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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques

Overview of techniques for emotional release

When emotions are overwhelming it is tempting to get busy, to turn to sugar or other addictions to numb out and escape the feelings. This just keeps the emotions buried inside. The only way to truly escape from them is to feel them and release them so that they are no longer inside, surfacing over and over again in an attempt to get you to embrace them.

There are many ways to feel and release emotions. Below is a range of techniques that you can use for either no or low-cost. Try each and see what works best for you. If you find that you still can’t cope with the intensity of the emotions then reach out for support. A list of free counselling helplines within Australia is included below. If you are not from Australia an internet search or question to your local doctor will hopefully provide you with details of similar services available close to you.

  • Expressing how you are feeling – Speak your truth, honour your feelings – just do it in a way that is safe. If that means screaming into a cushion or in the car with the windows wound up, do it. If it means crying while curled up on the floor, do it. If it means beating cushions on the lounge while expressing your anger, do it. If it feels safe to do, you may choose to imagine the person who upset you is there with you and tell them the consequences of their actions and its impact on your life. The important part is expressing what you feel. Letting it leave your body rather than locking it up inside you.
  • Writing out how you are feeling – a journal or diary can be used to write about how you are feeling and why. This honours your emotions and helps you to connect within, to reflect on what you are feeling and the reasons for it. It helps you to gain insight into your experiences and behaviour. It can be very helpful especially if you feel you can’t share what you are going through with anyone else. Some people like to express their feelings in poems or songs, they find that very therapeutic. You can also write letters (which you won’t actually send) to those that hurt you expressing your emotions, the impact on your life and your needs now. Because you don’t actually send the letter you can express the depth of your rage and grief, really letting the person know how you feel. After you’ve written it rip the letter up and burn it, let it and the emotions go.
  • Drawing how you are feeling – art can be a powerful method for releasing emotions as it is more ‘feeling’ based and less ‘thinking’ based. Pick up crayons, paint or clay – whatever feels right – and use it to express what you’re feeling. Just scribble or draw, allow what needs to be expressed to come out. You don’t need to try and draw something specific, let it evolve out of your emotions. It can be very surprising to see what appears this way. When it’s done the emotion is out of you and on the paper. You can keep your drawings as a record of your healing journey or rip them up and burn them as a symbolism of release.
  • Moving the energy – emotions are energy in motion (e-motion). You can shift anger and rage by doing vigorous exercise. Go for a walk, run, swim or whatever form of exercise feels right. Do a gym class, punch a punching bag, whatever works for you. As you exercise you release the pent up energy and therefore the emotions.
  • Embracing the healing power of nature – sitting or walking in nature can be a powerful healer. I find that being in a garden or forest helps me to centre and ground, to balance back up, to feel stronger, more peaceful and able to cope with whatever I’m facing. Standing near or in the ocean, feeling the salt air or the salt water if I’m in it helps cleanse me, freshen me, drain away the negative emotions, leaving me feeling lighter, cleaner and stronger. (Having a bath with a handful of rock salt in it does a similar thing).
  • Meditation – If you can sit still and meditate then simply observing your emotions and the associated thoughts can allow them to shift and release. They no longer need to fight for your attention so they quieten down as you honour them and accept them – as you acknowledge the reason the emotions arose and what information they are giving you about your life and any actions needing to be taken. Just sit and breathe deeply, witness what occurs within your body. Allow emotions, thoughts, images and memories to surface and release. Our breath is very powerful and can shift even the most intense of emotions if you allow the process to occur – keep breathing and witnessing – and allow the emotions to flow and shift. Trust that they will move and breathe through any resistance.
  • Flower remedies – There are a wide range of flower remedies such as Bach Flower Remedies and Australian Bush Flower Essences. These are relatively low-cost and help the body to balance emotions and clear blockages. There are remedies to assist when you have experienced shock or trauma (Rescue Remedy or SOS Remedy). There are also remedies specific for individual emotions and issues – such as grief, fear, anger, sadness or for building confidence, self-love and self-esteem. Many health food shops and some chemists stock flower remedies within Australia. They can also be ordered over the internet from wholesale stockists or manufacturers.

