How to recover from childhood trauma…a case study and strategies

Coming soon (May 2020):

Recovery from childhood Trauma:

How I Healed my Heart and Mind

And how you can heal yourself

Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Published by the Institute for E-CENT Publications, 2020.

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Foreword

Many people struggle with emotional distress, just below the level of conscious awareness, which mars their life chances, and limits their capacity for happy relationships. Much of this distress could and should be classified as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); or emotional distress which follows on from a traumatic experience, which is too stressful (at the time of occurrence) to be processed into a coherent story. And even more should be defined as Complex-PTSD, arising out of protracted child abuse in early childhood.

There are three common approaches to helping individuals to deal with traumatic experience:

  1. Talk therapy;
  2. Drug treatment (to close down mental activity about the problem); and/or:
  3. Body work or body therapies, such as yoga, Tai Chi, therapeutic massage, EMDR. EFT, etc.

Jim and the Buddha, 2If you cannot easily access any of those options – (and drug treatment should be recognized for what it is: a palliative which cannot cure the problem) – then journal writing is worth considering.

Journal writing is a very powerful form of self-therapy; but it is not the only form of self-therapy; and it does need to be augmented by:

– ‘physical therapies’, like yoga, Tai chi, Qigong (pronounced Chi Kung);

– or walking in nature; and eating a healthy diet;

– and by living in a calm and calming environment (and/or by practicing daily progressive muscle relaxation);

– plus some degree of economic security.  (And, if you cannot get to a calming environment; or to a place of economic security; then you must learn and practice an empowering philosophy of life, like moderate Zen

Buddhism and/ or moderate Stoicism; which can help you to re-frame your unavoidably difficult social and economic situation. (See Appendix A).

And if your trauma was a developmental one, a ‘complex trauma’, which involved maladaptation towards your attachment figures (mother, father, siblings, peers), then you will also need to work on how to develop secure attachment and at least one close personal relationship. (See more on complex trauma, below).

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What is trauma?

Front cover,1In our present context, trauma should be thought of as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience which cannot be absorbed or digested – or thought about – thus leaving it as a psycho-physical pain and mental-disorganizer, buried deep in the brain-mind, beyond conscious access.  Most people will have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); which is thought of as an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. And we also have the concept of ‘complex trauma’, or ‘developmental trauma’, which refers to harm caused in childhood by multiple traumatic events, most often of an interpersonal nature, often including abuse or neglect.

A significant number of people are traumatized by

– sexual abuse in childhood, inside or outside their family of origin;

– or by sexual assault, including rape, in their teens or twenties, or later;

– or by physical violence in their childhood family home – violence against them, and/or their siblings, and/or their mother (or sometimes father);

– and/or by military service in a  war zone; or by working in firefighting, or police work;

– but by far the largest group is likely to be those traumatized by the stressful aftereffects of economic deprivation and social inequality (including racism; extreme forms of sexism; class discrimination; extreme poverty; unemployment, or low status and insecure work; refugee status; economic migration; and so on).

Trauma is ubiquitous in human society; and it’s time we took it more seriously, and with greater empathy for those who suffer from it.

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How is trauma healed?

What we think of as psychological trauma (such as witnessing or being involved in the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City in September 2011) is often addressed through a pure form of ‘talk therapy’.  (However, as mentioned above, the other strands of treatment include drug prescriptions, and physical treatments).

But the experience of 9/11 taught us that talking about trauma, as it is happening, or when it has recently happened, can make it worse.  We have to allow time to pass – probably at least eighteen months to two years -before the individual is ready to process the trauma, by turning it into a coherent story with which they can feel comfortable, and which makes sense of their feelings about the traumatic event.  This has given rise to the concept of Psychological First Aid (Kraybill, 2018)[i], in which the aim is to get the affected person to a safe place; establishing a sense of safety; psychoeducation; identification of vulnerabilities; reconnecting to resources; and emotional sustenance.

Then in 2014/2015, an American psychiatrist by the name of Bessel van der Kolk proposed that trauma is stored in the body, and so trauma therapy has to include body work of some sort. (Van der Kolk, 2014).

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Humans as body-brain-mind-environment wholes

Dr Jim, Oct 2019Around that time, I had already begun to include body work[ii] and dietary changes into my work with therapy clients, regardless of the nature of their emotional or behaviour problem.

