How can therapists use trauma-sensitive yoga with their clients?

In the second part of our Q&A with Dagmar Härle, she discusses how therapists can use trauma-sensitive yoga with their clients, and how to adapt their style of working with someone who has experienced trauma. You can read part one of the Q&A here

 

Why is it important that yoga teachers and therapists have an awareness of what positions might be potentially triggering for someone who has experienced any form of trauma?

Using yoga in the beginning of the process, we want to offer resources and foster self-efficacy and self-esteem. Offering postures with legs wide open like in happy baby where we lay on our back, holding the toes in our hands or buttocks unprotected like in a downward facing dog, for sexual traumatized people we have to be aware that those asanas can trigger. But avoiding these poses in the long-term doesn`t solve or heal because the patient cannot make new experiences like “I now can tolerate poses I couldn`t weeks ago”.

 

Holding people in their comfort zone ultimately doesn’t help them, or let them develop. It’s a matter of timing. Offer “safe” and easy asanas (always being aware that we don`t know what triggers may be) in the beginning and start to open up while the person makes good experiences and gains resources.

 

How important is flexibility or creativity in teaching style when working with people with a history of trauma?

Offering choice needs creativity. Flexibility is needed when an asana or breathing technique triggers and you want to offer another possibility.

Continue reading

The Thinking Behind ‘Take it as a Compliment’

Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir, Take it as a Compliment, reflect real life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment. In this blogpost, Maria Stoian explains the thinking behind this important graphic memoir, published by Singing Dragon.

Stoian_Take-It-As-A-Co_978-1-84905-697-7_colourjpg-print

TAKE IT AS A COMPLIMENT by Maria Stoian – NOW AVAILABLE!

Before I can talk about Take it as a Compliment, I feel I should introduce the project which preceded it. It was a short comic called The Elephant in the Room, which I made during my undergraduate degree. It was a fictional story exploring how the trauma of sexual assault might affect a person’s perception of reality and how they might deal with it in their daily life – which is to say that they probably would not talk about it, but instead bottle it up.

The project ended up being something I talked about all the time, and, as a consequence, the subject of sexual violence came up frequently. One day, I mentioned a comment I had read online which said, “When I finally plucked up the courage to tell my mother about my rape, the first thing she did was ask me what I was wearing.” I thought this was a horrifying response, in its words and also in how common the sentiment it expressed is. Instead of being appalled, however, one of the girls I was with said, “Well, a woman is responsible for her dignity.”

I couldn’t believe that the testimony of this girl wasn’t enough to convince this girl – that it didn’t say enough. I thought, “This happens to so many people, how have you missed this?”

The much more common response to my project was that people started sharing their stories with me. There was a lot of, “Oh, this happened to me too” or, “This reminds me of something else I’ve experienced” or, “I haven’t talked about this before, but now i feel like I can.””

All this made me think that if I were to draw up all these stories and put them in a book, it would speak to people when they read it. It would speak to them so loudly, and so clearly that it couldn’t be ignored by people who thought that the source of the problem was women’s lack of “dignity.”

When I started collecting stories, it was definitely a group effort. I didn’t have a very prominent web presence, so my friends helped me get the ball rolling when they told their friends about the project, and when the feminist society at uni posted a link sending people to the project’s blog, that was a huge help as well. I ended up with anonymous Tumblr messages, emails, and even a few interviews.

TiaaC Press release imageEach story is stylistically a bit different as a result of each voice being different. I received stories that were several pages long, and some that were only a couple of sentences. There are chapters where the narration is there, word for word, and there are also stories that only include dialogue. I found the responsibility of telling the story as truthfully as possible – often without knowing the protagonist – to be a bit difficult. Some people were very frank about what had happened to them, to the point where they were just recalling a series of events. Others talked about how they felt, and that was when I had to decide whether to show it, or use their words.