Australian Counselling Helplines

Below are the details of some of the free counselling services provided by organisations within Australia. (This information was accurate as of 2010.) Visit their websites to find out what other services they provide or can refer you to. There are often support groups and sometimes workshops you can attend. There are also some Government funded services to support those suffering from depression and mental health issues. Ask your local doctor about what services are available in your local area.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), Phone: 1300-657-380 – provides support, information and referrals throughout Australia to survivors of all forms of child abuse and neglect, male and female, family members, supporters as well as health professionals. Operating hours are 9–5 EDST with answering machine outside these hours and while counsellors are on another call. All calls made after hours will be returned the following day. http://www.asca.org.au/

Kids help line Phone: 1800 55 1800 – Kids Help Line is Australia’s only free, confidential and anonymous, 24-hour telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between five and 18. http://www.kidshelpline.com.au/

Lifeline Phone: 131 114 – A 24-hour telephone counselling service available for anyone, at any time, and from anywhere in Australia for just the cost of a local call. http://www.lifeline.com.au

Parent help line Phone: 1300 364 100 – The Parent Helpline is a service of the SA Government Department Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service and provides telephone information, counselling and support – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. It is available to parents of children and young people from birth to twenty five years and to people working with children and young people, including teachers and childcare providers. http://www.parenting.sa.gov.au/helpline/. For details of services provided in other states of Australia see: http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/resources/counselling.html#nat

Paying for supportive healing services

If you have funds to spend then you can of course choose from a wide range of modalities and services to assist you with your healing journey.

  • If you want to talk about your experiences – then Counsellors, Coaches, Psychiatrists and Psychologists may be of assistance. Each has a different approach, cost and use. Ask questions before deciding on a practitioner to see. What is his or her experience with healing from child abuse? Do they regularly prescribe the use of anti-depressants and medication? How long do they normally see clients for? What are their spiritual beliefs? Find someone who you resonate with, who feels safe to be with and who listens to and honours you. Be prepared that you will probably feel worse before you feel better. As you make insights about your life and the reasons for your behaviours you will uncover the pain that led to your conditioning and repetitive patterns. It is painful facing all of this but it has to be done in order to heal and find inner peace. Take your time, rest when you need to and explore yourself and your past at a rate you can handle. Many abuse survivors, like me, push themselves way too hard in an attempt to heal quickly. Be kind to yourself.
  • If you want to use non-talk focussed approaches – then a range of methods can be used to support your body to release and heal. Massage is very beneficial; especially for physical and sexual abuse survivors who learn from it that touch can be safe and nurturing. There are many different types of body-work that can be of assistance, including: acupuncture, bowen, myofascial release, reiki and rolfing. Ask friends what they have tried and felt helped. Get referrals to practitioners that people you trust have visited. Do some research on the internet and follow your intuition as to what feels most appropriate for you. Try something and if after a few visits it doesn’t feel helpful, try something else. When you have found something that works for you, stick with it. Allow it to take you deep within. Often people stay at the surface by chopping and changing the modalities that they are using. They fail to go deep within, feel their pain and release it. Instead they just seek pleasure from these body-work approaches. While this feels good it’s not achieving the ultimate need – releasing the emotions buried within the body.
  • If you are willing to talk a little – then there are a range of practices available that are quick and brief therapies rather than involving years and years of talking. Homeopathy can be very beneficial – you talk just enough that the practitioner can select the right remedy to support you with the major issues you are currently facing. You use that for four to six weeks then return to repeat the process. Thought Field Therapy, PSYCH-K, and the LifeLine Technique can help you to release buried emotions and/or change self-defeating, subconscious beliefs. You don’t have to explain your history or anything about yourself. Just tell the practitioner what the topic is that you want to work on and any beliefs that you want to change. They will then guide you through the process. A different topic is worked on each session.

There are many options and many ways to heal. The above are just a sampling of techniques that I’ve experienced as beneficial in my healing journey. See where you feel guided and follow that path. Trust in yourself and the process. Your journey like everyone else’s will be unique to suit your unique needs and issues.

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Personal Development Self help techniques Uncategorized

Decision making

Sometimes it can be challenging to make a decision. Here are some helpful concepts from Susan Jeffer’s fabulous book ‘Feal the Fear and do it anyway’. Below is a table you can use to help you think through the implications of each action you are considering.

