Along with

losing your enthusiasm for life or the

dreams you once had, can come a loss of

confidence. When that happens, what can

you do to regain the passion you once

had?

1. Doubting Your Abilities. Don’t get stuck

in the comparison trap. If you compare

yourself to other people all too often, to

their successes and especially to their

high-light reels that they share on social

media then self-doubt can quickly creep

up. compare yourself to yourself.

2. Are you putting too much pressure on

yourself ? Ask yourself the following: Why

did I start it? What motivates me? What

keeps me coming back to it?

3. Did you get what you came for? Is it

time you let it go?

Get it back:

Making The Invisible Visible

1. Take a break now. include distancing

yourself from things that hurt. Keeping

away, I protect my own sanity and I'm

spending time exploring other things I

previously wouldn't have. Let your body

rest. Recharge and refuel.

2. Give yourself a deadline to evaluate.

Take an honest look and ask if anything

has changed for the better. Recognise the

truth

Look towards people who inspire you to

see if that fires up your enthusiasm.

See a setback as temporary. When you

have a setback then you may start to see

things through a negative and dark lens.

You might see this current setback as

something that will simply be your new

normal. This way of looking at things can

trap you in thinking that there's no point

in continuing to take action.


CCChat Opinion Piece

Alison Bird on Trauma

Alison Bird is the

Interim Services

Director and Clinical

Stalking Lead for

Changing Pathways,

an Essex-based charity

that supports both

domestic abuse &

stalking survivors and

their children. Alison

has been working in

the field and

nationally for over a

decade with survivors

from the general

public to high profile

persons. Alison has sat

at Parliamentary level

discussions on the DA

Bill and also for

Stalking Protection

Orders. Additionally

Alison is a DHR Chair

& a national trainer/

speaker on the

following subjects: •

Stalking • DASH 2009

• Domestic abuse •

Coercive control •

Victim Advocacy for

professionals.

To contact Alison:

welcome@changingpa

thways.org for any

training or other

enquiries and look at

SDAST.co.uk for more

information.

W

orking

with people who are suffering

and have suffered trauma in many

different ways can be challenging and

yet really rewarding.

One of my really strong feelings is that society likes to

label survivors of domestic abuse, stalking & rape with

ADHD, ADD, EUPD and many other acronymns that

frankly mask the underlying issue which is trauma.

So how did someone without a PHD who is not a Dr,

Psychologist or Psychiatrist come to conclude this?

Having worked with over 1000 clients within a

domestic abuse and stalking setting – both adults &

children. It is impossible not to notice themes.

If I had a £100 for each time I spoke with a domestic

abuse/stalking survivor who advised me they have

children and then went on to say “who have been

diagnosed with ADD, ADHD,” in some cases Autism or

that they are waiting for a diagnosis – well then I

would be a wealthy woman by some people’s

standards! So this cannot be coincidence.

Having spent time working at Family Solutions, Essex

(taking the DA/Stalking cases) & alongside our

amazing children’s counsellors at Changing Pathways

the pieces of the jigsaw come together and each time

the answer is TRAUMA.

Of course there are examples of children without this

background of trauma where they have Autism, ADHD

etc so I don’t want to take away from that.

Making The Invisible Visible


out there who agree with this theory

and are also better equipped to back

up the theory with their psychology &

psychiatry degrees and specialisms.

The area of trauma is one that really

intrigues me and I think that we need

to look more closely at the labels for

children adults and assess if they are

righy and what else can be done.

Dr Daniel Siegul – Window of

Tolerance

What I do suggest is understanding

the underlying issues in each case and

treating them accordingly and not

ignore abuse & trauma.

Again this issue manifests itself with

the adult victims/survivors of DA &

stalking. Many of them will say that

they have been diagnosed with EUPD

or a similar acronym and that it’s a

personality disorder and may be told it

is untreatable. Some will tell us they

were diagnosed as children and carry

the label around for years without any

more recent Psychiatrist, Psychologist

or counsellor seeing them and

wondering if perhaps that label is still

accurate and ask is it correct? This is

where professional curiosity must can

in and professionals can ask is this

label still applicable? Has it altered?