I also thought a lot about how I would be designing the characters. I had never met most of the people who shared their stories with me, and the people I did know needed to not look like themselves, while still being themselves. I didn’t want the audience to read the characters incorrectly; I wanted to convey the sense that they were all just everyday people.

To make a point about how I was thinking about the problem, I simplified it in a little exercise for my classmates. I made a small activity book and among the questions I had prepared, I asked the readers to make judgements about the characters I drew, to assign personalities to them, and to label them as heroes or villains. The idea was that, in real life, there are no guaranteed visual signs for what a person is like, and any interpreted signs are based on what we have been taught by culture and the media. The responses I got were that it was difficult to say which character was what, because they all appeared neutral – and yet there were clear patterns in how people judged the faces. After I explained, “Of course they just look neutral, that’s what real life is like, that was the point.” I was advised to draw the characters more “good” or “bad.”

The frustration that people felt when the characters didn’t fit into neat two-dimensional boxes was something I thought might come out of Take it as a Compliment. While I wanted each story to have its own individuality, and show each character’s humanity, I also wanted it to have a certain level of neutrality, a sense of this individual human being and their unique experience being one of many. I learned that statistics didn’t say as much to people as I thought they would. It seemed everyone already knew the 1 in 6, 1 in 4, 1 in 3 estimates from this study and that one. Somehow it wasn’t enough, it didn’t translate perfectly that the 1 was a human being. And equally, that what happened to them was caused by another human being. Survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence are real, everyday people.

As it turned out, the anonymity ended up not being that important to all that many people, tumblr_n5et4x7qE61sklb5to1_1280what with there being interviews and emails sent. Not only did people choose to approach me without anonymity, some people even signed their names to their stories. One person introduced themselves in their written story by name, saying, “And that’s my REAL name, because these things happen to REAL people.”

All throughout its creation, I thought of Take it as a Compliment as being for two groups: For survivors and for bystanders. For the survivors, I’d hoped that the act of telling their stories would be part of a sort of healing process for them. And for bystanders, it was a message to be active in the discussion and to take action regarding the issue.

I don’t know how much personal benefit the survivors in the stories got from sharing, but it was clear that many of them did it not for themselves, but out of a concern for other people. Almost every contributor prefaced their story with something along the lines of, “People need to know this is a very real, and a very common occurrence.”

I think one of the most exciting things about the book getting published is that the survivors who did choose to remain anonymous have a chance to see that it became a real thing, and that it’s part of a conversation. Before Take it as a Compliment was picked up by Singing Dragon, it really was just all the stories, back to back. That was the main thing that needed to change. The publisher really felt – and I agree – that there needed to be a conclusion. A lot of people might get through the book and feel a lot of anger, and rightfully so. They might also feel helpless. But there is a lot of power in the discussion. There are a lot of us out there who are aware of the issues and who are eager to make changes.

My hopes for Take it as a Compliment going forward would be for it to keep doing what it’s been doing, which is to keep the conversation going. Even after the project was finished, and it was on display at my university’s grad show, I was approached by an older woman who said, “I really connected with your project because I’ve also been raped. Thank you.”

When we stand up and talk about these experiences, we can make more of an impact together, than we can by suffering in silence on our own.


 

Maria Stoian is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Scotland. She is interested in the way illustration and games can be a non-aggressive way of encouraging people to recognise when they might be biased. Take It As A Compliment was Maria’s Master’s project at Edinburgh College of Art.

Stoian_Take-It-As-A-Co_978-1-84905-697-7_colourjpg-printTake it as a Compliment  by Maria Stoian is AVAILABLE NOW

Price: £14.99

ISBN: 978-1-84905-697-7

 

 

Improve patient’s experience through relationship-building – interview with Jane Wood

Jane Wood

Jane Wood has been involved in reflective practice for the last 20 years.  She is a supervisor and teacher of reflective practice at the University of Westminster and is the head

of practitioner development and reflective practice at the International School of Homeopathy, London.

