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The Courage To Heal Work Book

Dec 20, 2011 - 0 comments

1) Where am I right now:

I'm not sure my experience counts as sexual abuse. I wonder if this book is meant for me.
I want to deal with these issues, but I don't know where to begin.
I'm feeling really desperate and hopeless. I don't think a self-help book can really help me, but I'm picking this up as a last resort.
I want to use this book as a way to chart the ups and downs of my healing process.
Buying this book terrifies me. I don't want anyone to know I have it.

2a) Creting Safety:

I usually push myself further than I'm ready to go.
I'm afraid this book will bring up feelings I won't be able to handle.
I'm afraid of being isolated and alone when strong feelings come up.
I'm afraid of going fast and not absorbing anything.
When things get hard, I space out and go through the motions without feeling anything or block it out by smoking marijuana.
I'm afriad a family member or friend will find this and want to know what's going on.
I'm scared that other people will read this and think there's something wrong with me.
I know I'll criticize myself for not doing it right.
I'm afraid I'll show this book to people when I don't really want to.
I'm afriad this will cause an unhealthy obsession with the past and create sexual lust and frustration.
I'm afraid I'll do something self destructive instead of reaching out.

2b) Ground Rules:

I will only do the exercises when I feel able to for how ever long I am able to.
I will make sure I have the therapists phone numbers handy when I am doing the exercises.
I will try to come to terms with what was and what is and accept it so I can move on and enjoy myself now.
I will try to use mindfulness skills I learnt in therapy to be aware of strong feelings and then let them go.
I will keep my book in a private place only I have access to and only show it to professionals who understand.
I will try to talk about my issues in therapy and counselling.

2c) Where:

I plan to do these exercises during evenings when I am alone or when everyone else is in bed.
I want to spend however long I am comfortable with doing the exercises.
I will do the exercises in the living room where I feel most relaxed.
I want to do these exercises alone in my home where I feel safest.
I know my nanna Marie is watching me if I need someone to turn to.
I will only share this book with professionals helping me as they understand and have the knowledge to help me.
My reason for wanting privacy is because I don't think others could handle or even remotely understand my feelings especially the sexual ones because it isn't normal.
Whenever I sit down and do the exercises in this book I am going to make sure I am relaxed.
When I finish I will probably go to bed and read a book to take my mind off of it.
I feel safer when I think of setting these boundaries, it's private and personal.

3a) Creating A Support System:

People I am closest to: Mum, Adam, Nikki, Chris, Bryony, Liz, Paddy, Lisa.
These people are all supportive of me.
These people are all trustworthy to me.
I could ask these people for favours.
I could talk over my problems with these people.
Mum listens to me, hugs me when I'm sad, drops everything when I need her to be there for me, comes to appointments with me, is proud of me, loves me nomatter what, sees the real person inside the problems.
Adam makes me laugh, does favours for me, helps me to be assertive.
Nikki makes me laugh, is proud of me, loves me nomatter what.
Chris makes me laugh, is good company.
Bryony is easy to talk to, she listens, she's good company and is caring.
Liz is a loyal friend, she makes me laugh, she's fun to be around and we often think the same.
Paddy is loyal and laid back, caring, fun to be around and great friend, he is also funny and makes me laugh.
Lisa is friendly and caring, she is a great friend and really loyal and supportive.

3b) If They Knew:

Bryony, Lisa and Paddy don't know and I am not sure about wether or not Adam knows but if they were to know I think they would all be supportive of me. I'm going to consider telling some, but only if I feel it is necessary.
When I look at the people or lack of people in my support system I feel ok, grateful for those that do care but would love some professional counselling at the same time. I can see that a lot of people care about me though.
I wish I could have CBT sooner though or at the same time as my DBT.
In order to build up my support system I am going to spend more time on medhelp and ring my support team more.

3c) Helps And Hindrances To Healing:

Things that help are: Marijuana, Oscar, family, music, ambition, intelligence, self help books, professionals, college, ice skating, scrapbooking, films, tv, art, reading, social occassions, paganism, success, shopping, sweets, friends, fresh air, special occassions, nights out, days out, Biggie, Buster, dogs.
Things that hinder are: Alcohol, chauvinism, Lolita film, fantasies, obsessions and obsessive behaviour, sexual frustration, voices, reminiscing, inner child, men, black cloud, winter, darkness, failure, bad feedback, being put down, relationships ending, determination, losing people.

