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Low-cost eBook on Trauma Recovery

Blog Post – 13th October 2021

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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How to process your childhood traumatic experiences: A low-cost, self-help book

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Dr Jim's officeHaving spent almost twenty-five years working with counselling clients with some degree of trauma, from childhood or later periods of their lives, I have written my experience up in the form of a low-cost self-help book.

I also had to resolve my own trauma resulting from my highly dysfunctional family of origin.

Here is a quick insight into the approach I have developed:

The concept of Traumatic Dragons, and the process of healing

Traumatic Dragons dBook coverTraumatic memories are painful, and so the vast majority of people are highly reluctant to face them down. To suggest to most people that they should revisit their traumatic memories would seem to be a form of madness; a kind of masochism on the part of the traumatized individual, and a form of sadism on the part of the trauma therapist. Why face up to a dragon when you can hide?!?

To ask them to turn around and face back (and ‘walk back’) through their history, reviewing the things that were done to them that made them most fearful, miserable, unhappy, stressed, anxious, horrified, shamed, guilty, and ragefully angry, must seem quite perverse to some people. 

And yet, that can be an important part of the healing process; provided:

Initial requirements:

  1. That enough time has elapsed for some distancing to take place – which is not a problem for an adult revisiting their childhood abuse history. (The minimum gap that I recommend for trauma therapy is at least two years between trauma and therapy!)
  2. That they have done some form of body work, such as yoga, tai chi, judo, karate; or therapeutic massage, Feldenkrais, or craniosacral therapy; etc., to help to heal the body memories of their trauma – (including body-armouring and chronic tension);
  3. That they have been able to develop new perspectives upon human behaviour, and human experience, since the time of their abuse. This includes experience of re-framing (or re-interpreting) negative experiences – including the kind of re-framing taught in this book. (If their basic perceptions are still the same as they were when the trauma occurred, then revisiting their traumatic memories will simply prove to be a form of re-traumatizing themselves!)
  4. That they feel they have recovered the capacity to relate intimately and securely to at least one other person;
  5. That they are living with somebody they trust; who has agreed to support them if they become overwhelmed by grief or shame or some other difficult emotional state; or that they have a trauma therapist who will assist them over the phone or Skype;
  6. That they have the mental space to do this difficult work; and that they are not too busy, or too stressed by their current life circumstances, to take on this extra burden.

Etc…

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Traumatic Dragons dBook cover, 2This book could help you to resolve some of your own traumatic experiences, or it could help you to help somebody else to recover.

To see the book on Amazon, please go to Amazon eBook on Trauma.***

But for more information about this book, please go to ABC Bookstore: Traumatic Dragons book.***

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I hope you find this information interesting and helpful.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

Joint Director:  ABC Bookstore Online UK

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How to recover from childhood trauma

Blog post:

Monday 13th September 2021

Dr Jim Byrne

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Childhood developmental trauma – or Complex-PTSD – How to recover

Introduction

1, A New Dragons Trauma book coverEvery day you open the newspapers you will find new examples of childhood trauma, among pop stars, sports celebrities, and the residents of publicly funded children’s homes. It may be that up to sixty or seventy percent of children are traumatized in one form or another – through abuse or neglect – or by witnessing violence or drunkenness or drugged behaviours at home – and this represents a major disadvantage right at the start of life.

As a result, a high proportion of the populations of Western societies – especially in the Anglo-American world – is carrying life-destroying experiences, which often get passed on from one generation to the next.

And those early traumatic experiences also predispose the individual to being more easily traumatized by adverse adult experiences, including warfare, intense interpersonal violence and violent rape.

My experience

Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim Byrne

Over a period of almost 25 years, I have “picked up the pieces” – the fall-out, if you like – of some horrible childhood histories.  I had a special capacity to deal with these problems because I came from a traumatizing background, and I’d spent many years resolving my own developmental trauma (using a wide range of therapeutic strategies), and learning to live a full and happy life.

Sharing that experience with others

Now I have written up the kinds of processes that I have used with my own clients over those years, in a form which is usable by self-help enthusiasts; but could also be a good learning resource for new counsellors who are moving, or planning to move, into the field of trauma work. These processes can be bracketed into three forms – which are addressed once the reader has achieved some degree of safety and security in their life.  Those forms are:

– re-framing of traumatic experiences (starting with low level upsets; and proceeding upwards with caution);

– confronting and completing medium range traumatic experiences;

– and, finally, digesting higher intensity traumatic symptoms; through processes including: writing therapy, combined with re-framing and completion; and with bodily sensations and breath-work; and several other whole body-brain-mind strategies.

The outcomes of trauma therapy

The benefits to be derived from this kind of work are enormous. Sleep is improved; digestion and breathing become normal; anxiety and depression are cleared up; social relationships become less stressful; physical and mental health improve; and on and on.

To find out more about this new, revolutionary new strategy, please take a look How to Resolve Childhood Developmental Trauma.

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Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Escape from the darkness and confusion of childhood trauma

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Blog post – 6th August 2021

Childhood Developmental Trauma and how to heal yourself

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, and Trauma Survivor

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Introduction

Cover of Drafons book, 2012Trauma is all around us. Many humans are seriously damaged by their families of origin, and by their cruel cultures.

It is no accident that I got into developing various approaches to trauma therapy.  No surprise that I became a psychotherapist, and worked hard to help many individuals to recover from the pain, confusion and loneliness of Childhood Developmental Trauma (or Complex-PTSD).

I got into this line of work because – without knowing it at the time – I am actually a Childhood Developmental Trauma survivor.

And I am making great progress – slowly – with my new book on Childhood Developmental Trauma, which is titled: Transforming Traumatic Dragons: How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach. Revised, expanded and updated: August 2021.

That book is now very close to being completed. I have finished the writing and editing. At the moment I am proofreading the text – and I am on page 159 out of 421, which is approximately a third of the way through – (or 37%).

When I have finished, it will be proofed by Renata Taylor-Byrne, my co-author. And then it will be published and made available via Amazon outlets.

Of course, I did publish an earlier, less developed book on this topic, which had two of the three processes that I present in the current book – but the current book is vastly superior, because of the addition of the ‘interoceptive Windows model’, which integrates writing therapy and body work, with breath work, and EMDR. (Plus additional insights into trauma and diet; trauma and exercise; trauma and sleep; how precisely to do that [writing therapy combined with body work] process; and so on).

This book should be a great help to many individuals who have the determination to do at least some of their own therapy at home; perhaps combined with some face to face counselling and therapy with a trauma therapist, because the interpersonal, right-brain to right-brain aspect of trauma recovery is so very important.

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My own trauma journey

Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim Byrne

Of course, long before I got down to writing about the trauma problems of other people, I had to work on my own childhood trauma damage.  One of the ways that I did that was to write my own autobiographical stories about my origins and my ‘relationships’.

One of the main ways I did this work was to create an ‘alter ego’ – who I named ‘Daniel O’Beeve’.  I then (in my mind) put Daniel into those situations through which I have lived, and which I could dredge up from my memory banks; and I observed how he got on – from the ‘outside’ – (objectification!).  I then retrieved a lot of my old traumatic nightmares, and rewrote them in a literary style. And then I created a set of ‘alien psychologists’ who could observe Daniel’s journey, through a “wormhole in space-time”, and to make comments about how to understand what is going on in his life (using psychological concepts), in a way which Daniel and I could never have commented! (Clearly this has to be called “a fictionalized autobiographical story”; and none of the characters in this story should be confused with any real individual, living or dead!)

I published all of that work in a book called Metal Dog – Long Road Home. And this is the Amazon books description of that book:

Book description

Cover of Drafons book, 2012Daniel O’Beeve was a victim of childhood developmental trauma, before anybody had even thought to conceive of such a concept.  He was a victim of abuse and neglect long before anybody gave a damn about the emotional welfare of children.

Daniel’s parents were both born into highly dysfunctional families; poor rural families that lived from hand to mouth; families who had been trained by the priests to “beat the fear of God” into their children.

Daniel’s parents did not love each other.  They had an arranged marriage, and never learned to even like each other.

When Daniel was just eighteen months old, his father lost his farm and had to move to Dublin city, to eke out an existence as a gardener. Daniel was born into this mess. Unloved and unloving; beaten and emotionally abused; he grew up with very low emotional intelligence; no capacity to make contact with another human being; and a fear of everything that moved suddenly or rapidly.

He was then thrown into a city school at the age of four years, into a playground in which he was the only “culchie” (or hill billy) – in a sea of “city slickers” (called “Jackeens” by Daniel’s parents) – and this was against a backdrop of dreadful (‘racist’) antipathy between the Dublin and rural cultures in general.

In ten years of public schooling, Daniel did not make a single friend.

Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim ByrneWith no map of healthy human love, or workable human relations, he entered the world of work at the age of fourteen, like a drunk thrown out of a pub, late at night, in total darkness, mind reeling, and feelings jangled; and from this point forward he has to try to make sense of life; to make sense of relationships with girls; and to make some kind of life for himself.

For more, please go to Metal Dog – Long Road Home. Where I reveal some of the ways in which my childhood trauma affected my difficulties with trying to “get off” with a girl or woman, in a way that might possibly work. For more, please go to Metal Dog – Long Road Home.

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Back to Jim

Jim and the Buddha, 2As it happened, I (Jim) did manage to find my way out of the darkness and confusion; out of the autism and dissociation; out of the fear and loneliness.  I did my therapy, and I got my reward!

Now I write books for others on the subject of how to overcome childhood developmental trauma.

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The new book on Childhood Developmental Trauma should be available at Amazon outlets in the next month or so, (because I keep getting distracted onto urgent survival projects).

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Bookstore Online UK

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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The child is ‘parent’ of the adult

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Blog Post C1: Theory of human development in emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

23rd June 2021

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Three Principles of Childhood Development, which shape our later adult life…

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2021

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Front cover Holistic Couns reissuedThe theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy was developed by this author over twenty years of study and application, in private practice, with more than 1,000 clients.  It was also developed through many conversations with Renata Taylor-Byrne about stress, meditation, relaxation, sleep science, positive mental attitude, diet and nutrition, and various systems of physical exercise. (Subsequently, Renata contributed a lot of research, and we co-authored some books together.***)

In 2016, I set out to boil my learning down into a limited list of key principles, which I included in Chapter 3 of Holistic Counselling in Practice.*** 

What I came up with was a list of twenty core principles of E-CENT theory, which included the following three principles, which point up the centrality of early childhood experience to our lifelong prospects for happiness and close relationships:

The 20 core principles of human development

Firstly, I do not make the mistake of extrapolating from adult functioning in order to understand the psychology of human nature.  Instead, I begin with the baby in the mother’s womb (where the mother may be more or less stressed, and more or less well nourished, depending upon the actual circumstances of her life).  I then move on to the baby post-birth, which is colonized by a carer (normally mother) who may be more or less sensitive to the baby’s signals of comfort and discomfort; more or less responsive to the baby’s needs; and more or less caring.  And I also take account of how stressed the mother was, by her life circumstances, even before the baby was conceived.  These are the foundations of human emotional and general psychological functioning.

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Secondly, I accept the Attachment theory proposition, that the baby is born with an innate attachment drive, which causes it (after a period of about twenty to twenty-four weeks of development) to seek to attach itself to a main carer.  The attachment bond that is formed becomes either secure or insecure, depending upon whether the mother (or main carer) is “good enough” – meaning sensitive, responsive, and caring enough to soothe the affective states[i] of the baby.  Later father and siblings become important attachment figures for the baby. And the baby forms a set of internal working models of relationship based upon those earliest relationships.

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Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim Byrne
Fictionalized story of  the life of Jim Byrne

Third, the first five or six years of life are taken to be the prime determinants of what kind of life the individual will live.  Very largely, the emotionally significant narratives (stories), scripts (maps) and frames (lenses) that the child learns and forms during this period – which manifest in the form of moods and emotional states, expectations, beliefs and habitual patterns of behaviour – will determine its trajectory through life, all other things being equal.  There is, of course, some degree of malleability of the human brain-mind, and so what was once shaped badly (by negative relationship experiences) can to some extent be reshaped into a better form by subsequent ‘curative experiences’, with a love partner, or with a counsellor or psychotherapist. (Wallin, 2007; Doidge, 2008).

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For more of these principles, please see Holistic Counselling in Practice.***

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Endnote

[i] An ‘affective state’ is a state of the body-brain-mind of an individual, in which there is physiological arousal and a felt sense of emotional attraction (‘positive affect’) or aversion (‘negative affect’).  For most practical purposes, among counsellors, the word affect may be used interchangeably with ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’.

Covid anxiety is manufactured

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SOS: Emergency: Please share this with everybody you love.  The price of freedom is eternal vigilance:

Fear Is Contagious and Used to Control You

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

  • June 18, 2021

Story at-a-glance

  • In a newly released book, members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour, a subcommittee that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies in the U.K., admit government is using fear to control and manipulate the population
  • SPI-B, which advocated for the use of fear messaging, now says it was unethical, totalitarian and a regrettable mistake
  • Aside from the barrage of bad-news-only data — which was heavily manipulated in a variety of ways — fear and anxiety are also generated by keeping you confused
  • Giving out contradictory recommendations is being done on purpose, to keep you psychologically vulnerable. By layering confusion and uncertainty on top of fear, you can bring an individual to a state in which they can no longer think rationally. Once driven into an illogical state, you are easily manipulated
  • Government’s reliance on behavioural psychology didn’t just happen as a result of the pandemic. These tactics have been used for years, and are increasing

Governments are using fear to control and manipulate their citizens. That has now been admitted by members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B), a subcommittee that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in the U.K. And they should know, because they advocated for it, and now say it was a regrettable mistake. As reported by The Telegraph, May 14, 2021:1

“Scientists on a committee that encouraged the use of fear to control people’s behaviour during the COVID pandemic have admitted its work was ‘unethical’ and ‘totalitarian.’ Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) expressed regret about the tactics in a new book about the role of psychology in the Government’s COVID-19 response.

SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase ‘the perceived level of personal threat’ from COVID-19 because ‘a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened.’

Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: ‘Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.’”

Psychological Warfare Is Real

The Telegraph quotes several of the SPI-B members, all of whom are also quoted in the newly released book, “A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised Fear During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” written by Laura Dodsworth:2

“One SPI-B scientist told Ms Dodsworth: ‘In March [2020] the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down. There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear. The way we have used fear is dystopian.

The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared’ …

One warned that ‘people use the pandemic to grab power and drive through things that wouldn’t happen otherwise … We have to be very careful about the authoritarianism that is creeping in’ …

Another member of SPI-B said they were ‘stunned by the weaponization of behavioural psychology’ during the pandemic, and that ‘psychologists didn’t seem to notice when it stopped being altruistic and became manipulative. They have too much power and it intoxicates them.’

Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the COVID Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said: ‘If it is true that the state took the decision to terrify the public to get compliance with rules, that raises extremely serious questions about the type of society we want to become. If we’re being really honest, do I fear that government policy today is playing into the roots of totalitarianism? Yes, of course it is.’”

The Manufacture of Fear

For nearly a year and a half, governments around the world, with few exceptions, have fed their citizens a steady diet of frightening news. For months on end, you couldn’t turn on the television without facing a tickertape detailing the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

Even when it became clear that people weren’t really dying in excessive numbers, the mainstream media fed us continuous updates on the growing number of “cases,” without ever putting such figures into context or explaining that the vast majority were false positives.

People don’t enjoy being hoodwinked and they don’t want to live in a state of fear. We maybe need to be a bit bolder about standing up more quickly when something is not right. ~ Laura Dodsworth

Information that would have balanced out the bad news — such as recovery rates and just how many so-called “cases” actually weren’t, because they never had a single symptom — were censored and suppressed.

They also refused to put any of the data into context, such as reviewing whether the death toll actually differed significantly from previous years. Instead, each new case was treated as an emergency and a sign of catastrophic doom.

Fear Is Contagious

Fear has long been the tool of tyrants. It’s profoundly effective, in part because it spreads from person to person, just like a virus. The contagion of fear is the topic of the Nova “Gross Science” video above, originally aired in mid-February 2017. Among animals, emotional distress responses are telegraphed through pheromones emitted through various bodily secretions such as sweat and saliva.

As explained in the video, when encountering what is perceived as a serious threat, animals with strong social structures, such as bees and ants, will release alarm pheromone. The scent attracts other members of the hive or colony to collectively address the threat.

Humans appear to have a very similar capability. When scared or stressed, humans produce chemosignals, and while you may not consciously recognize the smell of fear or stress, it can have a subconscious impact, making you feel afraid or stressed too.

Humans also tend to mimic the feelings of those around us, and this is yet another way through which an emotion can spread like wildfire through a community or an entire nation — for better or worse. Behavioural psychologists refer to this as “emotional contagion,” and it works both positive and negative emotions.

For example, if you’re greeted by a smile when meeting someone, you’re likely to smile back, mimicking their facial expression and behaviour. If someone looks at you with an angry scowl, you’re likely to suddenly feel angry too, even if you weren’t before and have no subjective reason to — other than that someone looked at you the “wrong” way.

However, while both positive and negative emotions are contagious, certain emotions spread faster and easier than others. Research cited in the Nova report found that “high arousal” emotions such as awe (high-arousal positive emotion) and anger or anxiety (high-arousal negative emotion) are more “viral” than low-arousal emotions such as happiness or sadness.

The Nova report also points out that researchers have been mining Twitter and other social media data to better understand how emotions are spread, and the types of messages that spread the fastest. However, they ignored the primary culprits, Google and Facebook both of which steal your private data and use it to manipulate your behaviour.

At the time, in 2017, they said this information was being harvested and used to develop ways to avoid public messaging that might incite mass panic. But the COVID-19 pandemic suggests the complete opposite. Clearly, behavioural experts have been busy developing ways to generate maximum fear, anxiety and panic.

How to Inoculate Yourself Against Negative Contagion

At the end of the report, Nova cites research detailing three effective ways to “immunize” yourself against negative emotional contagions.

  1. Distract yourself from the source of the negative contagion — In the case of pandemic fearporn, that might entail not reading or listening to mainstream media news that for the past year have proven themselves incapable of levelheadedness.
  2. Project your own positive emotions back at the source of the negative contagion — If talking to someone who is fearful, they might end up “catching” your optimism rather than the other way around.
  3. Speak up — If someone is unwittingly spreading “negative vibes,” telling them so might help them realize what they’re doing. (This won’t work if the source is knowingly and purposely spreading fear or anxiety though.)

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Source: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2021/06/18/fear-contagious.aspx?

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