Jane Wood’s new book The Compassionate Practitioner is now available from Singing Dragon. This handbook, full of practical tips and supportive advice, explains how best to enhance the client’s experience through compassion and mindfulness. This book will be a valued support for anyone working in private practice.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have been teaching the practitioner-patient relationship to students at college and at the University of Westminster for nearly 20 years. At the same time, I have been supervising qualified alternative practitioners and seen their struggles to build up a private practice. Many practitioners talked about the same issues in supervision: their patients were demanding, impatient or simply didn’t return. The practitioners needed to find a way to create trust, loyalty and staying power. They could do this if they improved the patient’s experience during the consultation. I realized I was in a position to write a book that takes the practitioner through every stage of the consultation, giving them lots of practical advice on how to create a healing relationship with the patient – and gain a flourishing practice.

 

Why is relationship building so important for people working in private practice?

I strongly believe that relationship building is vitally important for everyone in the caring professions whether they are alternative practitioners, counsellors and therapists or traditional doctors, nurses and consultants. Unfortunately, most orthodox practitioners do not have the time available to do much relationship building, leaving both the practitioner and the patient feeling dissatisfied and rushed. Many alternative practitioners such as homeopaths, acupuncturists, and body workers have longer sessions with their patients, which allow them more time to work on the relationship.

On the surface, making an effort to improve the experience for the patient will increase their trust and loyalty to the practitioner, but it is more than this. When the practitioner takes time to make the patient feel safe and appreciated, the patient can start to relax and explain themselves better; which in turn enables the practitioner to give a better treatment.

The added bonus for anyone in private practice, is that once there is a good relationship, the patient will help build up the practice by referring other people.

There are many different ways in which the practitioner can improve their patients’ experiences. One way is consider the clinic environment. I suggest that practitioners take five or ten minutes to sit in the patient’s chair, quieting their mind by focusing on the breath. Once they are quiet and relaxed, they can bring themselves into the present moment and use all of their senses to assess the clinic room. What is the feel of the chair they are sitting in? Is it comfortable? What is the room temperature? What smells are there?  Can they hear the receptionist or another therapist working in the next room? If so, does this impact on confidentiality?

 

What can practitioners do to improve their patients’ experiences?

The appearance of the room will make a big difference to the patient. If the practitioner is behind a desk they will feel more secure, but the patient will feel distanced. What do the patient’s eyes rest on when they are not talking? Considering the clinic room through the senses will give the practitioner a taste of what the patient experiences. They then need to consider what they can do to improve the current environment.

Another suggestion for improving the patient’s experience is that the practitioner should explain to the patient what will happen during the consultation. This is called ‘signposting’ and should be done at the beginning of the session. It can be very brief, such as, ‘I’m going to invite you to talk about yourself and your problem for the first twenty minutes, and then I’ll give you a treatment which takes about thirty minutes. You’ll need to take off your shoes and get onto the treatment couch. After the treatment we’ll see how you feel.” Once this has been clarified, the patient knows what to expect and can relax.

 

How can practitioners maintain balance in their work and avoid burnout?

Being a practitioner and listening to many patients talking about themselves is a great privilege and helping them can be deeply rewarding.  But sometimes the price is too high. There are several different causes of burnout, including working for very long hours, anxiety about patients or unconsciously taking on the patients’ negative emotions. The last one occurs mainly when there is a long time spent face-to-face with the patient, such as for counsellors, therapists or homeopaths. Our brains are programmed to read other people’s body language and facial expressions, so that we can empathise or feel their emotions.

The patient’s emotions can be directly experienced by the practitioner who might carry home a patient’s anger or depression. An awareness of this will help them consciously make more breaks in eye contact, and change their own body language more often so they don’t unconsciously mirror the patient so much.

Another way to avoid burnout is to make sure the practitioner has enough personal time to have fun and relax. This might sound obvious but when a single practitioner is running a private practice, they have to be their own marketing manager, record keeper and accountant and this all takes time. The practitioner needs to balance the intense work in the clinic with care for themselves, physically, mentally and emotionally.