3d) Therapists:

I think therapists are good, helpful, caring, understanding and grounding.
People who go to therapists are brave.
Going to therapy now makes me feel stronger.
I'm afraid of therapy in case it doesn't work or fix me.
Bad experiences I've had in therapy so far include when I was younger about 13/14 and went to a child sexual abuse survivor centre and saw this woman but all we did was play board games. I quit angrily. I was not ready. Other bad experiences I've had include asking for reassurance and not getting it in DBT and feeling alone and like I'd failed.
Good experiences I've had in therapy so far include the DBT sessions especially the one with mindfulness.
Right now, as far as therapy is concerned I think I want to keep going to DBT and trying to understand/learn, and asking for extra help/counselling for the core issues.
My next step is to talk to the proffessionals more.

3e) Counsellors:

The characteristics I look for in a counsellor are: Someone who has a caring attitude, is understanding, sympathetic, listens, doesn't judge, is someone I feel comfortable around, is reassuring, gives me hope, helps me to learn new coping skills, gives me an arm to lean on.
I'd be willing to compromise on the leaning arm notion as I know it's important to be responsible on my own.
I won't compromise on anything else though as I feel they are bare necessities for me.

3f) Questions:

Can I schedule extra sessions/call when I am in crisis?
How would you feel about my participation in a survivors group?
If I had problems with the arrangements can we change them?
If I did not think you were the right therapist for me can I ask for someone else?
Can I have access to my records?
Can I see a proffessional for checkups regularly?
Can we keep a mood sheet?
Have you helped people who have been sexually abused as kids before?

3g) Feedback:

First therapist didn't probe me enough for answers it was a waste of time and made me feel angry as I didn't want to have to do all the work alone. I wasn't able to do that.
Doctor was sympathetic but I felt uncomfortable, doctors in Liverpool were the same.
Assessors for CBT and other psychiatristds were interrogative and unsympathetic, I felt uncomfortable around them and harshly judged and was also diagnosed wrongly as shizo-affective. I also had paranoia and sexual feelings around them.
Assessor for DBT helped but I felt ridiculous owning up to my feelings and uncomfortable.
Crisis team told me off and made me feel like a bad person and belittled my medication.
Psychitrist made me feel good about myself and I felt comfortable around him, like he cared but I had sexual feelings towards him. Doctor made me feel the same but was a she and there were no sexual feelings.
Personal mental health workers made me feel bad about myself after suicide attempt and harshly judged but I also feel like they do care. I feel uncomfortable around them sometimes.
I trust most of my care team and after my DBT sessions and sessions with the mental health team I usually feel better about myself and more hopeful about my future.

3h) Current Therapy:

I feel listened to usually.
My therapist believes what I say usually.
I only feel that my therapist likes me sometimes.
I only feel that my therapist believes in my capacity to heal sometimes.
My therapist respects my ideas and points of view sometimes.
I only trust my therapist sometimes.
My therapist is respectful of my personl boundaries always.
My therapist responds well when I am in crisis usually.
When there are problems in therapy I can discuss them sometimes.
My therapist admits to making mistakes always.
My therapist helps me find my own answers never.
My therapist encourages me to utilize other resources for healing sometimes.
I've made progress since I started therapy ...sometimes.
Things I like about my experience in therapy are that I feel less alone and I feel enlightened with knowledge and new coping skills.
Things I wish were different are that I wish my group were a sexual abuse survivors group.
I have not talked to my therapist about the abuse because she doesn't want to hear it, she only wants to talk about life skills. I have to talk about the abuse with the mental health team.
My therapist does know about the ways I hurt myself and put myself in danger.
The things I hurt myself are: binge drinking, smoking marijuana everyday, cutting, suicide attempts, not eating, eating too much, drunk sexual encounters, punch walls, run away from situations, avoidance behaviour, burn myself, violent to others.
I keep secrets about my sexual feelings from my therapist and my fantasies.
I don't know what would make it possible to talk about these secrets, probably more trust and reassurance.
My attitudes towards therapy come from my experiences and my fears.
I am not yet satisfied with my experience in therapy, I want more out of it but know I need to be patient.
I want to consider extra counselling and take steps to overcome the sexual feelings I have for my dad.

3i) Reflections:

I felt frustrated as I worked through the chapter and I also felt hopeless towards my healing.
I am feeling sexually excited and frustrated but also really depressed and sad, I find myself living in a fantasy world 247.
I feel 8 years old and I felt 8 years old all through that chapter.
It's hard for me to admit my feelings especially feelings I want to go away like the sexual ones. I am still confused about it and don't understand the sensations in my body and the feelings I have and beliefs.
I learnt that I need to really get some help for those issues before I can be in a healthy relationship.
I am proud that I am trying to heal and make something of myself.
The abuse is still unsettled for me, I want to concentrate on that and these feelings.
I need to relax and chill out and make sure I go to college and therapy and put in the work and effort if I want to stay out of crisis. I also need to phone the mental health team more for chats when I feel uneasy.



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