If I choose this course of action
The self
Gains for self Acceptable to me because: Not acceptable to me because:
Losses for self Acceptable to me because: Not acceptable to me because:
Significant others
Gains for significant others Acceptable to me because: Not acceptable to me because:
Losses for significant others Acceptable to me because: Not acceptable to me because:
Life balance
Gains for life balance Acceptable to me because: Not acceptable to me because:
Losses for life balance Acceptable to me because: Not acceptable to me because:

I find the below diagrams and summaries useful in reminding me that there is no wrong action to take. If we don’t like the results we get we can just change course. It is also helpful to realise that not taking action is a decision too! One that we often make over and over while we worry and procrastinate.

no win decisionno lose decision

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques Uncategorized

Letting go of control and worry

A lot of us spend a huge amount of time and energy trying to control what happens in our life. We may attempt to control what our partner and children do, what happens at work, how we look at all times, how our friends and family behave, and what other people think of us. Ultimately all of this is wasted time and energy because we can’t control these things. Worrying about them certainly doesn’t help, it just drains us.

All we can control and change is our self – our thoughts, beliefs, behaviours – how we react to people and situations. Once we realise this we can use our time and energy more wisely, focusing on improving our self and doing what we want with our life. This is a big key to freedom and happiness. It’s like the serenity prayer:

God help me to recognise the things I can control and the things I can’t

Things I can change / control Things I can’t change / control
What I think about myself What other people think of me
My beliefs, opinions & expectations. How I react to & judge other people My feelings
Speak honestly about my feelings & what I want. What I do to & for other people Other people’s feelings
What I swallow today. What I do for exercise today My weight today
Make amends for past actions. What I will do now & in the future What I did in the past
The pain I feel from the past. What I say to people What others did in the past
My level of independence. My ability to cope with what others do.How I behave. What other people do now & in future
The people I spend my time with Who my family members are
What I do to earn money Time wasted in a job I don’t like
My activity & stress levels now & in the future. My diet Being sick today
The present & what I do that may assist in a positive future The future
Accept myself & take action to accomplish what I want What other people accomplish
My level of gratitude for what I do have. How much I enjoy my life as it is. What other people have or do that I can’t do
My attitude towards aging. Staying young at heart, fit & healthy Getting older
Make the most of every day. My beliefs about what death means Dying

More detailed explanations of some of the above:

  • Your feelings – When a feeling has been triggered such as anger or grief, you have that feeling – you can’t wish or ignore it away. It’s there. You need to work through those feelings, allow yourself to feel them and release them in a healthy way. Once the feeling has passed you can then train yourself not to react that same way in the future, you can change your beliefs and thinking so that you don’t get angry or hurt by what someone else does or says.
  • Your partner’s behaviour – When your partner does something that you don’t like, you can try to ignore it and say nothing. You can waste energy wishing they wouldn’t do whatever it was that upset you. You can waste energy trying to control them by telling them off and telling them what you think they should do. Or you can try to manipulate them so that they feel guilty or ashamed to behave the way they did. Ultimately all of these techniques will not work and will only cause larger problems. You can’t control anyone else’s behaviour, so you’re wasting your time. You’re better of to stop, look and listen to yourself. What has upset or annoyed you? Why? What do you assume your partner’s behaviour means? What has it triggered in you from the past? Is your judgment about the way it should be done reasonable? Learn from it. Then honestly discuss your feelings and your response to what they did with them. That way you can both learn about each other and resolve the issue.
  •  Expectations – Let go of conditional thinking – if I do ……….. then ………….. will happen. Life is not that simple and having expectations just sets yourself up for disappointment. Let it go and flow with life.

Prepared by: Dr. Jodi-Anne M Smith, 2006, Letting go of control and worry, adapted from: Hendricks G & Johncock P, 2005, The book of life – the master key to inner peace and relationship harmony, The Transformational Book Circle, Ojal, California.

Categories
Healing from child abuse Personal Development Self help techniques

Accessing your inner heart – meditation

Connecting to your heart is the greatest gift you can give yourself and the greatest challenge, for to feel the joy of the heart you first have to feel all its pain and burden buried from the past. Peeling these layers off leads you back to joy, happiness, peace and love – eternal love, feelings of aliveness and contentment – the ability to just BE.