 

You write a lot about self-reflection. Who do you think should do it and why do think it’s important?

Wood_Compassionate-P_978-1-84819-222-5_colourjpg-web

Self-reflection is a process of self-examination, of thinking seriously about your own character or actions. In the caring professions this will mean exploring something about the practitioner-patient relationship in order to understand it in more depth and decide what can be done to improve it. It is not nearly as effective if it is done within the limitations of the practitioners mind, and much better if it’s done out loud in front of a colleague or supervisor, or written into a self-reflective journal. If something went well, the practitioner can make a note of it so that they can repeat it. If it didn’t go well they can analyse why and plan how to change things next time. As I see it, all practitioners should be doing self-reflection. Their learning taught them how to work with the average patient. Experience shows them that patients are anything but average and everyone is very different. Self-reflection raises the standards of the practitioner and everyone gains from it: the practitioner, the patient, the clinic and the profession in general.

 

 2014  Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

 

Books for Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental health awareness week is a great time to look at how natural therapies can complement mental health treatment and be fundamental to keeping the mind healthy and preventing problems in later life. Here is a selection of some of Singing Dragon’s books for improving mental health.

                                                                                                                                                     

Recovery and Renewal by Baylissa Frederick

Frederick_Recovery-and-Re_978-1-84905-534-5_colourjpg-webMany people will be perscribed medication at some point in their lives to help with a mental health issue, but they can lead to dependency and coming off prescription drugs can be one of this most challenging parts of maintaining mental health. This book will be a lifeline for anyone taking or withdrawing from sleeping pills, other benzodiazepine tranquillisers and antidepressants. The author draws on her personal experience of coming off benzodiazepine tranquillisers to explain everything you need to know about withdrawal, including how to identify symptoms, manage them, and take firm steps towards recovery. It’s an uplifting, empowering read which will also be useful to families and friends of people overcoming perscription drug dependency, as well as medical professionals.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                     

Managing Depression with Qigong by Frances Gaik and Managing Stress with Qigong by Gordon Faulkner

Gaik_Managing-Depres_978-1-84819-018-4_colourjpg-webFaulkner_Managing-Stress_978-1-84819-035-1_colourjpg-webThese two practical books give step-by-step instructions for Qigong forms designed to combat depression and stress. No previous experience of Qigong is necessary. Frances Gaik is a clinical professional counsellor and provides a treatment plan with helpful advice from her years of practicing Qigong and meditation in therapeutic settings. Gordan Faulkner is Prinicpal Instructor at the Chanquanshu School of Daoist Arts. His anti-stress exercises are designed specifically to fit around a busy lifestyle and have been extensively trialled with Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres.

                                                                                                                                                     

The Mystery of Pain by Douglas Nelson

Nelson_Mystery-of-Pain_978-1-84819-152-5_colourjpg-webThis is a personal tutorial for understanding the psychology of pain. Douglas Nelson takes an in-depth and surprisingly entertaining look at how we experience pain and what medical professionals and therapists can do to improve treatment. Through asking strange questions like ‘Why does scratching an itch feel so good?’ and ‘Why is pain from a mosquito bite preferable to the same pain from an unidentified source?’ Nelson shows how us that the more we understand pain, the more power we have to control it.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                     

Fragrance and Wellbeing by Jennifer Peace Rhind

Rhind_Fragrance-and-W_978-1-84819-090-0_colourjpg-webFragrance has a powerful impact on our mental and emotional states, with scent playing a key role in forming memories and sense of place. This book explores the impact of fragrance on the psyche from biological, anthropological, perfumery and aromatherapy viewpoints. The author explores how scent has been used throughout history and across cultures, discusses the language of fragrance and presents detailed profiles of a broad range of fragrance types including their traditional and contemporary uses, and mood-enhancing properties.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                   

