4 Questions You Need To Grapple With As Your Grief Matures

It is a strange concept. The idea that grief matures.

Usually it is described in other ways such as time passing, or moving on from the acute grief phase and so on. But as I thought about what I was writing today the word matures popped into my head.

When you think about it, matures is a good word to describe what happens to your grief as time passes.

You do eventually find yourself learning to live with the absence of the person you loved who is gone. You start getting interested in participating in life again. The pain you felt early on transforms into something less acute, still there, just not as sharp.

It takes time. A long time.

So I Think They Aren’t Coming Back

That is bigger than you think. That moment when your head knowledge that they are not coming back is joined by that deep seated belief that they aren’t coming back.

You may not have reached that point yet. You may think it sounds crazy. But when you think about it there is a gap between knowing someone is not coming back and believing it.

Their Loss Is With Me Constantly

Many people tell me that their loss is always with them. The knowledge that this person is not with them. This is particularly obvious when doing something you may have formerly done with the person who is gone.

I remember that feeling. I also remember that over time it stopped hurting so much. And that is what other people tell me as well.

One person I saw told me that they likened their grief to a tape playing over and over in their head. Missing Fred, missing Fred, missing Fred, missing Fred. They were grieving the death of their husband of 40 years. They worked together so every moment of the day was in each other’s company. Missing Fred was the one constant in life. No matter what they did, Fred was always not there.

Why Bother With Life?

Initially many people find their biggest issues are about getting out of bed and going through the motions of the day.

Then they reach a point where they realise life goes on and they can’t make it stop. There is no choice but to move forward in life.

As each day comes, the previous day recedes into the past. What was yesterday quickly becomes last week. Last week quickly becomes last Month and so on.

Life’s forward progression is relentless. At first you were bereaved last week, then last month, then months ago, then last year, then years ago.

It is sad, but an inescapable fact of life. The one you loved becomes part of your past, not your present. Your choice is to keep going or give up. Most people find that keeping going, even when it feels hard to do, is what they do.

Question 1 Who am I, now?

The first question you are likely to grapple with is the big question of who you are now that the person who was part of your life is no longer there.

You are defined by the ones you love. You are defined by the relationships you have. When an important relationship is gone, who are you?

Question 2 What Do I Do Now?

You may continue to do the same things the two of you did or you may choose to do different things.

When making that decision you need to decide if you did something purely because the person you loved did that or you did it because you loved doing it too.

Do you still want to do that thing? Has it lost its meaning now the one you loved is not doing it with you?

Do you want to do new things? Maybe you never did them because you didn’t have time. Maybe now you decide to drop old things and do new things.

Question 3 How Do Other People Fit Into My Life Now?

Many people who lose a partner find their couple friends no longer hang out with them. You are no longer a couple. That is hard to fit in to couple friendships.

You may find you hang out more with other friends.

You may also find you work to make new friendships.

You may also decide you want a different social life. Maybe you want to do completely different things (hence new friends) or go out more or less than you used to.

All these relationships are open to you. It is a different way of being and whatever you do there will be changes.

Question 4 What Next?

What do you do now? What new future are you going to make? You can’t keep the old one with your loved one in it. So what will your new future look like?

You have an opportunity to have a whole new life. Bit first you need to stop and think about what you really want to do.

You have a new freedom. You may find that exhilarating, terrifying or a bit of both.

Allow yourself time to dream and imagine what your life could be. Try things out. If they don’t work you can just move on to try something else.

You have been given an opportunity to change your life. Don’t be frightened to take that breathe of courage and try new things.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

24 Common Signs Of Trauma and How To Heal

Experiencing a traumatic event has a major impact on your emotional, physical and psychological health.

Trauma may be long term, such as being in a relationship with a narcissist or an abusive person. Trauma may be a single event, such as something painful or shocking that happens.

Trauma challenges your sense of safety in the world and the reliability of the world.

Trauma challenges your sense of self, of who you are.

Gabor Mate, a Canadian doctor and expert on trauma in his book “The Myth of Normal” writes that “trauma is not what happens to you but what happens inside you”.

In this quote he is talking about the impact of a traumatic event being individual. Some may walk away from an event relatively unscathed whereas others may be deeply impacted.