Accessing the heart is easy when we feel courageous enough to go there. Just tune in to it, set your focus, your intention on your heart, close your eyes and imagine entering inside your heart space. Here you will be met by whatever you most need to feel and release. It may be sadness, grief, anger or rage. It may be a feeling of numbness, loneliness and isolation. It may be fear or terror. Breathe through it all.

Your heart space may appear dark – turn on a light, open the curtains, strike a match – whatever feels right to you and see what you can see. Set about cleaning the space, removing clutter, dust and cobwebs and decorating it into a cosy, warm, inviting space. This is how you start to re-enliven your heart space. It tells your heart you are willing to listen, to see and feel what needs to be felt. You are willing to connect and come home to your true self.

Often when I do this exercise, I find younger versions of myself hidden away in caves or corners, in the dark, cold and wet. These parts split off when I was younger due to their being too much emotional pain, fear or loss. When I find these parts I automatically start crying tears of relief. I scoop the younger me up and bring them into my heart space. I hug them, tell them they are loved and safe now, that they never have to be alone again. I become the loving parent to that part of myself. After they have been bathed, fed and clothed we sit in my heart space and talk and play, then they rest knowing they are finally home. It is a beautiful feeling.

While this appears symbolic to the mind, it is real to the body. The body stored the pain, the terror and loss. It is locked away in our cells as cellular memory and it needs to be released for us to be fully healthy and vital. So each time you do this process and you free another part of your self you truly are healing and coming back to a state of fullness, innocence and peace. Well worth the effort!

Let your imagination guide you and take you where you need to go. You may see bats fly out of a hidden space or ice melting symbolically showing frozen emotions are thawing. It all has meaning! If you are strongly mind-oriented you may find this difficult to do. Keep doing it and you will open up more and more. Even if all you see / feel is darkness and silence sit with it, breathe and see what happens, what you feel. If your mind comes in saying this is pointless or stupid, just thank it for trying to protect you. Your mind has helped you avoid the pain for many years, it becomes automatic and so it will feel uncomfortable changing that pattern and choosing to feel. Persevere and one day you may find rainbows and treasure in your heart space, joy and celebration as you settle in to your true home.

Blessed BE, Jodi-Anne

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques

Poetry as a tool for healing

A large part of the healing journey is releasing buried emotions stored within your body. In order to do so you have to first get in touch with them. Many forms of creative expression can help us to do exactly that. Some people journal, some draw, some sing and some write poetry. Find what type of creative expression works for you. The benefits are enormous.

While we are being creative we operate more from the right side of the brain. This side of our brain is linked to our emotions and intuition. Hence, we can access our feelings and intuitive information from within us. It is much harder to do that when we are operating from our left brain which is focused on logic, reason, and analysis.

A lot of people in our society are very strongly left brained. We are taught to focus on the facts in school, to learn the right answer, and be rational and realistic. The message passed down in school is that being playful, creative, imaginative, and artistic is not as valuable to society and that if we want to succeed in life we should focus on learning a profession. But a focus on the facts and logic separates us from our hearts and our spirit. For many people it feels like a deadening, a deep loss. It is time to resurrect the creative, to reconnect to your heart and soul. Let loose and be creative. Your poems or art does not have to be beautiful or perfect. That’s not the point. The point is about feeling within yourself and letting out whatever is inside waiting to be released.

I wrote poetry for a few years prior to my entering therapy. I then switched to art as my main form of creative expression. Here are a few of my poems from the past.

 

The last tree. (By: Jodi-Anne M Smith, c1998)

The last tree, is a tree for us all to see, but how long will it last- as long as it has in the past?
We, humans who believe that all is ours to rape and plunder. Have destroyed the Earth and its no wonder,
Because people believe that they are the best, and they don’t seem to care about all the rest.
We are human, but also animal, and we have no right to ruin life especially on a planet as beautiful as this.
Rivers no longer flow, trees no longer grow. Volcanoes continuously blow, the atmosphere unstable, forever changing as carbon dioxide takes over and oxygen disappears
Because we cut down the trees, that help us to breathe. We cut down the trees, to use as we pleased.
But now we must pay; for the mistakes we have made. Hopefully before it’s too late.
Save the last tree, help it to breathe and then maybe we’ll see, that nature is more beautiful than the goods that are made, from the beautiful trees.
 