Principles of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) by Lawrence Pagett and Paul Millward, and Principles of NLP by Joseph O’Connor and Ian McDermott

Pagett-Millward_Principles-of-E_978-1-84819-190-7_colourjpg-webO_Connor-McDerm_Principles-of-N_978-1-84819-161-7_colourjpg-webThese are quick and easy introductory guides to teaching yourself the therapeutic psychological techniques of EFT and NLP. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) work by removing blockages in your body’s energy using tapping  in order to feel more positive, energetic, and less stressed. EFT can relieve a wide range of conditions including anxiety, anger, depression, insomnia and migraines. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a system of modelling your speech and behaviour to achieve your goals and connect better with those around you. It’s applications include building confidence, beating depression, and developing your career. NLP is a great starting point for anyone looking to improve their life.

                                                                                                                                                   

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from May 12-18, for more information see www.mentalhealth.org.uk. For more books on a range of mental health issues visit Singing Dragon’s parent company, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, www.jkp.com.

Core Strength, or Core Resilience? An article by Noah Karrasch

Picture of Noah KarraschIda Rolf, founder of Structural Integration work, and the grandmother to many of us in bodywork fields, is reputed to have said ‘Strength isn’t strength; flexibility is strength.’ I find this to be a profound and simple truth, and one I’ve tried to follow in my nearly 30 year bodywork career. I believe this thought holds true across disciplines, models, and techniques. It makes sense to me that any time we focus on shortening, tightening, and strengthening, we’re also creating a tension and brittleness. In other words, when we focus on creating strength and its attendant tensions, we’re actually creating a tighter system that’s more prone to injury.

Recent research has shown that static stretches actually produce more injuries than they prevent; most athletes have realized that gentle moving stretches are more effective. Yogis have known this truth for years. Yet many Pilates instructors, for example, still toss around the term ‘core strength’, and many people have strength as their goal when stretching and training. They believe the ultimate goal is to create a tension and strength at the core line, when actually, a softness and resilience suggests a body that’s more ready to move in any direction, quickly and enthusiastically. I believe it was Alan Watts who coined the term ‘dynamic instability’. I like that term, which suggests to me that each of us has the ability to operate from a resilient core that can quickly move into any direction we’d like, more quickly and more happily.  I’d like to invite everyone to revisit their goals and work to achieve ‘core resiliency’ instead of this core strength.

Let me get on my personal bandwagon for a moment also, to further challenge us all:  many of us have got into our ‘helping’ professions because the specific technique we practice has helped us tremendously in our own bodies and with our own problems. This makes perfect sense; why shouldn’t we decide to share with others what works well for us? However, I’ve seen plenty of yoga instructors with chronic conditions they can’t seem to work through; I’ve seen Pilates instructors who have strong cores, no flexibility, and lots of pain, and I’ve seen deep tissue bodyworkers who clearly don’t know how to accept deep touch. If you are going to share expertise with others, please, please spend time working to create a greater awareness in your own body, and remember to let your journey be an exploration instead of an achievement. Turning a task into an achievement sets one up for being a failure or a success instead of an individual on a journey; turning a task into an exploration ensures that one can take what one is given without a need for turning up the pressure on self to achieve more. Be satisfied with your progress and your process, instead of believing that you must always do and be more! When we are satisfied with our own progress, we don’t have to push our clients as hard to achieve.

Karrasch_Freeing-Emotion_978-1-84819-085-6_colourjpg-webCurrently I’m quite interested in the polyvagal theory, coming to us from PhD Stephen Porges from Illinois, USA.  His theory is that the vagus nerve, which initiates in the brain stem and travels deeply through the front of the body, is both a controller of relaxation response in most of us, but also is part of the governing mechanism for the adrenal system of the body.  His polyvagal term comes from the idea that most of us accept the concept of ‘fight-or-flight’ response from the adrenals, and that the vagus controls this response.  He postulates, however, that there is a second, older system in the vagus nerve that is what he calls the ‘play dead’ mechanism. We might also call this the ‘freeze’ response. In other words, like many other, more primitive animals, we may have a secondary, older vagal system that encourages us to numb out, play dead, freeze or in some way dissociate from our bodymindcores when things aren’t going our way.