The age you are when you experience a trauma has an impact on how you are affected. Trauma occurring in childhood, while the child is still developing their sense of identity as well as developing their brain, has the potential to cause more damage than trauma affecting an adult.

The 24 most common signs of unhealed trauma include:

1.    Being chronically exhausted

2.    Finding it difficult to trust others

3.    Compulsive behaviours and addictions, all about avoiding unpleasant feelings

4.    Not feeling safe anywhere, at home, out of the home, inside your body

5.    Experiencing emotional numbness

6.    Experiencing difficulty concentrating

7.    Having a heightened startle response

8.    Finding it difficult to sleep or having nightmares.

9.    Feeling numb and dissociated from what is going on around you

10.   Skin issues such as rashes and other irritations.

11.   Upset stomach, diarrhoea, bloating, nausea and so on

12.   Constantly apologising

13.   Constantly thinking about things

14.   Gaining or losing weight.

15.   Feeling emotionally dysregulated and struggling to contain feelings of rage or anger

16.   Feeling Depressed

17.   Self-isolating from others

18.   Uncontrollably crying

19.   Experiencing difficulties relating to others

20.   Being frightened of being alone

21.   Struggling with memory and processing information

22.   Having unrealistic beliefs about other people.

23.   Feeling guilty, and experiencing shame.

24.   Being hypervigilant.

As you can imagine, experiencing even some of these signs is distressing and challenging to your sense of who you are.

How Do I Recover?

The biggest impact of trauma is your sense of who you are.

The good news is that you can rebuild your sense of who you are.

You can also learn how to trust the world. Part of that learning is identifying what safety for you is, right now.

You also need to allow yourself time to grieve for what you have lost. Without that healing is not possible.

This recovery will not happen overnight. It takes time. Don’t rush. Don’t think you are failing because you are not “over it” quickly. Cut yourself some slack and be patient.

What Do I Need To Do To Recover?

Sometimes, if the trauma had a smaller impact on you, you can recover with the help of supportive people. Other times you need a trauma trained counsellor to help you.

The first thing you need to do is to understand what safety looks like for you.

Once you understand what that is, you can work at rebuilding your sense of safety.

Rebuilding Your Sense of Safety

To feel safe, you need to feel safe within your body. When you suffer a trauma you may want to run away from the unpleasant feelings. You experience these feelings in your body. A major part of coping with the unpleasant feelings is ignoring what your body is experiencing.

To rebuild your sense of safety you need to learn to feel what is happening in your body. You also need to learn to be comfortable with those feelings.

For someone who experienced trauma as a child, there may never have been learning about feeling into the body. For those who learned already, it will be more about learning to feel into the body again.

Regulation Is A Major Part of Feeling Safe

When you experience uncomfortable feelings in your body you need to be able to cope with those feelings.

Many people learn unhealthy ways to do this. Addictions and compulsive behaviours are about dulling feelings. Emotional numbing is also an unhealthy strategy.

What you may need to learn is how to calm your body. Being able to calm yourself down allows you to feel you have control over the feelings in your body as well as the emotions and memories that come up. That is very empowering. When you have control and feel you have power then you can feel safe.

Internal Safety Leads Outward

Once you feel safe in yourself, you can feel more confident to start trusting those closest to you, then those less close and finally strangers and situations you encounter day to day.

When you feel safe in yourself you also can experience greater clarity around the people in your life and can make decisions about what relationship you have that are unhealthy and set boundaries around those relationships.

Boundaries may look like ending the relationship, limiting when you see the other person, or even limiting the type of contact you will have with them and the type of behaviour you will tolerate from them.

Allow Space For Grieving

When you experience trauma, whether it is recent or in the past, you have lost things that are important. The loss of sense of self and sense of safety. What way you saw the world and those around you is lost. You have also lost the life you had. There may be other losses as well.

All these losses need to be recognised and grieved over.

Grief isn’t pleasant. It hurts. You may even feel angry. The pain is deep.

It is important to learn to be okay with those unpleasant feelings. Don’t try to avoid the feelings by getting busy with activities, be they work, social life, hobbies or relationships. Those avoidance activities will only prolong the grief, they won’t solve it.

A lot of the signs of trauma are caused by trying to avoid the pain.

Counselling is helpful here too in learning how to process this grief.

