Note to Self: Write MORE that’s Real in 2018

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More of Everything in 2018

I need to write, but haven’t in a while.

I got a little bogged down trying to create neat, unoffensive packages of psychotherapy. I sort of lost myself, and writing became a chore.

But I’m writing my way back home, thanks to a little rest and time with writerly friends. Now, my true self wants to say something . . .

  • more interesting,
  • more hilarious,
  • more gut-wrenching,
  • more real . . .

The stuff I’d want to read, that enlivens me and pushes me toward the edges of my comfort and into a new way to think.

Stuff that makes me want to get up early and write it.

Idea Garden II, Deborah Cox, Flowers Reborn

For years, I’ve flirted with more candid writing, but reined it in, choosing a safer, more clinical voice. In the therapist’s chair, I listen to your stories, all the while knowing we’re alike in ways that blow my mind. Almost nothing truly separates us.

More Honesty = Less Separation Between Us

. . . and less separation sounds great to me.

My last post, about dealing with a narcissistic mother, brought me closer to what’s real. It felt risky and imperative at the same time. Some of you said, “Oh my God, that’s me too.” We both struggle with how to handle people we love who bring us down. There it is. Just like you, I need help with my boundaries and I need to know that I’m not a bad person for protecting myself.

There’s a censor in my head who says, “Shut up and act like a proper psychologist.” But another voice says, “Trust yourself. Write what you know. Share what’s real for you. Trust the universe. Allow yourself to be known.”

Even though I sit in the therapist’s chair, I’m a work in progress. And although our sessions are about you, sometimes I need to write about me. That feels more balanced, more genuine, more honest . . .

 . . . and scary as hell.

(which is probably a sign I need to do it).

More Spiritual Growth

A few years ago, I wrote a novel about growing up and escaping fundamentalism. It’s fiction – but it hews closely to my emotional truth. Now, more than ever, I think you need to read my story. It’s part of your story too . . . Though you may not realize it yet.

We are spiritual beings who change constantly. We’re all moving toward more mindful spirituality, higher levels of consciousness, less restricted thinking, more love, more connection . . . whether we realize it or not.

I plan to share Wife Material in my 2018 blog, starting with this little scene of the 22-year-old bride, Elizabeth, straight from her Church of Christ wedding reception (Think receiving line, sherbet punch, mixed nuts, and pastel-colored mints.) Elizabeth is me. She’s the reason I’m for you getting free.

As always, I love hearing from you.

 

1988, from Wife Material: A Novel of Misbehavior and Freedom

The wedding night. My new husband looked like a mound of biscuit dough. He had a surprising lack of body hair and a pale form that slumped when standing or sitting. He had his mother’s hips. Unless you actually saw his private parts, you might not realize he was, in fact, a man. He waited for me under the hotel blanket as I tiptoed out of the small Vanderbilt bathroom in my white chenille robe, reluctantly exposing my skin to conditioned air as I slipped it off.

He smiled like a dimpled three-year-old about to eat pudding. The lights were out except for the fluorescent shafts that wound around the partially open bathroom door. I thanked God for darkness as I hurried into the stiff, clean sheets with him, a bit of moonlight misting in through a crack in the heavy sixth-floor drapes. The clock on the polished nightstand said 1:15 a.m. I missed my mother.

An hour ago, somebody else’s wedding party reveled in the lobby as we arrived at the hotel. The other bride still wore her finery, her updo falling in a sexy droop, and her friends laughed and glistened with perspiration in their cocktail dresses, like they’d been dancing for hours. They looked breezy and comedic, in the way of Eddie Bauer models. A hunky groom stood by her, joking with tuxedoed friends. Her gaiety gagged me—I had no idea why. At this moment in the sheets with Ted, I thought of that bride downstairs. She was happier than me.

Contact Deborah

How Lies Put Us Into Trance and How to Stay Awake

lies and trance

Adi Holzer [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Lies often come from authority-figures. When I was growing up, preachers told the story of Abraham and Isaac: the one about how Abraham takes his child to a mountaintop and prepares to stab him to death as a sacrifice to God (whose ego must have been puny).Every time the story was told, a part of me screamed, ludicrous!!!! Another part of me got drowsy and tried to forget this awful scene on a big rock and the boy who saw his dad raise a machete to plunge into his chest.