John Pierrakos, founder of CORE Energetics, gives us another interesting model when he suggests we are three layered beings. His CORE is the ‘center of right energy’. The second layer of the bodymindcore in CORE Energetics is the body, and the third layer is the environment. It’s Pierrakos’ contention that too many of us are using our bodies to protect our cores from our environment. Take a moment to consider this model—can you see how the softening and resilience of the core created by softening the body can bring any body to a place of greater peace, flexibility, and joy in living?

I believe I witness Porges’ ‘play dead’ response more and more, now that I’m looking for it—either in someone who chatters incessantly on the therapy couch, who stops breathing, who tolerates unbelievable amounts of pain, or even who falls asleep.  I believe far too many bodyworkers (and physios, and psychotherapists!) are operating from a slightly frozen place in themselves. How can they help clients to find and resolve core issues, when in actuality, they’re still interested in tightening and strengthening cores? How can one find and resolve the core issues if one is defended at the sleeve and trying to create strength at the core? We must fearlessly, yet enthusiastically, look to soften the blocks that begin at the sleeve, access and soften the core, and learn to be new animals coming from a new outlook of dynamic instability.

And that which we want for our clients, we must first challenge ourselves to find. The language gets in the way: we don’t have to achieve anything. We don’t have to strengthen anything. We don’t even have to change anything, except our attitudes.

Noah Karrasch trained as a rolfer in 1986 and has over the years developed his own style of work, called CORE® Fascial Release Bodywork.  Located primarily in Springfield, Missouri, he also visits the UK twice yearly to teach and work.  His two books are Meet Your Body geared toward helping clients find this core resilience, and Freeing Emotions and Energy Through Myofascial Release which is primarily meant to share his theories of health and well-being with practitioners.  Find him on the web at www.noahkarrasch.com.

© 2013 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Understanding and treating the complex chronic patient – an interview with Isobel Knight

Isobel KnightWhat makes treating the chronic complex  patient so difficult? Do you think there is still a lack of understanding about how best to approach this?

I think that practitioners are very scared by complex chronic conditions and can become very overwhelmed. I’ve had so many medical professionals dismiss me because they really didn’t understand what the problem was. Treatment of chronic complex conditions really does require a multi-disciplinary team of people and medical experts, as well as an overarching approach to treatment plans. This can all be overwhelming for one person.

Conditions become chronic and complex over the years. There’s often a long delay in diagnosis (research by the Hypermobility Syndrome Association in the UK suggests that diagnoses can take about 10 years). As an individual gets older, he or she will gather more problems, which makes treatment even more difficult, relating to more bodily systems. If the condition is intercepted younger, these can all be addressed and hopefully better controlled.

How has being an individual with EDSIII (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – Type 3, Hypermobility) influenced the way you treat people in your clinic?

Based on what I’ve experienced, I can certainly spot the condition very quickly in people who haven’t had a diagnosis. Although I can’t officially diagnose, if the symptoms are there, I can get them sent to their GP for a referral to an expert rheumatologist. So in this way it’s really helped some people. I also know what ongoing management they are often going to require, so I can both refer them on to practitioners that I know, and support them with Bowen Therapy in the areas that I know they will need help with.

I’m never overwhelmed by what patients say, and I always believe them. And that helps a lot.

Why did you choose the autoethnographic approach in writing your new book?

That was inspired by an author I quote in the book, who wrote about life with a kidney condition and eventually turned it into a PhD thesis. I thought it was a really good way of framing the book. It uses my story as a basis, but also weaves in the stories of others, to ensure that it’s socially representative of that culture group. But also, this is a personal story. I include some quite personal details, and I hope that this makes it much more accessible to read, not a dry textbook. It really says how the patient feels, from my point of view and from the points of view of others.

Book cover: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Managing Ehlers-Danlos (Type III) - Hypermobility SyndromeIn the book, you go into quite a lot of depth on the psychology involved both in having a chronic complex condition and in treatment. Do you think that the importance of this area is underestimated?

Yes. I was actually really surprised how large the psychological section of the book ended up being. There are so many layers to it, trust being a very important one. The issue of trust is so important for any medical professional dealing with a chronic complex patient. Personally, I had been consistently told by a range of professionals that the pain I was experiencing was psychosomatic, and that there was nothing wrong with me. I think that most patients have years of that to contend with. In so many cases these conditions involve a legacies of problems that haven’t been fully handled since a young age. Behaviours change because of pain. That really has an impact on people. They get angry, they get depressed, they get anxious.

I’ve also included a section for the patient on managing chronic pain, cognitive behavioural therapy, and other psychological aids such as goal-setting, pacing, ways of communicating and dealing with doctors.

Medical professionals also need support psychologically in dealing with the complex chronic patient because, as mentioned, treatment can be very overwhelming for them, and quite emotionally draining. If one of your patients comes back every week with little improvement to their pain, it can be emotionally difficult as a therapist to make a positive spin on it and focus on treatment.

Social media seems to be a really supportive, positive force for the treatment and understanding of these conditions. How do you see this developing in future?

I think that because some patients with this condition can become quite disabled, and socially isolated, Facebook, for example, can be a real lifeline for them. It’s a way for them to get mutual support, to learn more about the condition, to realise they’re not alone in their experience. I’ve been staggered by the response to my Facebook page, and how it’s being used internationally to provide support and share information on this subject (but never any medical advice).

How do you hope this book will help professionals working with, and patients with the syndrome?

I hope that the patients will be able to see that there has been, in my story, quite a positive improvement due to the level of care I’ve had, and the experts I’ve managed to have access to. Physiotherapy has been essential in this. I’d like to offer patients hope but also the reality that this is a genetically inherited condition, which is about management, not cure. I hope that the book provides not only treatment information, but validation – they can take the book to their doctors to show them what’s going on. It’s as up to the minute as up to the minute can be in terms of medical research and practice.

In terms of the medical professionals, I hope that they can understand the full impact of a multi-systemic chronic complex condition, what it means to have bodily systems not working very well, and the impact that this has psychologically, physically and socially. I hope this helps them to develop a bit of a more empathetic approach.

I’m incredibly lucky to have been able to have 6 real experts in each field contributing to the book. This means that they’ve been really able to bring the book up to date with the latest research on treatment and medical management of the condition. That’s a real privilege.

© 2013 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

Request a copy of the UK Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue

Cover of the Singing Dragon UK Complete CatalogueMake sure not to miss Singing Dragon’s latest UK Complete Catalogue. If you have not yet received a copy, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send a free one out to you ASAP.

Readers in the UK and Europe who request a copy of the catalogue before February 15th, 2013 will also receive a voucher for a 15% discount on the entire Singing Dragon list of books, with free postage and packing.

Take advantage of this opportunity to find new, forthcoming and classic books on Chinese Medicine, Holistic Health, Taiji, Qigong, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Spirituality and more. Also, sample health-promoting recipes with The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, and Make Yourself Better with Philip Weeks’ books. Delve into the history of Ayurvedic Medicine and the Mudras of India, and discover the Five Levels of Taijiquan, Daoist Nei Gong and Chinese Medical Qigong.

To request your copy of our Complete Catalogue, please click here. To receive your 15% discount voucher, please be sure to click the checkbox for “Singing Dragon” under area of interest or else mention this offer in the “any further comments” section.

If you have previously received a copy of the catalogue, and would like to take advantage of the 15% discount, please feel free to request a voucher via email at post@singingdragon.com.