Building Your Connection Back To Self

When you have grieved the losses and rebuilt your sense of safety in the world you can work on establishing a connection to yourself so you can get to know Who You Are again.

This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the things in life that help you feel who you are. The things that feed you.

This is where you learn to listen to your body as it tells you it is comfortable.

This is where you may find that trying new things will help you discover aspects of yourself you didn’t know existed.

Here is your opportunity to learn how to live in the post trauma world.

Space and Time

As you rebuild your sense of self and safety, as well as grieving for what was lost, give yourself the space to grow.

Ensuring you sleep enough hours is important. Take yourself out to the beach of the bush. Sit and feel the waves at your feet, sit under a tree and listen to the sound of wind through the leaves. See a trauma trained counsellor.

Surround yourself with people who support you and will encourage you to grow and try new things.

Most importantly give yourself time. See this as a journey that is best enjoyed and taken at a slow enjoyable pace.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with healing from your trauma, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

Grief is learning and learning takes time

How many of you have experienced grief and felt very disoriented?

In all the losses I have experienced I have definitely felt disoriented. I thought I was going mad until I went to a grief course and learned that this is the most common experience of people.

There is the here and now. There is reality. But it is new and so different.

The Loss Of The Familiar, Safe Framework

All the normal routines and things that anchor the day are not there anymore.

The day-to-day interactions with the other person, whether face to face or through telephone conversations and messaging, or online connections, have gone. What is left is very new and frightening. You no longer feel that safe framework around you.

The feelings of disorientation will eventually pass, as you learn the new routines and learn to feel safe again within the framework of those new routines.

You never forget the old routines and what they felt like, but you learn new routines that help you to feel safe again.

There Are Many Losses To Grieve.

What I have described so far has been fitted to someone close dying, or the relationship ending and them not being in your life anywhere. I will continue to write about that perspective, but there are many losses where you experience the same disorientation and learning.

This could also apply to:

• a new house,

• a new location,

• a new country,

• changes in your health that impact how you live your life,

• changes in the health of someone close to you,

• the loss of a pet (due to death or no longer owning it),

• losing your job,

• losing financial security,

• and so on.

The Role Of Adaptation In Learning

As you progress through the days after your loss, you will learn how to live in this new reality. The term used for this is adaptation.

Many people see adaptation as learning how to live the same life again.

But you can’t. Your life isn’t and never will be the same again.

There is a lot of pressure from society to get over the loss and “move on”. There are non grief trained counsellors who will work with you to move on within the old framework.

But that old framework doesn’t exist any more. Trying to fit back into it is doomed to failure.

What adaptation is about is learning to live in the world as it is now. This applies to anyone moving through life. But for you, dealing with grief, this is about adapting to the new reality, the new world in which you live. The world without the person you loved and still love.

The Brain Is An Expert At Keeping You Alive.

Your brain is designed to keep you alive.

One of the things it does is predict what will happen. This frees you to focus more on interactions with other people, which are always potentially dangerous.

Your brain will pattern much throughout your day as it predicts the routines and dangers in your world.

How Your Brain Predicts Regular Interactions

If you have had a relationship with someone that lasted many years, your brain has strong connections to the normal daily interactions you had with that person. So as you go through your day at the times where interactions normally happened, your brain will expect them. If those interactions don’t happen, that is confusing for your brain. You notice. You again experience that sense of loss.

Over time, your brain learns that those interactions won’t happen and the reminder, coupled with the fresh sense of loss, slowly abates.

It takes your brain months to learn the new reality.

That means the sense of disorientation will continue until your brain has learned and adapted.

Your Brain Works On The Assumption That Your Loved One Will Be There

Your brain is designed for connection. There are several structures within the brain that feed that connection. There are hormones within that brain that feed that connection. Your brain works hard to maintain those connections. Your safety framework is part of those connections.

Your brain seeks those connections. When someone you have a connection with is gone, then your brain seeks for the connection and can’t find it.

That is very disorienting.

Who Am I When Not Part Of That Person?

So much of your identity includes the people you love. Your brain actually has structures that connect you with the people you love.

When someone you love is no longer in your life, your brain has to remove the connections. This impacts on who you see yourself as, as well as impacting your connection to that person.