I no longer believe that Abraham, following divine orders, set out to do away with his only child, only to be stopped at the last nanosecond by the hand of the almighty. And even if it IS true, I refuse to take it as some exemplar of righteousness, as I was taught. I see it as a pretty horrifying cultural myth . . . or a kind of lie.

How Lies Work

A client of mine was told she was “disgustingly ugly” by an older boy, when she was twelve. This lie persists in her psyche, at age 45, even though she’s beautiful by all cultural standards.

Turns out, it hurts us to believe lies. Even a little exposure to falsehood causes us to spend mental energy processing a piece of information that never completely goes away, even if we’re shown that it’s completely false.

This happens to survivors of bullying and abuse, all the time:

You don’t know what you’re talking about.

You’re too sensitive.

She didn’t mean it.

Boys will be boys.

Every child gets spanked.

You weren’t abused.

You deserved it.

You’re making a big deal about nothing.

You know I love you.

Lies infiltrate our thought-systems, sneak their way past our defenses and better knowledge. Lies become partially accepted at an unconscious level. We start to believe things that have no basis in reality – or things that a bully or perpetrator wants us to think, instead of trusting our own perceptions and conscience.

This Is a TRANCE STATE.

When we ingest information that fails to match up with other things we hold true, our brains go limp, trying to deal with the discrepancy. Senses dampen; energy drains. The more often we hear untruth, the more we trance. The more we trance, the more vulnerable we are to accidents, assaults, or forgetfulness (e.g., leaving your wallet at the restaurant).

Please fight trance in yourself and others. Write something on paper every day. Listen to your thoughts. Say them aloud. Keep your eyes and ears open. Stay awake. Listen to each other.

Contact Deborah Read Wife Material

Stuck in the Pigeonhole Vs. Becoming More of You

Exit the Pigeonhole and Get Un-stuck

Exit the Pigeonhole and Get Un-stuck

Okay, everybody. Here’s a little quiz. Consider List 1 and check all that apply to you:

  • A good daughter □
  • Married to one mate, for life □
  • A good provider □
  • A sweet girl □
  • Skinny □
  • Happily married □
  • A good Democrat □
  • A good Republican □
  • A dutiful son □
  • Law-abiding citizen □
  • A good Christian □
  • Grateful (to your parents and grandparents or whomever has helped you get a leg up in life) □
  • A patriotic American □

Now, raise your hand if you’re a little uncomfortable. A little stuck. Me too.

Exit the Pigeonhole and Get Un-stuck

Exit the Pigeonhole and Get Un-stuck

. . . Because these are basically a load of crap. They mean nothing. They’re just icons of what to be (or not be), aka, Culturally Controlling Images.

Controlling Images pigeonhole us. They get promoted by those with more power. They organize people of lesser power into niches that have no real, personal meaning. Yet we get caught in them, tangled in them, defined by them.

Controlling Images make us toe the line. Controlling Images are relational, but not in a good way: they keep other people from knowing us. They form barriers to stop people from asking the deeper questions.

Like, What do you dream about? What do you wish you could say to your mother? How should we treat the families fleeing Syria?

Exit the Pigeonhole and Get Un-stuck

Exit the Pigeonhole and Get Un-stuck

Consider List 2 and check all that apply to you:

  • Childless/Barren □
  • Twice Divorced □
  • Old Maid □
  • Drug Addict
  • An Angry Person □
  • Widow □
  • Old Man □
  • The Ungrateful Daughter □
  • Homeless □
  • The Crazy One □
  • Atheist □
  • The Gay Guy □
  • The Fat Girl □
  • Unemployed □
  • The Cancer Patient □

Now, raise your hand if you feel depressed. Me too.

Controlling images work in both directions. We try to present the images valued by our society (List 1); we fear the images deemed unworthy by it (List 2).

But development demands that we drop the images that block our awareness of who we truly are. In fact, when we buy into the pigeonholes, the stereotypes, the images of what should be, we stay stuck in a childlike fantasy about ourselves until we no longer can . . . until something devastating happens to shatter List 1 and yank us out of the pigeonhole.

Development happens when we smash the images and enter the present moment. This is just me and I don’t know what I believe anymore and I’ve lost my relationship and my identity and I’m just here with my sadness. This is just me with my imperfect, aging body and my fears and financial failures. This is just me with my needs and I don’t know what’s happening in this crazy world. This is just me, breathing in and out.

This is how we become real.

How are you stuck in List 1? How are you stuck in List 2? What trauma led you there?

Write a poem about smashing the illusions. Write a story where you become more of who you were meant to be.