VIDEO: Christa Mackinnon on using shamanism techniques and approaches in therapy

In this exclusive video, Christa Mackinnon gets to the heart of how adjusted shamanic healing techniques can be a major asset to any therapeutic practice.


Christa Mackinnon is the Founder and Director of Kamdaris Psychological Consultancy and Training and is an Honorary Fellow and Associated Lecturer at Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, UK, where she teaches special study units on trauma as well as clinical hypnosis. She is a social psychologist, family counsellor, clinical hypnotherapist and group facilitator with over 25 years of professional experience as a therapist as well as an international trainer and lecturer.

Christa has spent time as an apprentice to shamans in South America and has received various trainings from spiritual and shamanic teachers in Asia, the USA and the UK, which led her to design and run training courses for therapeutic professionals combining western approaches with indigenous spiritual teachings. She is the author of Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice: An Introduction.

How to Incorporate Wellness Coaching into Your Therapeutic Practice – An Interview with author Laurel Alexander

Laurel Alexander is a complementary therapist, coach, trainer and widely published author with over 20 years of experience in the wellness industry. She runs Wellness Professionals at Work, providing business coaching for healthcare professionals and a range of accredited wellness courses. She is a qualified reflexologist, nutritionist and stress manager and is currently the business coach for the Association of Reflexologists, the International Stress Management Association and the National Council of Psychotherapists. She is based in Sussex, UK.

Here, Laurel explains her passion for wellness and introduces readers to her new handbook for therapists and counsellors, How to Incorporate Wellness Coaching into Your Therapeutic Practice.


 
How did you come to the field of wellness?

When I left school, I wanted to be a nurse (that was either my mother’s fantasy or mine). With the contrariness of teenage years, I became a window dresser in a fashion shop instead. Over the following years, I developed an interest in self development and this became my working life. The next few years saw added work with career management and a fading link with self development. At 39, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and this reconnected me to my intuition and passion for wellness. For the past 13 years, I’ve worked solely in the area of wellness; writing, teaching and as a therapist/coach.

What experience(s) motivated you to write the book?

Much of my working life as been as a wellness professional. Many moons ago, my students suggested I added the teaching of life coaching to my courses which I did. Over time, this has evolved into teaching of wellness coaching. Writing of course is another way of teaching – so here I am today.

The book is designed to be used as building blocks in terms of underpinning knowledge and skills development. Therapists can take ideas from the book and develop themselves both personally and professionally.

I would hope therapists would take away information, ideas and inspiration for their own wellbeing and that of their patients and clients.

What are the key characteristics of wellness coaching that make it a useful addition to a counsellor or complementary therapist’s toolbox?

As healthcare professionals move into the 21st century, coaching offers a highly effective skill set which can complement a therapist’s practice. Key characteristics include:

  • being non-directive (thereby empowering clients);
  • questioning and listening skills (useful to gain information so that we are better informed);
  • integration of coaching skills into a variety of therapeutic approaches (offering an eclectic toolbox approach to healthcare)

Let’s not forget we are in the “business of healthcare”. We may come to wellness as a vocational calling. We may feel motivated and inspired to work with others in a healing capacity for the highest good. However, we are business people and if we are to stay in business, we need a range of transferable skills which are marketable and useful. Coaching is one of those key skills.

Can you describe a typical client who would benefit from wellness coaching techniques, or a particular case in which the use of these techniques has proved effective?

The best of scenarios with a wellness client is someone who is pro-active in their healthcare, who is a seeker of self knowledge and who is willing to embrace all possibilities.

How does the book reflect your general philosophy about wellness?

My philosophy about wellness is multi-faceted. There is rarely one route into, and out of, wellness. There are often several contributing factors including lifestyle and mindset. We also need to bear in mind that wellness may not mean “no disease” or “less pain”. It may mean pathways of acceptance or transition.

Copyright © Singing Dragon 2011.