Although CBT therapists and Rational therapists focus upon the belief system or thought processes of the individual to look for the cause of their emotional problems, my own system of counselling and therapy is centred around a model called the Holistic SOR Model.  ‘S’ is a ‘Stimulus’, or Activating Event, in the life of an individual.  That is to say, something significant happens to a person.

‘O’ is for ‘Organism’, in this case a human person; a body-brain-mind, with a personal history of developmental experiences.

And ‘R’ stands for ‘Response’; or how the individual person responds to the activating Stimulus.

This model is structured as follows:

Basic Holistic SOR model

If we apply this model to the case of a particular, traumatized individual (who was traumatized by a war-time experience), then this is how it would look:

Holistic SOR for traumatized individual

The question is, how do we help this traumatized individual to process their traumatic experience, and to learn to live a normal life once more?

However, there is no universal agreement among psychologists or psychotherapists as to how to answer that question.  Some common treatments include Trauma Focused CBT; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); medication; art therapy; and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

However, Bessel van der Kolk (2014) dislikes CBT and desensitization; and prefers to work with the body of the traumatized client; not in the sense of doing body work, but in the sense of involving their whole body in a form of drama therapy; or in yoga or tai chi or qigong (pronounced Chi Kung).  However, he also utilizes a long list of other strategies, including EMDR; and neurofeedback, which is a high tech, computer based system of reprogramming the traumatized brain.

It seems that, for the first one hundred years of our awareness of and working with traumatic stress, from the First World War onwards, hypnotherapy was the treatment of choice.  And the mechanism here is the ability to imagine alternative realities, or ‘a better life’ than the one encoded in the traumatic memory.  This is why I always recommend audio hypnosis programs, based on relaxation, inner peace, and de-stressing the body; and imagining a happier future[iii].

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Additionally, mindfulness and meditation are also hugely important for all forms of psychological disturbance, including traumatized states. (See Appendix H, below).  And, combined with meditation, I increasingly recommend that traumatized clients read, over and over again, Jack Kornfield’s wonderful book on the art of forgiveness, loving-kindness and peace, which helps them to develop a more loving, kind, self-accepting philosophy of life[iv]. And, in the context of this kind of matrix of approaches, I find that desensitization – in the form of ‘completing the old traumatic experience’, in a process which relaxes the body, while giving the old traumatic image a new meaning – is a big part of the solution of putting a traumatic experience in its place; shrinking it; and filing it away in an inactive store, where it no longer causes pain and suffering.  (See Appendix E, below).

Let’s think about the traumatized soldier mentioned above.

We can focus on that person as a ‘narrative self’ – or as a person who has a sense of ‘self’ as an autobiographical journey through life, including their story about who they are right now. We can then further hypothesize that they have not been able to update their story to get them to the point where they have returned from the war; and left the war behind them.  It’s still running (or available for instant running) in the non-conscious depths of their brain-mind.

We can also focus on that person as a ‘somatic self’, or bodily self.  Our physical sense of being ‘me’, here and now; with bodily sensations of comfort or discomfort; stress or relaxation; emotional over-arousal or under-arousal; and so on. In this case, the war veteran’s body still feels as if it is back in that old war zone, expecting to be attacked (or counter-attacked) at any moment; in a constant state of physical tension and emotional anxiety; and perhaps low self-esteem; and a tendency towards depression about the unworkability of his current life.

And we can focus on that person as a ‘social self’ or ‘relational self’; a social animal, linked externally and internally – to significant other individuals.  And we can hypothesize that, whoever this person relates to in the here and now, they have not been able to bring his body-mind into the present moment, and help to keep it there. (Perhaps their mind is locked into a relationship that ended on the battlefield; a comrade blown apart before their frightened eyes!)

The major potential sources of healing for this former soldier are:

  1. To revisit his experiences of war, and to re-tell or re-write his story, so he can digest it, and ‘draw its sting’. That would allow him to file his traumatic experiences away in the basement of his mind as a ‘completed’ story; so they would no longer feel like they are in the present. Or:
  2. To work on his body, using physical relaxation, and physical exercise; so that the physical memories of war stress can be removed from his muscles and skeletal stance.

And, ideally, he should address both his story – (which is his ‘narrative self’) – and his body, (or ‘somatic self’).