This means you define who you are in relation to the people in your life that you love and the places you go and things you do.

• Who are you if you lose your partner?

• Who are you if you lose your child?

• Who are you if your pet dies?

• Who are you if you are no longer working in a particular job?

• Who are you if you live in a different place? A different country?

• Who are you if you have lost a body part?

• Who are you if your health has changed?

This is more work that your brain has to do and it is disorienting.

Why Do I Keep Seeing, Feeling or Hearing This Person?

Many people report feeling their loved one is close to them, or think they see them in a crowd or hear their voice.

When you consider how the brain works, this is not surprising.

You are not deluded. You are not going mad.

Your brain will continue to predict the presence of that person for a long time.

After my mother died I would want to pick up the phone to tell her about something that had happened. This is part of the brain’s prediction of the person still being there.

Other people will say they still expect the person to walk through the door. They may say they feel the person is walking through the house. They may report feeling the other person touches them.

You are not going mad if that is your experience. It is your brain. Part of your brain is predicting those connections and not yet aware the person is no longer there. In time the brain will learn they are not there.

After my grandmother died I would go to the house and clean it. I often felt her presence in her old bedroom because that is where I expected to find her.

Forming Continuing Bonds With What You Have Lost

As your brain learns that the one you have lost is no longer there, it changes to allow the past memories and learn the new present. In that healthy state you will continue to feel a connection with and love for the person.

That is known as continuing bonds.

Integrating Your Grief

Another healthy way your brain will adapt is that the relationship to the one you have lost and the pain you experience will settle into a longer term response. In this place you will learn how who you are now that person is gone. You will learn how to live your life with the grief. You will learn how to remember alongside the grief.

This is know as integrated grief. You will still hurt, but it will be less acute.

You will have reached a point of learning to live and accept the new world, as it is now, and our place in it.

It Is Okay To Ask For Help

Grief is a long and continuous process. This is no smooth path. It is a long process where some days you will feel as though you have made great progress, and other days you will just want to turn your back on the world.

I liken it to a Northern Hemisphere autumn where the sun is often covered by clouds, there are winds that are no longer warm, and leaves are changing colour and falling off the trees. Everything is different and confusing. Some moments are beautiful and some moments are depressing.

You may wake up to a beautiful sunny sky and a late day of great warmth. Then you may wake up to clouds, wind and rain with a bleakness in the air.

And there is the constant flurry of emotions mirroring the multicoloured leaves as they leave the bare trees and blow around.

You may feel pressured by others or by yourself to “move on” and “get over it”. But you can’t get out of this place of swirling emotions, of good and bad days, of feeling you take a few tentative steps forward then hurtle backwards.

Navigating this time is hard. Sometimes you need help. This may be talking to a friend who understands. This may be talking to a grief trained counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with the learning in your grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

How To Talk To Other People Without Causing Unnecessary Pain

In my last blog I wrote about not suppressing your emotions and the way counselling should be an exploration of your emotions and through that to allow healing to take place.

But the fact is when you are hurting other people can inadvertently cause you pain.

I gave some examples:

•    The person struggling to cope with the death of their partner being asked how they are.

•    The person being asked about their job when they have just been made redundant.

•    Being asked what your parents do when you are a teenager whose father has just died.

For people on the receiving end of these curious or caring questions it can be something they learn to dread.

So how do you avoid causing pain to others?

Personal Boundaries

Boundaries are important to pay attention to when interacting with others.

Your boundaries and the boundaries of the other person are important.

Personal boundaries usually are best described as layers of a circle. In the centre is you. There are things you don’t ever tell other people. That is healthy and normal.

The next circle out is intimate relationships. These are the people you are intimately involved with. For a child that would be parents. For adults that is usually your romantic partner. You tell these people things you don’t tell others, but you still keep some things to yourself.

The next circle out is family. This is anyone in your family that is not your intimate relationship. This can be siblings, parents (if you are an adult), grandparents and so on. These are people you will allow to know things about you but maybe not the private thoughts you share with those you are closer to.

The next circle out is friends. These are close friends that you will share information with. People in this circle and the inner ones will be aware of more private things about you. They will be more likely to be aware of bereavements, loss of job and so on.

The next circle out is acquaintances. You will most likely say hello and exchange pleasantries with them, but they are unlikely to know private things about you.