Contact Deborah Read Wife Material

Once Upon a Time: Repression and Learning to Say No

Once upon a time, I learned repression.

Once upon a time, I learned repression.

Repression: I once knew what this was and then I forgot.

Last weekend, I attended the EMDRIA conference in Minneapolis where physician, Gabor Maté, spoke about the connections between trauma, emotional repression, and disease. He told the story of his Jewish infant self, crying all the time, in Hungary, 1944, just before the Nazi invasion. He quickly learned to negate his own childhood needs in order to protect his mother from further stress. Maté’s book, “When the Body Says No,” tells about the emotional coping styles we learn as children – and how they become precursors to adult diseases. Here’s an excerpt.

Repression, the inability to say no and a lack of awareness of one’s anger make it much more likely that a person  will find herself in situations where her emotions are unexpressed, her needs are ignored and her gentleness is  exploited. Those situations are stress inducing, whether or not the person is conscious of being stressed.

I came home and bought all Maté’s books, so I could read about my two selves . . . the child version that, long, long ago, learned to cope through repression (who put her difficult feelings into lidded jars and set them on a high shelf to collect dust); and the adult version that survived cancer.

Anger & Repression & No . . . just No

Maté reviews the mountain of research that’s been done since I first studied women’s anger. He reads obituaries and tells stories about his work and interviews with dying patients . . . people with breast cancer, ALS, and other life-threatening diseases. This passage captures his premise:

                    Emotional experiences are translated into potentially damaging biological events when human beings                                           are prevented from learning how to express their feelings effectively. That learning occurs –or fails to occur – during childhood.

Bottom line: these patients repress their true feelings most of the time.

If you grew up in a fundamentalist religious group, I have no doubt you learned to repress your true feelings in favor of what someone wanted you to feel or be. I once got scammed while making change in my college retail job because I didn’t want to be a disappointing Christian young lady and hurt the perp’s feelings. Just . . . NO.

Once Upon a Time: I forgot how to say no.

Once Upon a Time: I forgot how to say no.

Repression & Dissociation in Everyday Life

Here’s how it looks. I have stress, but dissociate (cut off) from my stress. You have anger, but stay out-of-touch with it. You have anxiety, but distract from your true feelings. I may be grieving the loss of my father, but not shedding tears, just desperately trying to save a friend from his addiction. I may be furious at how women are objectified in this world, yet only aware that I feel old and unattractive. You may be afraid of being alone and unloved in the future, but only know you’re driven to work harder, be fitter, and produce more now.

How do you dissociate from the reality of the moment? (e.g., food, alcohol, work). How do you repress pain? (e.g., humor, obsessive thoughts about your body). With whom do you avoid saying no? (e.g., your mate, your boss, your mother). What do you use to distract from the real pain at your core? (e.g., religion, politics, shopping, talking). What ingenious strategies did you develop as a kid that keep you shielded from what you really feel?

These are all the same question.

Now, where in your body does the physical impact live?

How to deal? For me, writing draws out hidden feelings. When I write, I connect with the serious little girl who forgot how to say no and, instead, left her instincts in sealed jars.* I move abstract emotion out of storage and into the realm of paper and ink where it can be touched and smelled and targeted with EMDR. Also, regular, focused exercise helps me stay attuned to my body/mind, so I’m more likely to feel No and say No when I need to.

*Once upon a time, you did this too.

Contact Deborah

 

How Getting Grounded Makes you Smarter

I believe you.

Permission to Know What you Know

I believe you.

I think it’s important for you to know that. When someone’s taking you seriously, you stay more awake to your observations. Sometimes we knock down the disturbing ones, like a kid playing Whack-a-Mole. We fear a dawning realization. We don’t want it to be true. So let me just say right now, I trust what you notice.

She really hurt me.

I need to get out of this relationship.

He’s abusing our child.

My mother didn’t want me.

That person sexually abused me.

I don’t believe in God anymore.

When we hammer down, swat away, or block thoughts we don’t want, we put ourselves into trance. We un-ground ourselves. We zone out and fade away. We stop being present in our bodies, so we miss information being registered through our senses or body organs.

So let’s look at that spot where we erased our innermost thoughts. I’m right here with you. It’s okay to know. But it helps if you feel safe while you become aware.

Let’s Get Grounded

Some part of each of us wants truth, even if it’s devastating. But we need to be grounded. That means safe and aware of our surroundings, present in our skin, present in this moment right here.