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In this book, I mostly focus upon how I addressed the problems in my personal history – my early traumas – as ‘kinks in my narrative self’, which could be straightened out with writing therapy (although, in my Story of Relationship, I do describe other processes that I used).

The traumas which I experienced are often thought of as ‘complex trauma’, or ‘developmental trauma’, which are about ongoing abusive or neglectful relationships within the family of origin.  My own developmental trauma came out of a few key factors. The most obvious ones were:

  1. That I caused my mother intense pain during delivery, because my head was apparently unusually large;
  2. That my mother said she’d never forgive me for the birth pain I caused her, and she seemed to hold it against me for a long time; which probably caused her to show signs of hostility and rejection towards me during my formative months;
  3. That I grew up in a home which began as an arranged marriage between my father and mother, who never learned to love each other; and who were very poor at communicating with each other; being hostile and critical of each other;
  4. That my parents were both psychologically damaged by their own earlier traumas, about which I know very little; and as a result they both beat me, and called me horrible names; and did not show me anything that could be called affection or acceptance, in my formative years;
  5. That I was a (psychologically damaged) country boy in a city school from the age of four years, where I was universally rejected by my peers. (I did not make a single friend in ten years of schooling);
  6. And all the sequelae or consequences which flowed from that kind of start in life.

Although I do look at some other forms of therapy that I used, I mainly write about my use of narrative therapy to reform my narrative self. To correct that bias, I have added an appendix on my somatic (or bodily) self, and how it was healed; and also one on my social self, and how that was repositioned for healing. Plus some brief thoughts on my ‘spiritual self’.

I hope you find these ideas helpful in your own healing journey.

Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Hebden Bridge, 1st May 2020

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Preface

“Childhood is a nightmare”.

Sheldon Kopp (1976)[v].

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“Shadows of the past sometimes contaminate the present and narrow down the future for all of us. The purpose of my self therapy techniques is to confront the past and put it in its place.  Only then are we released to live the present more fully and grow into a richer future, able to use more of our true potential”.

Muriel Schiffman (1967) [vi].

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Introductory comments

It has famously been said that “childhood is a nightmare”, and many of us find that to be an accurate description of what we lived through.  And those nightmares often tend to blight our adult lives, unless and until we do our therapy work to process the undigested experiences.

According to Dr Alice Miller[vii], a famous Swiss psychoanalyst: “The truth about childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, our perceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday the body will present its bill”.

Life can only be understood backwards, but it has to be lived forwards.  And, in the early years of childhood, we have little knowledge or wisdom to guide us.  Actually, we are mainly guided, internally, by our emotions (or ‘affects’, or feelings), while we are regulated externally by the recognized need to adapt to our parents’ demands of us, in order to keep them on our side, and thus to survive.

Some parents are more loving than others; and some are better parented than others.  And thus the quality of your childhood and my childhood experiences could differ significantly – depending upon how our parents treated us. Some parents treat their children wonderfully well; while others are incapable of offering anything but truly, nightmarish abuse.

The quality of any person’s life can be impaired, for the whole of their life, by their early childhood experiences.  And it is certainly true that, whatever adaptations you made to your parents, in order to get along with them, and to thereby survive, become permanent features of your personality, and determine how you relate to all other humans through the rest of your life.

The only hope you have of changing your family-determined personality is:

(1) to go into psychotherapy or counselling (for the body as well as the mind; or:

(2) to have some very fortunate curative relationships with friends and/or lovers, which is less certain than professional therapy. Or:

(3) if you can figure out how to revisit and process your childhood, in the form of journal writing, or reflective writing, which is a form of self-therapy.  (See Muriel Schiffman’s 1967 book: Self Therapy – Techniques for personal growth)[viii].  But this also has to be combined with some work on your body’s memories of the trauma.

Unless you change your family-determined personality, whatever interpersonal and emotional problems you had as a teenager at home will still be plaguing you decades later!

The healing process involves revisiting your childhood, in imagination, and digesting those experiences which had been impossible for you to process when you were a little child.  Here is an illustration of that insight:

A case study of self-healing using writing therapy

Muriel Shiffman was a young mother of a two-year-old child, stuck at home in a city apartment, back in the 1960’s. She had had an unhappy childhood, and now she was the seriously-depressed mother of a child who was distressed by her mother’s withdrawn depressions.