Have we treated the route cause? Does

the client have the right tools to help

herself or himself?

As a speaker and trainer on DA/

Stalking the labels & trauma come up a

lot and I know there are others

So what actually happens to our

domestic abuse and stalking victims

whilst they are in a dangerous

situation or even in a situation that for

them replicates and stimulates the

same responses as danger? One of the

best and simplified explanations of a

trauma response can be found in

Daniel Siegul’s work.

Daniel Siegul talks about “the window

on tolerance”. In layman’s terms if you

are within the window of tolerance

(not overwhelmed by anything and in

your comfort zone) your brain will

function “normally” and you are able

to make rational decisions.

When you are out of your window of

tolerance this becomes impossible and

your rational thinking part of the brain

stops functioning. Again in simple

terms – a frightening event will trigger

our alarm centre in the brain (called

the Amygdala); you could call it your

internal burglar alarm. Once that is

triggered your brain either goes into

FIGHT or FLIGHT mode (hyperarousal)

or it FREEZES (hypoarousal).

Daniel Siegul also states “if you name

it you can tame it”.

Making The Invisible Visible


So if more people know about this

simple way of understanding how our

brains functions and reacts to trauma

we are then more able to create a

toolkit to help when someone becomes

overwhelmed. So if you take a

developing brain, that is not fully

formed, such as a child’s brain and

then put the child into a repeatedly

traumatic situation eg, domestic abuse,

stalking – is it any wonder that their

brains are not going to form in the

same way a child, without this ongoing

trauma will be able to thrive.

The latest thinking is that brains are

not fully formed until you are 20 years

old. However, the first 24 months of a

child’s life are critical regarding

attachment & attunement. As are the

first 8 years critical. Trauma will

dysregulate the following: areas of

language, mobility, physical and social

skills and managing emotions. The

amygdala regulates emotions so if it is

triggered constantly emotions will

become dysregulated.

Danielle Crockett (USA)

The extreme and tragic USA case of

Danielle Crockett – who was locked in

a confined space for almost the first 7

years of her life delineate the impact

on a child when there is abuse, neglect,

no parental interaction, trauma etc.

Danielle was discovered by a Detective

Holste in Tampe Bay Florida whilst

responding to a Child Abuse claim in

July 2005. When the Detective arrived

at the house and saw a small creature

moving on the floor and realised it was

a girl, he described it as the worst case

of abuse he had ever come across and

said “she weighed almost

nothing….she didn’t smile, make any

expression…it was like she was looking

through you”.

Making The Invisible Visible


Dani is also known as the Girl in the

Window as she was spotted in the

window of the house by a passer-by

who was the one who called it into the

police.

The director of paediatric psychology

at the University of South Florida

medical school, Dr Kathleen

Armstrong who assessed Dani said “85

percent of a child's brain develops

during her first five years of life.

He said she: “Didn’t speak, was

covered in rashes, covered in bites

strong odour…there were cockroaches

& faeces everywhere”. Dani was found

wearing a nappy at nearly 7 years old,

had been kept in a space the size of a

wardrobe, had no interaction with

others or her mother, could not eat,

drink and had not learnt any of the

Dr Armstrong’s assessment was that

Dani had become “environmentally

autistic”. This case again highlights the

need for the right ingredients for a

child to meet their milestones

otherwise the brain with all the

functions will not form the correct

attachment/attunement that it

should.

If you overload a child or an adult with

fear, it sets off the alarm centre, then

the cortisol floods the brain

(adrenaline reaction) and too much of

that repeatedly is also damaging.

“if you name it you can tame it”

basics so was in essence like a baby. In

her story someone says: “if you isolate

song birds from other song birds they

do not learn to sing”. She didn’t get the

stimulation for her brain to grow at the

right stages. She was underweight and

undernourished. Neurological tests

showed there was nothing wrong with

her brain again proving that without

the right conditions children’s brains

do not develop as they should. She was

adopted by a loving family but she still

cannot speak and is now

approximately 20 years old.

Repeatedly being in a heightened state

of hyper-arousal or freeze state of

hypo-arousal will mean there is an

impact on a child or adults brain’s

functionality.