Strange Game (By Jodi-Anne M Smith 12/9/1998)

Life can be a strange game.You play to win, to earn and to succeed.But sometimes in winning you lose the lead.
Obtaining the goal can be enthralling.But if all you have is that, then the moment is fleeting
Forever searching, powering on, to find the next run, next glow, next surge – Fake fun
Giving your all to such a quest, is dangerous and destructive, it hurts you at best
It doesn’t really matter how high you climb, If you can’t open your eyes and see, if you can’t enjoy the view and the breeze.
Society tells us that we must succeed, but sometimes I wonder if that is what we really need
 Live life, rest and breathe.
 

Going low in order to grow (By Jodi-Anne M Smith 27/9/1998)

 My life I have simplified, I have removed the sources of stress, the result has been remarkable – I am at ease and at rest.
 I came close to losing my mind, before I paid attention to the warning signs.A dangerous situation where I was afraid and upset.
The people around me who saw me so bad, have now come to realise the pain I suffer and this has made them sad
It seems they have realised that I need them so, and now they are there and are helping me to grow.
 Communication is occurring, Our love we are sharing, and together we are finding strength and happiness.It is a great feeling to know they are there and that they care.
 I am healing and blossoming, growing and coming alive. I am happy and relaxed, I’m living my own life.
 It is unfortunate that in order for this to happen, I felt like I almost died.I was so sad and depressed all I could do was cry.
I thought my life I needed to change completely. But this was not true. I just needed to take it easier and to my heart be true.
 Now that I have done that I feel better than before, I feel capable of doing anything. I can take what ever life has in store.
 But one thing I know, one thing is for sure. I won’t ever again let myself get so low.
In future the warning signs I won’t ignore – I will pay attention when they come to the fore.
 But as always does, good has come from bad, and in some ways I had to get so sad, before I could get glad.
I had to get so low in order to grow. But now that I am there, it is go, go, go.
Together with everyone, my love I show.
Bliss and happiness – together we bloom and we grow!
Categories
Healing from child abuse Health Self help techniques Uncategorized

When you’ve hit rock bottom, here’s what to do….

Here is a short video, 11:22 mins, of Jessica Ortner (from The Tapping Solution) interviewing Sonia Ricotti (author of the book Unsinkable). It is a fabulous summary of what to do when you feel like you have hit rock bottom and you are stuck. Sonia reminds us that fighting ‘what is’ leads to negative emotions and keeps us caught in our story, our interpretation and judgement of the events. Instead she encourages us to accept ‘what is’ and ‘surrender’. When you do this you allow yourself  to feel and release any emotions around the situation. This creates more space inside you, which enables peace and clarity. From here you can start to see what actions you could take to help yourself move forward.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=c-sQqb_mrMk]

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques Uncategorized

Creating self-forgiving thoughts exercise

This exercise helps you to learn how to talk nicely to yourself when you do something you’re not very happy with yourself about. Instead of criticising yourself it shows you how to think self-forgiving thoughts. You don’t need to scold or punish yourself when you do something in a lesser way than you’d like. You can actually choose to be compassionate to yourself instead – it’s up to you!!

In this exercise, you create a set of columns and rows – a matrix (as outlined below). Then you use this matrix to reorient your thoughts and feelings from self-attacking thoughts to self-forgiving thoughts. An example showing how the process works is included below.

Here is the format:

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

Example

A few seconds ago, I knocked a cup of coffee onto my computer. For me, that counts as a distressing situation. Therefore, it’s a good experience to plug into the matrix. Here is how I began to fill in the boxes.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

In the first column, I simply describe the situation. In the second column, I make a list of some of my feelings: in this case, frustration (with myself), guilt (about my mistake), and nervousness (about the repercussions of the situation). I find it helpful to make this feeling list. By naming our specific feelings, we bring them up into awareness. We take ourselves out of denial. We reduce the tendency to ‘squash things down’.