Here’s how to get grounded.

  1. Sit comfortably. Become aware of your breathing.
  2. Look at your surroundings. Notice colors, shapes, people, plants, buildings, cars, and furniture. Notice dust motes on the windowsill.
  3. Ask yourself: what emotion do I feel? Is it more anxiety than sadness? More sadness than anger?
  4. Where do you feel the emotion in your body? Just notice it, and then bring awareness back to your breathing.
  5. Say something calming like, It’s okay for me to feel angry; I can feel my feelings and be okay; It’s 2016 and I’m a grown up now; I am safe.
  6. Hold an object like a stone or your house key. Feel the texture and temperature of it.
  7. Say something supportive like, I have friends; I have people I can turn to; I am loved.
  8. Walk around. Feel your feet on the ground. Listen to the sound of your shoes on the floor or pavement or grass.
  9. Stand in a doorway and press your arms as firmly as you can into the sides of the doorway.
  10. Listen for sounds all around you.
Grounding helps you notice.

Grounding helps you notice.

When you get grounded, it’s like waking up after a long hibernation or thawing after a long freeze. Now, you may feel all kinds of emotions you didn’t notice when you were tranced out. Know that this is normal. If you get anxious, go back to your breath. It’s always there for you. Go through the steps again. Try tapping the sides of your knees with your fingertips, back and forth, while staying focused on your breath.

Grounding happens through body awareness. Tara Brach, a Buddhist psychologist, teaches that awareness of the body is the gateway to all knowing.

Getting grounded allows you to perceive, more accurately, what is happening in your life. Grounding keeps you safer by letting you register danger signals and resources for safety. Grounding gives you back lost time – time you may have once spent rummaging for lost keys or shoes, getting lost, or daydreaming instead of reading. Grounding lets you use all the information available in your environment – you listen better, remember more, and connect more dots when you’re grounded . . . because you’re really, fully here.

You get smarter by unclogging your creative mind, letting even the unwanted thoughts and perceptions just be there. Those unclogged thoughts start to connect with others, and so on. Soon, you have a new conscious web of insight and feeling. And it helps to have someone you trust, someone who believes you, listening closely, bearing witness to the formation of this beautiful new web, and being grounded with you.

Oh, and writing helps with all of this too!

Contact Deborah

 

What Does Freedom Look Like to You?

 

http://lucabarberini.com/en/works/view/56/revolution-16

Revolution 16, Luca Barberini, http://lucabarberini.com/en/works/view/56/revolution-16

We hear a lot about freedom from politicians and life coaches. But freedom seems a bit vapory to me. Freedom to, what, exactly? Last week, I started asking people, What does freedom look like to you?

Here are some of the answers people gave me.

  1. Having the ability and right to make decisions for myself.
  2. The ability to help myself and help others.
  3. Being without addictions.
  4. Being able to set boundaries with others.
  5. Listening to good music.
  6. Artistic expression.
  7. Being able to explore and change my views of the universe.

No one I asked mentioned weapons or money. They all described internal states and liberties. Freedom feels internal to me too. Truth. Beauty. Love. Things I have with me no matter where I am or who is in power. Things that cut across religious and cultural divides. I’m able to think fluidly, use my reason and intuition, my senses and hunches and emotions, to guide my behavior and beliefs. I can create loveliness with words or gum-wrappers. I can love others and feel their love coming back to me, even if we’re hundreds of miles apart. I have access to what’s inside. I’m not a slave to substances.

Writing to Get Freedom

For me, writing leads to freedom . . . especially writing about relationships, religious and spiritual oppression, bullying, domination, or abuse. As I dare to write my emotional truth, I explore the dark side of my human experience. I go through the slimy tunnel and out the other side. That’s where I find truth, beauty, and love as I experience them. One leads to the other. Writing the horror and the struggle clarifies the real questions to be answered, Who Am I? Why has this been my path? What have I learned from it? What’s my life’s curriculum?

Going through this process, I get more mentally free.

In the spirit of these questions, here’s an exercise. This might get you started on your own life-writing or social commentary. Get out your journal and pen and start writing. Give yourself five minutes on each question. Set a timer and be sure to stop when it dings.

  1. What do you absolutely have to have in your life, in order to be okay?
  2. Why do you think those are what’s necessary for you?
  3. What is your number one core belief about the universe?
  4. How did you develop that core belief?
  5. When do you feel most free?

Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

Contact Deborah Read Wife Material

 

 

Zombies in Relationship: Identify Feelings and Come Out of the Trance

Zombies in Relationship Trance

Come out of Trance and De-Zombify Yourself

Several months ago, I wrote about dissociation, or being tranced-out. Trance feels like confusion or sleepiness and it blocks our energy in relationships. Trance envelopes us when we can’t make sense of the mixed information we’re receiving inside our relational space. It paralyzes us into inaction.

Am I crazy?

Am I paranoid?

Did I imagine that?

Remember the old movie, Gaslight? The woman being gas-lighted in the movie had a stress-induced psychotic break as she tried to manage all the mixed information being fed to her. Her husband systematically invalidated all her suspicions and emotions…leaving her to doubt her very reality. A trance-induction. Most people don’t induce trance intentionally, but the effects of mixed signals/information can still turn us into zombies.

Is he hearing me?

Is she there for me?

Am I worthy of relationship?

Trance-induction happens when someone claims to love you but keeps a major part of their humanity out of the relationship. This sounds like:

Of course I love you. Why would you even doubt…., or

This is for your own good…, or

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

You’re just sensitive because of what happened when you were growing up.

You don’t really know [what you think, feel].

Expression that mismatches a moment. Words that throw us off. Behavior that seems opposite the professed love, or just a blank look that belies the trouble you know is there. Mixed signals shake the I-Thou of relationship like tornadic winds uprooting trees.

Zombification comes from the stress of mixed signals. Mixed signals create an information vacuum that sucks up energy as we try to sort out what is really meant or how the person really feels or if we’ve been left emotionally abandoned or if we’re really crazy.

When we’re mystified by someone important to us, we dissociate, or slip into a trance. And trance leaves us vulnerable to accidents, depression, lost information, and lost moments. If you feel like a zombie, you may be in trance – and there’s probably a relationship trigger to it.

Steps to Demystify Yourself and Come Out of Trance

  1. Practice being angry. Pretend you feel angry and whack a mattress with a tennis racquet. Do this for 30 seconds while yelling obscenities at someone (who isn’t there). Stop and breathe. What do you notice?
  2. Make a list of everything confusing in your current relationship (whether this is a love relationship or a family relationship or a friendship). Write a scene involving your anger at someone. Writing Wife Material helped me take hold of some highly confusing childhood signals and sharpen my sense of what was real. It helped me break out of trance.
  3. When you start feeling sluggish or tranced-out, focus on your five senses. Hold a rock and feel its texture and temperature. Go outside and touch the grass. Breathe. Keep your eyes moving. Write down what you see, hear, taste, and smell.
  4. Think about the relationship troubling you and walk briskly. After 20 minutes, stop and jot down your thoughts/feelings.
  5. Tell your partner (or family member) how you feel when they invalidate you. Hold on to your reality. Breathe. Remember it’s okay to feel like something isn’t quite right, even if someone says you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Remember, you have the right to your reality, even if someone else says you’re imagining things. Let me know if you’d like to talk about trance and de-zombification.

Contact Deborah Read Wife Material

 

How Exercise, Story, and EMDR Heal Trauma

Story Lives in the Body

Story Lives in the Body

You have a story to tell (and it lives in your body.)

As you know, I recommend writing as a way of healing. When we write story, we turn pain into beauty, even if we’re spinning complete fiction. Writing forces us to transform bits of disconnected ideas, pictures, sensations, and memories into episodic memory.

When a scene becomes worded completely, fleshed out with vivid details and thoughts, it becomes whole. We use both sides of our brains to create story: the emotions and colors live mostly on the right, while the words and logic live mostly on the left. We constantly move back and forth within the nervous system to pull pieces together like a patchwork quilt. This is information processing, the primary component of EMDR therapy.

Story and Information Processing with EMDR

Trauma memory tends to be stored in these separate, left and right, containers, which is why bits of it get activated without our realizing it. We become panicked all of a sudden when we drive through a particular part of town. We lose focus during a meeting and go numb in response to someone’s voice. We smell a particular perfume and get a guilt-attack…as if out of nowhere.

EMDR brings right and left together. Memory bits become clusters which become whole stories, complete with the necessary logic to neutralize their poison.

“I was four years old. Of course I wet my pants in the car! That’s what four-year-olds do!”

Through bilateral stimulation (BLS), EMDR triggers the integration of the panic, guilt, shame, pictures, sensations, temperatures, muscle tensions, and beliefs with newer knowledge about ourselves and the world. “I’m defective…” becomes “I’m normal…I did the best I could.”