The outside circle is strangers. Unless you are sharing information about a specific thing that you are both involved in you will not tell them anything. An example of that specific thing may be to share that you own the same breed of dog they have, or your child has the same red hair and so on.

Communicating With Others

In communication boundaries are important. The type of questions you can ask will depend on which circle you are in.

Acquaintances and strangers may become friends over time. But you need to know them better before they move into that circle.

When you are getting to know someone you are more likely to ask questions about each other. This is where things can get tricky. It is important not to ask invasive questions. Be mindful that you may be used to asking personal questions in your friendship group, but you are no longer in that group and it is not appropriate to ask some questions.

For example:

A common question women of childbearing age get is “Do you have children?”. This may seem a fairly innocuous question but it can be very upsetting.

Women struggling with fertility report the pain caused by such a question. Then there are women who don’t want children and are fed up with having to justify their choice to other people who have no right to judge their choice.

Another question to younger women who are in a steady relationship is “When are you going to have children?”. That is a big NO. That is nobody else’s business. Again, if the woman is struggling with fertility that is very hurtful.

Only raise the question of children if they raise it.

How to ask “How Are You”

Many people struggle with how to support bereaved friends. Do you ask them how they are or not? When my mother died I didn’t mind being asked. I lived on the other side of the world and no one else knew her. So it was comforting to feel someone remembered.

However, for many people, that question is one they don’t want to hear.

“How do they think I am. I just lost my [loved one].”

So what do you do?

Maybe say something else. “I have been thinking of you”. You can maybe add an offer of help. Maybe you are heading to the shops and you wonder if you can get them anything. Or you are willing to sit with them if they want to talk or just have someone there while they don’t talk.

If you want to ask how they are, preface it with “I know you are grieving and in pain at the moment. But I know that some days are better than others and I care that you are hurting and was wondering how you are today.”

What grieving people need to hear is that you haven’t forgotten their grief and that they are not alone.

What About Asking About Your Job?


Unless you are at a business function, when it is normal to ask someone what they do, don’t ask.

For people who are not working because they are parenting, or disabled and unable to work, or chronically unemployed that question suggests their only value is in having a job.

Asking A Child About Parents

With the high rate of relationship breakdowns at the moment, asking a child about their parents is potentially hurtful.

If the parents have separated the child may still be getting used to it and still grieving about the loss of their family unit.

If a parent is dead and they are still hurting in their grief, they won’t want to be asked that question.

This is one for adults to remember not to ask, and one to teach your children not to ask.

Asking About Family

This is similar to the one above. Remember adults can hurt too. Estrangements across a family are common and questions about family can be very difficult in the acute grief stage.

Be Mindful

When you meet a stranger or acquaintance be mindful of the topics raised in your conversation. Avoid questions that are more intimate. Stick to generalities and only ask questions on more sensitive topics if the other person raises the subject.

Be aware of the other person’s body language and monitor them for signs of discomfort. If you ask a question or make a comment and the other person looks uncomfortable, it may be appropriate to ask if your question or comment was upsetting and apologise.

Be Aware Of Which Ring You Fit Into

When interacting with other people be aware of which relationship ring you fit into.

Be wary of asking questions that are not appropriate for the relationship level.

Think before you ask questions of a friend. Is what I am going to ask going to cause pain? Is there a better way of asking? It is okay to tell a friend you don’t know what to say but you care and want to help in whatever way they need help.

If you are struggling understanding how to interact with other people, seeing a counsellor can be helpful.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your communication with others, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

Suppressing Your Thoughts And Feelings Seems Right, But It Isn’t.

In the current world there is a general belief that if an emotion is too hard you just suppress it. Force it under.

One of the main styles of therapy that is presented as “the correct way” to be and to operate tells you that these uncomfortable thoughts and emotions are faulty and wrong. You just have to work harder. You have to will harder. You can over come this.

But the truth is all the will in the world will not heal those uncomfortable thoughts and emotions.

I Failed Magic Wand Class

I see a lot of people who come to me for that style of therapy. They think it will be like a magic wand that I wave and in a few sessions they will be all fixed.

If only it were so.

The Myth Of Instant Gratification

We all want things to be achieved instantly.