Next, we use our feelings to move on to the underlying thoughts. The relationship between feelings and thoughts is like the relationship between smoke and fire. Distressing feelings are the smoke. Distressing thoughts are the fires that give rise to the smoke. In this case, where there’s smoke, there is fire – where there are distressing feelings, there are distressing thoughts underneath. In column three, we uncover the thoughts that are fuelling the feelings. Here is what I came up with.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

That was such a dumb thing to do. I should be more careful. My computer is probably going to break now, and it’s all my fault. I’ll probably have to pay a lot of money to fix it. People are going to laugh at me if they see how careless I am.

As you can see, I uncovered three sets of self-attacking thoughts in column three. I probably could have come up with many more – but these were a good start. Writing them out in the matrix was extremely helpful. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of these thoughts until I wrote them out. As I filled in this third column, the key was to realise that my feelings (in column two) were coming from my thoughts (in column three), not simply from the situation. You could say that the situation was a ‘trigger’ for the thoughts. I’m certainly not glad that I spilled coffee on my computer. But it was the thoughts that I needed to work on now.

Let’s move to column four – the heart of this exercise. In the final column of the matrix, you substitute self-forgiving thoughts for each of the self-attacking thoughts in column three. This is the big step. This turns the mind from self-criticism to self-forgiveness; from distress to peace. As you do this, you can focus on simply moving in the right direction. You don’t have to take a huge leap into complete forgiveness; you can take a series of little steps. Every bit of progress is helpful. Here is what I came up with, as I made this substitution.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

That was such a dumb thing to do. I should be more careful. My computer is probably going to break now, and it’s all my fault. I’ll probably have to pay a lot of money to fix it. People are going to laugh at me if they see how careless I am.

It wasn’t a dumb thing to do; it was simply an accident; And besides – my worth isn’t dependent on how ‘careful’ I am. Actually the computer seems fine. But even if I do need to repair the computer, I can do that in a self-forgiving state of mind. If people laugh at me, that’s their problem. Everyone makes mistakes at times.

Those self-forgiving thoughts may not have been the ‘highest’ thoughts in the world, but they helped me to shift my mind toward a more self-forgiving space. As I did that, the feelings of frustration, guilt, and nervousness were replaced – to some degree – by a greater sense of peace and self-acceptance. That is the goal of this exercise.

I find that this ‘cognitive restructuring’ work – replacing self-attacking thoughts with self-forgiving thoughts – is like priming a pump. We locate our self-attacking thoughts, and replace them with self-forgiving thoughts. We do this mechanical work over and over until the flow of loving, forgiving thoughts begins to run on its own. There is some work to do at the beginning, but we’re simply preparing our minds to receive the divine flow.

Conclusion:

Use this exercise whenever you catch yourself thinking self-attacking thoughts. Change them into self-forgiving thoughts. Over time you will find that your thinking automatically becomes self-forgiving whenever you do anything you are not 100% happy with yourself about. It will eventually become habit.

(This exercise comes from: Joseph D, 2004, The Matrix, Living Now, September 2004, Queensland issue 66, p22)

Your turn

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques Uncategorized

Personal bill of rights

Put this page in a place you’ll see it regularly. By taking the time to carefully read through the list every day, you will learn to accept that you are entitled to each one of the rights listed. Whenever a thought occurs that contradicts one of your rights, stop the thought process & correct yourself, saying “I know that’s what I used to think, but I now know & accept that I have the right to …………”. In time, you will come to know your rights off by heart & if anyone behaves in a way that infringes upon them this knowledge will help you to know their action is inappropriate & you can then stand up for yourself & your rights.

  1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
  2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
  3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
  4. I have the right to change my mind.
  5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
  6. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
  7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates my values.
  8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behaviour, actions, feelings, or problems.
  10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
  11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
  12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
  13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m afraid”.
  14. I have the right to say “I don’t know”.
  15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behaviour.
  16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
  17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
  19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
  20. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
  21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
  22. I have the right to change and grow.
  23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  25. I have the right to be happy.

 (From: Bourne E, 2000,The anxiety & phobia workbook, 3rd edition, New Harbinger Publications Inc. Canada)

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques

Free manuals on healing from child abuse.