And without the right recognition

leading to the right intervention -

children/adults will not be supported

correctly.

Making The Invisible Visible


Examples of Ways To Treat

Hyper or Hypo Arousal

Taken from the Attachment and

Trauma Centre for Healing

(See Diagram)

Sample activities to decrease aousal

include: Sample activities to decrease

arousal include:

• Diaphragmatic breathing (deep and

slow tummy breathing)

• Drinking from a straw

• Throwing a therapy / yoga ball at a

blank wall or outside wall

• Jumping on a trampoline or mini

trampoline

• Weighted blanket

• Warm water

• shaking or stomping out excess energ

• Therapy / yoga ball (rolling along

back when child / youth is lying face

down on mat – gentle but firm

pressure)

• Heavy work (lifting, pulling,

pushups, wheelbarrow races, crab

walk, leap frog etc.)

• Music (soothing and calming music

and sounds)

• Comforting food (hot chocolate or

something chewy but smooth such as a

tootsie roll)

Sample activities to increase arousal

include:

• Anything that stimulates the senses!

• Smelling essential oils (smell is the

fastest way to the thinking brain -

where are strategies are!)

• Chewy crunchy food

• Use of sensory shaker (ball pit) for

tactile input

• Movement

• Jumping on a trampoline or mini

trampoline

• Gently sitting and bouncing on

therapy ball (simulating rocking

motion)

Making The Invisible Visible


• Rocking chair

• Weighted blanket

• Water play with a straw (blowing

through the straw)

• Dancing and music

Elevated arousal makes it more likely

that an individual will be more

reactive, startle more readily, have

difficulty concentrating and focusing,

feel unsafe in open or crowded spaces,

and constantly be scanning for threat

even when no threat is present

(Scarer, 2013; van der Kolk, 2014;

Steele, & Kuban, 2012). Finger

painting

Additionally we need more facilities

and professionals to help work with

our traumatised survivors: both adult

& children. Currently we are letting

these survivors down. Waiting lists for

help are long, private counselling/

psychologists are expensive and out of

reach for the majority of people. Our

mental-health network in Essex is not

fully equipped to help all survivors.

At Changing Pathways we are lucky to

have a team of counsellors who work

with survivors who have been

supported by us for 3 months or longer

and additionally their children.

“without the right recognition leading to the right intervention -

children/adults will not be supported correctly.”

Alison Bird

This is important information for

schools to understand as well. ATTCH

offers a trauma-informed schools

trainings. So there is some excellent

work being done out there but in my

opinion there is not enough

understanding of TRAUMA in the

domestic abuse/stalking world –

which then leads to “problem children”

with “labels” that don’t fit and children

who don’t fit into society, they are

often expelled etc.

If we can understand what trauma

does to children & adults we can use

the coping strategies an work with the

survivors to ensure they really are

survivors and thrivers and not

mislabelled misfits.

Play therapy is used with the

children and is extremely successful.

Sadly we are seeing under 10s selfharming,

disclosing abuse and with

suicidal ideation.

These children do not need labels

they require intensive work bespoke

to their needs. However, this takes

funding.

If you would like to help fund

us please donate on our

website:

www.changingpathways.org it

saves lives.

If you are a victim of domestic

abuse or stalking in Essex

please call

COMPASS on 03330 333 7 444

Making The Invisible Visible


Maanch is an online digital technology

platform connecting donors and

charities.

Maanch been raising money for UK

registered organisations since 2019

from both the public and networks of

wealthy philanthropists.

In response to the Coronavirus

pandemic, Maanch has launched the

Coronavirus Response Fund, with the

objective of supporting charities and

lifesaving services and solutions -

helping the most vulnerable, harderto-reach

and hidden groups who’ve

been most deeply affected by

Covid-19.

Manch are building a community of

organisations responding to the crisis

and would love to hear more about

your organisation & work for the

opportunity to receive support from

the CoronaVirus Response Fund.

Some of the themes Maanch are

funding include: Domestic Violence,

Children & Youth, Community

Resilience, Elderly, Mental Health,

Food Banks, Housing and

Homelessness, Animal Welfare and

Arts and Culture.

www.maanch.com

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