A colleague recently sent me a link to this excellent blog post written by Jonathon Tomlinson, a practicing NHS GP in London. Its so good, I’m re-blogging it here.
The article is a worthwhile read, which traces his path to realisation that there had to be some reason why so many people were chronically ill, followed by a comprehensive summary of his understandings of trauma and its impacts.
“What is extraordinary, and to be frank, a betrayal of patients and clinicians on the part of those responsible for medical education is that we never talked about, much less seriously taught about the lasting effects of trauma. We were taught that diseases were due to the interaction of human biology and the environment, but human experiences were barely part of the picture.”
Read the whole article:-
One of the most haunting images from my time as a junior doctor working in Hackney in the mid-1990s was in an A&E (emergency) department while we tried to resuscitate a man in his 40s. In the corner of the room stood two young children – probably about the same age mine are now, 6-8 years old. They stood and stared in silence, watching us trying to save their dad. He was covered in blood and bile, his body yellow with jaundice, veins visible on his abdomen and torso from advanced, alcoholic liver disease. His wife was in another part of the department, so intoxicated she couldn’t stand, barely conscious and unaware of what was happening to her husband and children. The children were eerily impassive. The ambulance crew told us that when they arrived at their flat, they were trying to wake their dad while their mum lay unconscious…
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An Identity Constellations workshop may at first appear very similar to Family Constellations, with a client, facilitator and representatives working together in circle, moving and conversing as they feel into what is present. However there are many key differences in the two approaches.
Professor Franz Ruppert, who devised the IoPT*/Identity Constellations process, worked with Burt Hellinger for many years, and was originally a Family Constellations facilitator. As a Psychotherapist and Psychology Professor in Munich, he became aware that bonding and attachment traumas underpin all later relational issues, yet often remain hidden, and also have great potential for re-traumatisation.
Here’s an outline of the key differences between the approaches, as I understand them:
For deeper reading I highly recommend the books by Franz Ruppert (in particular Trauma, Fear & Love).
Vivian Broughton, who runs the UK’s IoPT training has also written a helpful introductory book, and her blog has many excellent articles. Her website also has a list of other practitioners offering this amazing work in the UK.
A brief brush with group therapy in my 20s after a friend’s suicide was frankly horrible. It was uncomfortable enough to be expected to discuss my emotions with a group of total strangers, but then became traumatic when one of the group started attacking me verbally. The therapist did nothing.
This experience made me avoid therapeutic groups for years. So thank you to everyone who has said “I love the sound of your workshops but I couldn’t deal with my stuff in a group”.
You’ve let me know that I need to be very clear that being a Representative (ie taking part in others’ Constellations) is SAFE!
As a Representative, you participate, but you are NOT the centre of attention. In fact you can keep your own issues & process completely private if you want to.
Meanwhile loads of healing can and does happen inside you – alongside which you get to experience amazing insights and extraordinary levels of human empathy.
The evidence against repressing difficult emotions keeps on stacking up…
A fascinating piece on 25th April edition of Radio 4’s mental health magazine programme ‘All In The Mind’ about a new study that shows once more that simply writing about how you feel can speed up wound healing.
Although the effect has been known since James Pennebaker’s studies in the 1980’s, this is the first study to demonstrate that expressive writing after an injury can aid healing as much as doing it in advance of a wound.
You can listen or download it here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08n2wcz
Do you have trouble getting your child to go to sleep?
One of my former hypnotherapy teachers has published a book which sounds great .
And the reviews on Amazon are pretty glowing.
Please let me know your experiences if you try it, so I know whether or not to recommend it to others.
I’m delighted to share this interview with Dr Gabor Mate about the effect of stress on relationships. He speaks with great insight and clarity about how early attachment wounds affect our relationships throughout life, particularly with our partners and children.
The intelligence of our gut and its role in both emotional and physical health is really coming to the fore in science.
Hypnotherapy has been standard treatment on the NHS for Irritable Bowel Syndrome for some years, demonstrating that we can be in communication with our gut to good effect.
For further reading I highly recommend Julia Enders’s wonderful book “Gut”.
I couldn’t resist posting this wonderful video of various animals in a natural state of trance.
Excellent talk by Dr Gabor Mate about how trauma affects physical health, why medicine should not be split between mind and body, and what we can do to heal.
Dr Mate is a medical doctor whose best-selling books draw on decades of clinical expertise across the fields of family medicine, palliative care and drug addiction.