When our story becomes whole, we can tell it thoroughly and artfully. We can even rewrite it to tell a bigger story or turn it into the story we wish we’d experienced in real life. We can turn trouble into art. This is why I wrote Wife Material, my semi-autobiographical novel of growing up in religious abuse.

Information Processing with Exercise

Last week, I wrote about how exercise transforms our mental state. I think this happens through bilateral stimulation. In EMDR, we use side-to-side eye-movements, pulses, auditory tones, or taps for this. But running, walking, punching, crawling, and climbing can do something similar. This is probably why a good power-walk blows out tension and cobwebs and shines light on all kinds of things you haven’t seen in a while. It moves you beyond your day’s troubles and stuck thoughts and pushes you into an altered brain – a brain that sees and interprets differently…a brain alive with story.

Kettle Bells at The BodySmith

Kettle Bells at The BodySmith

This spring, I’m opening a therapy office at The BodySmith, where I’ll join a team of skilled and caring fitness professionals. We’ll collaborate to find more ways to help you keep things moving: to transport old trauma out of its disconnected storage bins and into creative, working memory.

For now, try this exercise and let me know how it works for you.

  1. Make a list of issues you’re worried about. Place a star beside the one bothering you most.
  2. Notice any emotion or body sensation you get with that issue.
  3. While you’re still aware of the issue, take a long walk, 30 minutes or more. Allow your mind to wander while you walk.
  4. Afterwards, get your notebook and write about the issue again. Notice any changes in perspective or feeling.

Call me if you’d like to talk about how to tell your story and use EMDR and exercise to heal.

Contact Deborah

What’s Your Spiritual Story? (And why it matters to your life.)

flowersreborn7
I purged my childhood belief system and started over. I ran to psychology. It explained everything, including all those simple minds who still drank the Kool-Aid. Continue reading

Write your Life Story and Heal from It.

Flowers Reborn

Flowers Reborn

Wife Material, my new novel, started as a memoir before it became a work of fiction. I wrote it because I could not- not write it. In the beginning, I tried to expose the dark side of a religious sect – the one in which I spent my childhood. In the end, I’d made up whole scenes from scratch. I made up characters that fit, emotionally, with the true life events in my memory. I made up events that fit, emotionally, with the culture that shaped me. And pretty soon, the made-up story felt more accurate than my facts-only version.

But what compelled me to put my life on paper in the first place? Why go to all the trouble, take a decade, weep over pages of trauma, keep a notebook handy at all times, put paper drafts in the freezer for years (in case of a house fire), sit at the computer thousands of hours, subject myself to critical feedback and revision and rejection and multiple rounds of editing?

Because. My history exists for a reason. And getting it into a readable story form allowed me to turn nasty experiences into art. Someone reads my shameful pit of despair and says, That happened to me too. Then, suddenly, I’ve reached a person with my words. I have an art piece instead of a bad memory. A whole room full of sculptures instead of twenty-three years of mistakes and trouble.

My dad hurt me, physically and emotionally and spiritually. As I put him in context, story him as a suffering person who acted out, I see myself as an innocent child – not a worthless object or a bad thing, undeserving of protection or nurturing. I remember the moment I realized this shift, as a stared at a page in my journal where the handwriting convicted him of child abuse. I held that journal out away from my body. I threw it to the floor. I put it in the trash. Then I got it out, rewrote the event in the form of scene, on the computer. Now there was distance between me the person, and that true-life trauma that left me drenched in shame and loathing for so many years.

I suggest Life Writing for my trauma therapy clients. Writing allows us to lay claim to our experiences in ways we can’t otherwise. It forces us to make sense of events that were confusing. It re-orders scattered clumps of memory and draws them into meaningful wholes. It takes trauma and externalizes it, there on the page, so it moves outside us.

Life Writing also facilitates the process of EMDR therapy and adds to our overall health and well-being.

Especially with child abuse, your story informs you as it informs the world. How you were handled as a child lives in your body. Putting that experience on paper, seeing it in words, in black and white, sharing it with trusted others, even fictionalizing it, helps to get the horror out of you and into a piece of intellectual property. That creative property helps you see yourself as a character in a story – one who deserves empathy and love.

Call me if you’d like to learn more about writing and healing from trauma, EMDR therapy, or how writing improves our mental health.

Contact Deborah