My copy of the new book arrived today. Here is what Diana Fosha says about it:
"This is a thorough, accessible, and very practical book, filled with resources and sound ideas, filtered through the intelligence and experience of a savvy, compassionate, down-to-earth, and very experienced clinician. It is like a travel guide to the land of trauma and trauma treatment: if you are new to it, it will orient you to all there is to do and see; if you're a frequent traveler, it is a worthwhile reminder of all that is out there, above and beyond the familiar places you always visit. Once could ask for a better guide. I highly recommend it."
I explain trauma, complex trauma, dissociation and how to assess them and prepare for treatment, and all the kinds of treatment that I know about from the main-stream to the obscure. I talk about working with military, sexually-abused, and relationally traumatized people, and how to take care of yourself while doing the work.
Some of my heroes comment on it. Dan Siegel wrote the introduction, despite my lack of research. Diana Fosha, Stephen Porges, Kathy Steele, and Onno van der Hart wrote very nice blurbs on the back. I'm humbled by their support.
This is the first book written completely by me. I'm amazed to be responsible for synthesizing so many people's therapies in one book. The design is great, and the photos, by Doug Plummer (my beloved) are gorgeous.
This meditation was generously shared by someone else's client who was neglected and abused as a child. She does it as part of breathing practice: breathing in each true line. In it she speaks to different parts of self and all parts of self, counteracting distressing and untrue beliefs and orienting parts to the present. The changes in type, underlining, etc. are as I received them.
To the writer: I don't know you, but I thank you on behalf of all the therapists who are going to borrow this for their clients who need to learn the same things that you are already learning. Thank you!
1.I am here now, in my body,
2.quiet and calm.
3.It’s OK to know.
4.It was not my fault, ever;
5.I had no choiceand did nothing wrong.
6.I was not a bad girl;
7.I was good.
8.I am good.
9.It’s OK to know.
10. It was not her fault, ever;
11. she had no choice
and did nothing wrong.
12. She was not a bad girl;
13. She was good.
14. I am good.
15. It’s OK to know.
16. It is not your fault, ever;
17. you have no choice
and are doing nothing wrong.
18. You are not bad,
even though it sometimes feels good.
19. You are good,
even when it feels good.
20. You are good
even when it’s confusing
and you think maybe you like it.
21. You are good
even when you’re sure you’re bad.
22. You are always good.
23. I am good.
24. There has never been anyone there to help you.
Connie Sidles is a famous Seattle birder. Here is this week's KUOW radio interview with her about why she spends so many hours at the Montlake Fill. Connie gives a cogent discussion of dealing with grief, how to create/have meaning in life, how to get present, and why birding creates bliss in its more conscious adherents. Hear her here: http://kuow.org/program.php?id=17451
And if you want to see my husband's book of photographs of the Montlake Fill, go here: http://issuu.com/dougplummer/docs/at_the_fill . You don't have to buy the book to see the pictures. Click on the book then on the pages below. You can listen to Connie on one Explorer and look at the book on the other. Connie wrote the intro to the book.
Mindfulness is a major goal of psychotherapy. We want our clients to be able to savor the moment free of intrusive memories or worries about the future: Right Now. There are many ways to bring a client to the present moment: teaching mindfulness meditation, body awareness, or playing what do you notice? ("Name 3 things in the room that are red, 3 things you hear, 3 sensations.")
Some of my more anxious clients find that their obsessiveness scuttles attempts to meditate ("Am I doing it right? This is stupid? What am I supposed to be focusing on? I can't do it!). Body awareness reminds them of what could go wrong with their bodies. ("What if I stop breathing?!) I'm teaching these folks to make state changes through noticing pleasure. Here's how it works:
"Look around the office. Look out the window. Notice what catches your eye. Notice what's fun to look at or that you enjoy seeing. Stay with whatever it is, as long as it's interesting or pleasurable. (Usually they start to smile and to relax at this point.) When you're ready, and only when you're ready, look around for something else that pleases you. Stay with that object or view until you feel like moving on. Stay with it as long as you like. Great!" (We usually do 3 objects or views. I say that my eye can be pleased by looking at the angles on a molding, or 3 planes coming together in the corner of the room. I only have art that I like and little objects scattered about to look at. I tell them how much I like to look at the big tree across the street. This kind of pleasure can be a new experience for some, and quite profound. For others, it's not new, but consciously using it for mindfulness or self-soothing might be new.) "Now notice how you're sitting on the couch. Could you do anything to make that more comfortable? Try sinking into those cushions. How's that? Try sitting straighter or sticking this pillow behind your back. What feels the best? What fabric feels the best under your fingers? How about your hair on your hand? Do you like that texture?" (Crew cuts win this one!) Hang with what feels the best. Can you imagine the next time you take a shower, totally feeling that hot water, and enjoying it? Can you imagine being worried about something that you don't have power over, and finding something pleasing to look at or feel or smell or do? Think of something that might happen at work, and soothing yourself with something you enjoy. Think of something that happens at home, and coming back to yourself and this moment with something pleasing. If you commute, think of the irritating drivers and the waiting, and how you can shift your body in the car for your best comfort, and look at something interesting, a cool car, the view, a cloud, a bumper sticker, and while still paying attention to driving, have a little pleasure vacation."
People do this homework. And it works, even with the most anxious. And it doesn't feel like work. And they learn both mindfulness and painless state change. It doesn't clear underlying trauma. It doesn't take away an anxiety disorder. But it's a nice, easy habit to take on.