Early stages of the healing journey

There are a lot of resources available that can be accessed for free to assist individuals with their healing journey. Most focus on the early stages – where an individual may still be feeling controlled by their past, filled with buried emotions and desperate for relief. These can be a little ‘heavy’ as they share snippets of people’s journey – including expressing judgement, anger, blame, shame and grief. If this is the stage that you are at then you may find them extremely valuable as examples of the healing process and how to go about it.

A free manual on healing from child abuse.

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) provide a wide range of support services for Adult Survivors. www.ascasupport.org. This includes a regular newsletter and support groups. They have a free manual called ‘From Surivor to Thriver’ that you can download.

Link to download manualCatherine House have a manual for women on healing from childhood sexual abuse. It is called ‘Reclaiming myself after childhood sexual abuse’. It can be downloaded for free from: http://www.catherinehouse.org.au/Portals/0/pdf/research_projects/WomensResource_FINAL_Oct05.pdf

Its not my fault coverRespond SA is a part of Relationships Australia. They provide support for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. www.respondsa.org.au. They have a manual for men called ‘It is not your fault’. It can be downloaded free from: http://respondsa.org.au/resources/booklet.aspx

Can I trust my memory coverJoan Spear has written a booklet called ‘Can I trust my memory: a handbook for survivors with partial or no memories of childhood sexual abuse’. It is useful to read when you suspect you may have been sexually abused but you are not sure. It can be downloaded free from: http://ascasupport.org/_downloadsResources/canItrustMyMemory.pdf

Later stages of the healing journey

It has been my experience, and that of those I have interacted with, that as you continue to heal you no longer have these ‘heavy’ emotions. You release them from your body and find a place of great freedom and inner peace. You may even reach a stage where you see what you experienced as a gift – as a great teacher – that was part of your evolutionary journey. I am not aware of any free manuals that focus on this larger consciousness focus. However, it is these later stages that I will be sharing most about in this blog.

The Healing Journey Demystified: Achieving Sustainability One Heart at a Time.You can also read about my experience in my book called ‘The healing journey demystified: achieving sustainability one heart at a time’. It is not available for free though. Sorry!! It is available cheaply as a PDF or e-book. The printed book costs a bit more. You can view and purchase it from: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jodi-anne-m-smith/the-healing-journey-demystified-achieving-sustainability-one-heart-at-a-time/paperback/product-14703855.html

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Healing from child abuse Self help techniques

Art Therapy – art as a tool for healing.

Art is a very powerful healer. It helps us to express buried emotions that we may not even be conscious of. It can help release stress and tension as the energy moves from within us out onto the paper. It is therapeutic with its colours, textures and processes. In this booklet I will share some of my drawings from throughout my healing journey. The medium will mostly be coloured oil crayon drawings and some painted ones. I have also had experience with the use of clay, pastel crayons and other art forms as my mentor/counsellor was an Art Therapist. I loved experiencing and learning about the role of art in healing. I am very grateful to my Counsellor for all she has shown me and how she has helped me and others to heal.

One does not need to have any artistic skill to use art as a healing tool. Indeed I did not think of myself as artistic at all. When I started focussing on my healing journey I was a very head-strong, analytical, rational minded person. When Lynn asked me to draw for the first time I thought she was mad. I almost walked out the door thinking how ridiculous, as if drawing could help! It wasn’t long before the floodgates of my subconscious mind opened and drawings were pouring out of me. That is literally how it felt. I wouldn’t consciously think about what to draw or how to draw it. I’d just feel drawn to pick up a crayon and next thing there was a drawing on the paper. It just flowed out.

I was fascinated how at times of strong emotion I would draw and cry or yell at the same time. In these situations the most powerful drawings emerged clearly showing the power of the situations on which I was releasing emotion. I didn’t know how to draw what I drew. If I consciously tried to do it again later I wouldn’t know how. My mind would get in the way. I love how the colours often represent the chakras and the emotions being felt, the profound symbolism that comes through depicting the experiences. Here I have chosen some of my pictures that show the healing of my childhood issues, my relationship with myself and with my parents. I encourage you to embrace art as a tool to assist you in your healing journey.

(Extract from: Smith J, 2011, The healing journey demystified achieving sustainability one heart at a time, Lulu.com)