Instead of working hard at following a correct diet and activity regime, we want to take a pill to lose weight.

Instead of working through those uncomfortable emotions. Instead of allowing time for those emotions to heal. Instead of allowing time for our brains to make the necessary changes to heal. Instead of doing all this we want it to be better instantly.

Having to work at something is hard and in this modern world with instant everything working at something is not what we have been taught to expect or have to do.

So maybe you come to me expecting instant results.

The Reality Of Healing

Sometimes the difficulty you are experiencing can be resolved with one or two counselling sessions.

Other times the difficulty will need longer.

Maybe your expectations have been raised by the passion for “the correct way”. You expect I will tell you what is wrong with you and you will do some homework and exercises and keep them up and you will be all better.

After all, it is so much easier to push things down and pretend they don’t exist than deal with them.

Isn’t it?

The Lure Of Running From Those Uncomfortable Feelings

So you run from those uncomfortable feelings. But they come after you.

So you run from them with alcohol, or cigarettes, or drugs or other addictions.

That works for a while, until the effects wear off. Then what do you do?

Running Is Like The Scab Over A Cut

As a former Registered Nurse, I liken the suppressing of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to a scab that has formed over a cut.

You cut yourself, it hurts and it bleeds. Your body starts work immediately, defending from infection and commencing healing. First you will see a scab form. Ah! Its getting better.

But is it?

If all goes well, the scab forms, healing occurs underneath and the scab eventually falls off to reveal healed skin underneath.

But it doesn’t always go well.

Under that scab there is an infection. Pus forms and is trapped underneath the scab. That cut hurts. That cut is not healing as you thought it should.

The pus builds up. The cut hurts more.

I watched a colleague once remove the scab on a man’s leg. Her comment is so relevant here.

“I never trust a scab. It hides things that shouldn’t be there.”

She had noticed the signs of infection under the scab.

Scab removed, the cut was able to be cleaned and the infection cleared up. Not overnight, but over a matter of days with continued cleansing until the infection was cleared.

Counselling is like that.

Healing Requires Work and Time

If you want to resolve those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings you need to work at them.

I am not going to tell you that your thoughts are “faulty”. They aren’t.

I am not going to instruct you to not think about them. I will help you examine them to find what lies underneath them.

I may not seem to be “working” with you, but I am.

I Trust You To Be Able To Heal, Maybe With Help

I trust you as a person to have the ability to heal those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings with my assistance.

By assistance I mean that I will help you identify what is actually going on. I will tell you that what you are experiencing is a normal way for your brain to respond to your circumstances. Then I will help you work with your brain as it heals.

I will help you understand the unconscious parts of your brain that you cannot control consciously. I will help you heal those, which will often involve feeling into your body as well as allowing your brain to express itself through art, sand play, movement or other expressive methods.

I will tell you that things take time. Because your brain can’t rebuild new neural circuits overnight. Expect a few months at least.

I Don’t Use A Magic Wand

Whatever you do, don’t be like the people who come expecting me to wave my magic wand and make you all better in one session. See the start of progress, no matter how slight, as the wonderful evidence that healing has started.

And don’t tell your children they just need some “strategies” to cope with those painful thoughts and emotions when what they actually need is compassion and understanding that what is happening in their life hurts and it is okay to hurt.

Soldiering On Doesn’t Work

Wanting to be able to just “soldier on” was a wonderful marketing ploy for a drug company selling cold and flu tablets. We apply solider on to everything, including emotional pain. But there is no instant fix and even the “soldier on” message has been shown to be the worst treatment for those colds and flu.

Allow time. If you need to see a counsellor expect it to not be instant and be very wary of someone who tells you your thoughts are “faulty”.

In The Next Blog

I mentioned the pain of dealing with painful thoughts and emotions.

In the past few weeks I have seen a lot of people who have struggled with other people inadvertently causing them pain through their questions.

How are you? To the person struggling to cope with the death of their partner.

What is your job? To the person just made redundant.

What do your parents do? To the teenager who is grieving the death of their father.

These seemingly innocent comments can cause a lot of pain. So what can you do to avoid those foot in mouth blunders?

I will talk more about this in my next blog.t

Can I Help?

In the meantime, if you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with managing your thoughts and feelings, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz