Individual Sessions can be either a Traditional Talk session (of 60 minutes) or a FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning) session (of about 90 minutes).
By reading this information you are already exploring the idea of healing for yourself or someone you know. Working with me and/or my equine partners, you will begin a journey in a supportive environment to make sense of yourself from the inside out in order to address personal struggles such as: Trauma, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Sabotaging Behaviours and Limiting Beliefs.
Trauma… what is it exactly?
A traumatising event is something that happens to a person that was unexpected, they were unprepared for, and there was nothing the person could do to stop it from happening. Simply put, traumatic events are beyond a person’s control. The event can feel terrifying and completely overwhelming.
It is not the event that determines whether something was traumatic to someone, but the individual’s experience of the event and the meaning they make of it. Trauma is an experience that spans age groups and is almost universal in affecting human lives. The term ‘trauma’ covers a spectrum from ‘big-T traumas’ such as war, life threatening accidents, natural disasters, severe neglect, physical or sexual abuse, family violence, and psychological degradation to ‘little-T trauma’ experiences, such as the long-term effect of a depressed, alcoholic or angry parent, a family broken by a divorce, loss of a job or business, a broken relationship, a fender-bender or a non-life threatening accident. These all leave psychological scars and potential patterns of functioning that are rooted in survival and desperation.
Trauma of any size, when left unresolved robs a person of their energy and vitality. It can result in a person numbing out and tuning out from themselves and the people around them, to becoming less patient, quite defensive and angry and short tempered with people and situations. The trauma can therefore become a person’s unresolved history, creating patterns of surviving that have basically outlived their usefulness, but yet prevent a person from thriving in the present.
An impact of trauma can result in a person suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So what is PTSD? To sum it up briefly, there are three main components to describe PTSD. (The three listed are from minimal traumatic impact to moderate effects – high or complex PTSD include additional symptoms)
- The repeated reliving of memories of the traumatic experience in images, smells, sounds and physical sensations
- Avoidance of reminders of the trauma, as well as emotional numbing or detachment
- A pattern of increased arousal, as expressed by hypervigilance, irritability, memory and concentration problems, sleep disturbances, and an exaggerated startle response.
The core issue of PTSD is that certain sensations or emotions related to traumatic experiences are dissociated, keep returning, and do not fade with time. People struggling with PTSD seem unable to put an event behind them, minimising its impact. They may not even realise that their present intense feelings are related to the past, so they may blame their present surroundings for the way they feel. Symptoms can occur sometime after the event (weeks, months, or even years).
In general, the more prolonged the trauma and the more interpersonal in nature, the more severe the impact is likely to be. It might be helpful to see the experience of trauma and the associated impact as being on a continuum. For example, a single event maybe something like a one-time experience, and has a beginning and an end (i.e., car accident or surgery). A prolonged event may be family violence, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, witnessing violence in the home, or your career which might entail you dealing with and seeing traumatic events daily. For example, First-Responders.
Anxiety is a feeling that is often characterised by intense fear, worry, and apprehension. Many anxiety sufferers describe it as a feeling of nervousness and dread that can be distracting at best or all-consuming at worst. Anxiety is typically experienced on many levels, affecting one’s emotions, leading to uncomfortable physical sensations such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, racing thoughts, shortness of breath, and contributing to negative thinking patterns. Anxiety and fear are often viewed as ‘negative emotions’.
However, everyone experiences anxiety once in a while. For example, when the car breaks down on the way to a job interview, or you’re about to deliver a speech to a room full of people for the first time. Anxiety is a fact of life. In fact, some anxiety is necessary at times. Anxiety may be a symptom that helps you to react quickly in order to avoid an accident whilst driving your car or prevent you from entering an unsafe place or circumstance.
Depression… there are not many people born with a chemical imbalance that specifically creates depression. It is usually something that is developed over time. Where does this “chemical imbalance” come from? It comes from our thoughts. Since thoughts create emotions, and emotions are made of neurochemical reactions, our programmed thought and belief patterns are the actual source of the chemical imbalance.
Having a negative mindset creates negative neurochemical reactions. If you have positive thoughts, it creates positive neurochemicals – most often dopamine and serotonin. (Dopamine and serotonin are the neurochemicals anti-depressant drugs are helping the brain to manufacture).
Treating depression as a “chemical imbalance”, treats the symptoms of depression, not the subconscious programs of thoughts and beliefs (a.k.a. the roots). By only treating the symptoms, the root issue(s) stay alive and perpetuate beneath the surface. Anti-depressants can absolutely serve someone in the short-term, in order to provide enough stability for the root issue of the depression to then be addressed.