Muriel could not afford to see a therapist, and so she set out to see if she could develop a system of self-therapy to cure her depression, if only for the sake of her child.  So she began writing about how she felt, and, in the process, she “…stumbled on the key to self therapy”.

This is how she explains her learning:

“I learned to feel painful emotions (which) I had been avoiding all my life.  I explored attitudes and relationships that forced me to feel rage and grief and anxiety, and I did a great deal of crying.  For two long years I unearthed a hidden part of my life, and suffered and then it suddenly dawned on me that my old, recurrent depression was gone.  Somewhere along the way I had lost it, and it has never come back”.

Muriel had successfully ‘completed’ (or processed) her previously denied or buried traumatic experiences from her early childhood.  One of the things she discovered was this: In our family of origin, we are taught (directly or indirectly) by our parents that some emotions are allowed, and some are outlawed.  When we begin to feel an outlawed emotion, we are trained and rewarded for substituting a pseudo-emotion (or ‘racket emotion’) in its place. Then, as we grow older, we tend to feel those pseudo-emotions (which cause us pain, but do not serve as helpful guides to appropriate actions in our life).  When we go back and clean up our childhood experiences, we get rid of those pseudo-emotions, and retrieve our authentic emotional intelligence, which was buried in our undigested, nightmarish childhoods.

My refinement of earlier systems of self-therapy

I have built upon Muriel Schiffman’s method of self-therapy, or self-analysis, and added in a lot of modern research on writing therapy, from people like Dr James Pennebaker, Gilly Bolton, Julia Cameron, Philippa Perry, Colin Lago, Jeannie Wright, and others[ix].

And I have used a good deal of writing therapy to heal my own childhood nightmares.

Furthermore, I have written a previous book, in 2019 – titled: ‘Facing and defeating your emotional dragons’; in which I described the two processes which are essential for cleaning up an old traumatic experience, and integrating it into your life[x].  Those two processes are:

  1. Learning to re-frame (or rethink) the experience, so that it shows up as less painful and less aversive to ‘look at’. (See Appendices A1 and A2 for nine ways to re-frame any emotionally difficult problem; including your internal sensations about your traumatic experiences). >>
  2. Turning towards the experience, instead of away from it; so you can ‘complete’ your experience of it; which allows it to shrink to manageable proportions in your mind’s eye. (This process is implicit in the two stories I tell below about how I processed my own childhood traumas).

Much of that work, described in 1 and 2 above can be done in journal writing, with or without professional support.  And also using the Desensitization Process described in Appendix E, below.

If you can afford professional psychotherapy, and it is possible for you to engage in it, then that would be very helpful.  But if not, it is perfectly possible to work through a lot of your old traumas using writing therapy.

There is now a lot of scientific evidence that writing therapy heals people, physically and mentally. (See published sources in the End Notes[xi]).

Keeping a diary, or a journal, and writing on a regular basis about your problems, has been shown in scientific studies to be good for your physical health and your emotional well-being: (Esterling, L’Abate, Murray, and Pennebaker, 1999; and Pennebaker, 2002).

In my book about how to write a new life for yourself – Byrne (2018b) – I wrote about the benefits of writing therapy like this:

Writing therapy allows the writer to digest old, unprocessed memories of difficult experiences, without having to risk sharing them with another person.

Writing moves back and forward between the emotionally-charged memories stored on the right side of the brain, and the narrative-creating abilities of the left hemisphere.  Thus it can help to surface old material that has been buried out of sight for a long time, but which is causing emotional or physical problems from non-conscious levels of mind.

And in the process, we re-frame old decisions and interpretations, and make a new narrative which is more self-supporting and less distressing.

Writing therapy can also be helpful in processing the problems of the present moment, and creating well-thought-out plans for the future.

Perry (2012) describes a range of physical and emotional gains that people make when they keep a diary in which they write about their lives.

– They need less medical attention;

– They are admitted to hospital less; and spend less time there when they are.

– Their immune systems function better; and

– Their liver function is improved.

– Also, their moods and emotional self-management improves.

According to Gail Noppe-Brandon (2018)[xii], who practices as a narrative therapist:

“I feel that the work (of autobiographical writing) has been successful when (my counselling) clients are fluent in (understanding and expressing) what they’ve lived, without shame – when they understand and can articulate how it affected them, and what they now want, and are able to speak what they want to others…”

For myself, I think the main benefit of writing therapy is the facilitation of a better, clearer, felt sense of where I come from, and where I am going; with clarity about what has happened in my life; but with the stings, pains and soreness withdrawn from the older stories of my trials and tribulations: because they have been fully processed; digested; understood; and re-framed.  (But don’t forget: It is also important to work on your body, in terms of exercise, relaxation, sleep, diet/nutrition, and interoceptive awareness [which is described in Appendix A2].)

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About this book

This book begins by describing my own journey, from being a victim of childhood trauma to being a fully healed, happy, healthy, socially connected and emotionally intelligent individual.

If you study Parts 1 and 2, (which include the stories of my personal origins and my relationship problems with my mother) – plus Part 3, (which teaches you how to digest your own childhood trauma or distorting experiences) – you will greatly improve the quality of your emotional and relational life.

You will become happier and healthier, and more at ease in your skin.

The best place to begin is by reading the Introduction, below.

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I wish you every success for this important journey of self-discovery!

Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Hebden Bridge, May 2020

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Contents

Foreword     3

Preface        11

Introduction         21

PART ONE: Emotions, narrative plots, & my story of personal origins       27

Chapter 1: The narrative turn  29

Chapter 2: A Sample Narrative 37

PART TWO: A Deeper Analysis of an Individual Life Gone Wrong  57

Chapter 3: The Story of Relationship – Or coming to terms with my mother (and father) 59

PART THREE: How to heal your own heart and mind  121

Chapter 4: Quick Guidelines for Doing Your Own Writing Therapy 127

Chapter 5: Writing therapeutic, autobiographical stories 155

Chapter 6: Conclusion    169

References   172

Appendix A1: The Nine Windows Model of E-CENT    174

Appendix A2: An ´Interoceptive´ Application of the Nine Windows Model:          184

Appendix B: Progressive Muscle Relaxation         185

Appendix C: How did I heal my body?       188

Appendix D: How was my ´social self´ healed?     190

Appendix E: Desensitization for PTSD       192

Appendix F: Rational Emotive Imagery       193

Appendix G: Introduction to Havening      195

Appendix H: Brief introduction to meditation       197

End Notes   205

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Introduction

If you experienced one or more traumatic experiences in childhood – such as an instance of physical, sexual or psychological abuse; or serious neglect or abandonment – then you may be stuck with a kind of ‘emotional indigestion’. This can interfere with the development of your emotional intelligence, making it difficult for you to optimize the pleasures of life today, especially in your relationships with others.

Over a period of more than twenty years, as a counsellor/psychotherapist, I have helped a lot of people to re-think and re-feel old, traumatic memories, and, as a direct result of digesting those stuck experiences, to move into a happier, healthier, more productive phase in their lives.

My ability to help those people was partly a result of my professional training; and partly a result of my own personal journey from a very traumatic childhood to a highly contented, happy and productive second half of my life.

Parts 1 and 2 of this book each contain an autobiographical story of part of my journey through a difficult phases in my life, including the long therapeutic process of recovery, which went on for many years.  And Part 3 sets out to help you to write your own autobiographical account of your childhood difficulties and problems.

My two autobiographical stories are as follows:

  1. My story of origins, in Part 1, below, which describes the kinds of psychological problems – especially with self-esteem and self-acceptance – which arose out of being a poor country boy in a relatively middle class city school, who was universally rejected by my ‘peer group’; and how this was further compounded by my relationships at home.
  2. My story of relationship, especially my very poor relationship with my mother, is presented in Part 2, below. I was relatively alexithymic[1] and somewhat autistic[2] as a boy. My mother was stressed by severe economic deprivation, and she was carrying a lot of unresolved psychological issues from her family of origin (many to do with hostility towards the male gender; which got passed on to me!) One of the major outcomes was that I developed a highly insecure, avoidant attachment style, right into middle life.

However, it would not work very well if I were to ‘dump you’ into my undigested autobiography, and so I have prefaced both stories with a significant degree of explanation of my writing therapy approach to digesting past experiences; plus lots of ‘scaffolding’ (or supports) around the actual autobiographical stories.

My motivation in producing this book is as follows:

If you come from a family that did not teach you to be emotionally intelligent[3], then you are going to have a difficult time understanding your own feelings, the feelings of others, and how to communicate about feelings in your personal life.

If you experienced childhood trauma[4] – that is to say, any frightening or shaming, angering or grief-related experience that was impossible for you to digest at the time – then you can set about healing that trauma in two major ways:

  1. By seeing a good psychotherapist, and talking through the problems you encountered back in your childhood, and how they relate to your problems with people in your life today; and/or:
  2. By writing about your childhood experiences in such a way as to both:

(a) Re-frame your experiences[5], so they seem less traumatic; and

(b) To digest, or ‘complete’[6], those experiences.

I have spent decades trying to repair the damage which was done to me by my relatively autistic, stressed and loveless family of origin.  And I was ultimately successful.  I now know what made it possible. And in the process I learned how to help others to do the same kind of healing process for themselves.  I learned that stories play a huge part; and learning (at deep, emotional levels) from your own stories, and the stories of others, is an important element of the journey.

In this book, I have set out to maximize the benefit that you can derive from reading and understanding my journey, and my psychological and philosophical research around that journey.  And, in Part 3, I have outlined how you can undertake this kind of journey yourself, with guidance on how to write about your traumatic experiences, in order to complete them.

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[1] Alexithymia is defined as the inability to recognize or describe one’s own emotions.  I did not know what I felt about anything.

[2] Autism is characterized by difficulties in social interactions and communication with others, and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour.

[3] Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, to control, and to express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

[4] Trauma is often defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

[5] See Appendix A for nine different ways to reframe a problematical experience.

[6] ‘Completion’ can be defined like this: The action or process of completing or finishing something. In psychological contexts, this can mean coming to terms with a past experience, so that it no longer bothers you.  It can also be thought of as ‘burning out’ an emotional memory; or digesting it, and withdrawing its sting.

[i] Kraybill, O.G. (2018) ‘When is therapy Inappropriate after trauma?’ Psychology Today. May 14, 2018.  Online: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ gb/blog/ expressive-trauma-integration/201805/when-is-therapy-inappropriate-after-trauma.

[ii] And, when I say ‘body work’, I do not mean any form of touching the client; but rather encouraging the client to do regular physical exercise; to eat a healthy diet; teaching them Havening, which involves eye-movements, and self-soothing arm-stroking. I would also talk them through physical relaxation exercises; and I use a form of physical pushing to establish psychological boundaries.  Apart from those activities, I consider physical contact in counselling and therapy to be undesirable, because of the problem of potential sexual involvement.

[iii] Glenn Harrold*, a British hypnotherapist and author, has a selection of relaxation audios which can be previewed on ‘You Tube’. (See *Relaxation audio extracts: https://www.youtube.com/results?searchquery=glenn +harrold+ complete +relaxation. (Date accessed: 09/04/2019). Or just go to http://www.glennharrold.com).

And somebody has posted Dr Robert Sharpe’s excellent full-body relaxation exercise, in the form of an audio recording.  If you download this onto an MP3 player, you can use it every night at bedtime, to help to get off to sleep.  The address to access it is this: https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=adMVjbCDu2c. If you need to search for this program on YouTube, then here are the details to key in: Deep Relaxation by Dr Robert Sharpe.

Or you can buy Dr Robert Sharpe’s audio program in CD or MP3 format, here: https://www.lifeskillsdirect.com/recordings/relax-and-enjoy-it/

Alternatively, you could buy a 20 minute muscle relaxation program from Amazon, here: https://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Muscle-Relaxation -Minutes-Total/product-reviews/B000YOZKRK. If you have to search for this audio program online, then here are the details: Progressive Muscle Relaxation: 20 Minutes to Total Relaxation; Beth Salcedo, MD. You can also buy a small sample of this audio program to help you decide whether or not to buy the whole thing.

[iv] Kornfield, Jack (2002) The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace.  New York: Bantam Books.

[v] Kopp, S.B. (1976) If you meet the Budha on the road, kills him! The pilgrimage of psychotherapy patients. London: Bantam Books.

[vi] Schiffman, M. (1967) Self Therapy: Techniques for personal growth. Menlo Park, Calif: Self Therapy Press.

[vii] Miller A. Thou shalt not be aware: society’s betrayal of the child. Translated from the German by H and H Hannum; with a preface by L deMause and a new introduction by the author. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1998. p 315.

[viii] Schiffman, M. (1967) Self Therapy: Techniques for personal growth. Menlo Park, Calif: Self Therapy Press.

[ix] Bolton, G. (1998) Writing or pills: therapeutic writing in primary care. In C. Hunt and F. Sampson (eds) The Self on the Page: Theory and Practice of Creative Writing in Personal Development.  London: Jessica Kingsley.

Bolton, G. (1999a) The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing – Writing Myself.  London: Jessica Kingsley.

Bolton, G. (1999b) Every poem breaks a silence that had to be overcome: The therapeutic power of poetry writing.  Feminist Review, 62:  118-132.

Bolton, G. (2018) Dr Gillie Bolton’s Biography.  Online blog: http://www.gilliebolton.com/ ?page _id= 161. Accessed: 19th April 2018.

Bolton, G., Allan, H. and Drucquer, H. (2004) Writing for reflective practice.  In: Bolton, G., Howlett, S., Lago, C. and Wright, J.K. (eds.) Writing Cures: an introductory handbook of writing in counselling and therapy.  Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

Bolton, G., Howlett, S., Lago, C. and Wright, J.K. (eds.) (2004) Writing Cures: an introductory handbook of writing in counselling and therapy.  Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

Cameron, J. (1992) The Artist’s Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity.  London: Souvenir Books.

Cameron, J. (2007) Floor Sample: A creative memoir.  New York: Tarcher/Penguin.

Perry, P. (2012) How to Stay Sane.  London: Macmillan.

Lago, C. (2004) ‘When I write, I think’: Personal uses of writing by international students.  In: Bolton, G., Howlett, S., Lago, C. and Wright, J.K. (eds.) Writing Cures: an introductory handbook of writing in counselling and therapy.  Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

Wright, J.K. (1999) Uses of writing to counter the silence of oppression: Counselling women at the University of the South pacific.  Pacific Health Dialog, 6(2): 305-310.

Wright, J.K. (2000) Using writing in counselling women at work.  Changes, 18(4):  264-273.

Wright, J.K. (2004) The passion of science, the precision of poetry.  In: Bolton, G., Howlett, S., Lago, C. and Wright, J.K. (eds.) Writing Cures: an introductory handbook of writing in counselling and therapy.  Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

[x] Byrne, J. (2019) Facing and Defeating your Emotional Dragons: How to process old traumas, and eliminate undigested pain from your past experience. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

[xi] Please see the following sources for evidence of the efficacy of writing therapy in healing physical and mental health issues:

Esterling, B.A., L’Abate, L., Murray, E.J. and Pennebaker, J.W. (1999) Empirical foundations for writing in prevention and psychotherapy: Mental and physical health outcomes.  Clinical Psychology Review, 19(1):  79-96.

Etherington, K. (2000) Narrative Approaches to Working with Adult Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: The Client’s, the Counsellor’s and the Researcher’s Story.  London: Jessica Kingsley.

Francis, M.E. and Pennebaker, J.W. (1992) Putting stress into words: the impact of writing on physiological, absentee, and self-reported emotional well-being measures.  American Journal of Health Promotion, 6(4):  280-287.

Pennebaker, J.W. (1990) Opening Up: The healing power of confiding in others.  New York: Avon Books.

Pennebaker, J.W. (ed) (1995) Emotion, Disclosure and Health.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Pennebaker, J.W. (1997) Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.  Psychological Science, 8(3):  162.

Pennebaker, J.W. (2002) Writing about emotional events: From past to future.  In: S.J. Lepore and J.M. Smythe (eds) The Writing Cure: How expressive writing promotes health and emotional well-being.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Pennebaker, J.W. and Beall, S.K. (1986) Confronting a traumatic event: Toward an understanding of inhibition and disease.  Journal of Abnormal psychology, 93(3):  274-281.

Pennebaker, J. and Evans, J. (2014) Expressive Writing: Words that heal.   Enumclaw, WA, USA: Idyll Arbor, Inc.

Perry, P. (2012) How to Stay Sane.  London: Macmillan.

Byrne, J. (2018b) How to Write a New Life for Yourself: Narrative therapy and the writing solution. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

[xii] Noppe-Brandon, G. (2018) Mindful Listening: Culling and shaping client narratives.  The Neuro-psychotherapist, Vol. 6(1): Pages 14-26.