Here’s the closest I’ve seen to a review of the Plural Positivity Conference. Interesting perspective.
End of group (check in before we end):
Me: “I think I did pretty good tonight. I was grounded. I was able to hear everyone’s feedback and give my own input. If I’m being honest though,” I take in a deep breath because I’m afraid of what is going to happen next, “I became internally aware we must be ending group, and I started having a lot of self-harm urges.”
K. gave us props for being honest. She moved on to the rest of the group members. She checked in on everyone’s safety plans for the night, then she came to me last. “Nel, you’re staying for a second right? And when I say second, I don’t mean it literally.”
Meg sighs. “Sure. But we’re gonna try to get it as close to literal as we can.”
It was an extra 25 minutes. Could have been worse.
It was weird, though. She asked trickery questions to discover just how much passive influence/vying for control was going on. Then, she pulled out some really shocking grounding.
Grounding example: She blows out a candle that has been burning all group. She asks me if I know what’s different about the candle? Looks like a regular off-white candle. Barely any scent. No, I have no idea what’s different.
“It’s not wax.” She points at the melted liquid around the wick. “It’s hand lotion.”
I must have had the biggest WTF look on my face.
I touched it. She was right.
Just a quick update. I wanted to share something I came across. This is a recent article entitled Inside the Fragmented Minds of People with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
This is a really great read, and features some discussion from Dr. Loewenstein (Medical Director/Founder of the Trauma Disorders Unit at Sheppard Pratt.
Here is a link to my discussion about the article on Reddit.
So I took some of yous advice after my last post. Was I going too fast in recovery? This was something K. had asked me, but I disregarded her. So, when I got the feedback from here as well, I thought and stopped.
Guys, the work we do is hard, to say the least. Sometimes one of the most healing things we can do is give ourselves something nobody ever gave us: empathy!
I think I’m just so used to listening to that inner voice that is so critical, that I forget there’s another voice that deserves to be heard.
Be safe all and do something fun tonight!
In years past, K., our therapist, ran an Advanced Trauma Support Group for clients she had been seeing for years and were well into the therapy process. Since it was an advanced group, conversations were deep, and we had to demonstrate effective use of coping skills both in and out of therapy. The group met for 2 hours once per month.
Since K.’s departure from the non-profit agency she used to work at, and the long year without K., our therapy has mostly been adjustment back to working with her and slowly getting back into trauma work.
With the start of a new year, K. offered the advanced group to us again. Without a second thought, I said yes. Then, as the group approached, my anxiety inched higher and higher and higher.
K. eventually said there would be 3-4 peers in the group. That’s all I knew. I arrived 10 minutes early last night but nobody else was there yet but K. We talked, casually, and I admitted I was anxious. She said that there would be 3 people tonight (including me), and all 3 of us knew each other already! A mixture of relief and curiosity washed over me. K. then told me a 4th person was going to be in the group, but she was sick, so I would see her next month. She wouldn’t tell me if I knew the 4th person or not.
As I was talking to K., in walks the next person to arrive. Horray! It is [Couch Buddy]! In K.’s old group, there were so many of us that we were all crammed in a small room together. [Couch Buddy] and I sat together on the only Loveseat/Couch in the room, and neither of us were comfortable sitting next to anyone, ever, so we sort of had an unspoken closeness.
We head into the group room. Now, this is K.’s office, all in her control to design. So there are multiple comfy couches. [Couch Buddy] and I got a whole couch to ourselves each!
Then, the 3rd member walks in, and it is [Kindred Spirit]. [Kindred Spirit] and I have a lot of things in common. She was in K.’s group for 2 years, but left unexpectedly due to family illness. I always wondered how she was doing, and I didn’t realize even though she left group, she had been seeing K. for individual therapy. She had gone through the loss just like the rest of us.
We spent most of the group catching each other up on the last year-ish of our lives. I talked about struggling with loss of K. and going back to Sheppard Pratt. There was a lot of sadness. We all had it really rough while K. was out of our lives for so long. At the end of group, K. says to us:
“I’m really sorry that things ended at [non-profit] the way they did. I had clinical and ethical disagreements with how counseling would be happening, and I couldn’t stay there. Four weeks was not enough time to close therapy. You were all in the middle of some tough trauma work, and therapy should never have ended so abruptly.” She paused. [Kindred Spirit] and I were quietly sniffling/crying. [Couch Buddy] looked distraught and frozen. K. continued, “Having therapy end in such a way is traumatizing. Knowing that, I am honored that you would choose to return to work with me. That choice of yours speaks volumes. Of the work you are committed to doing and your willingness to trust.”
A tough group, for sure. But I’m glad I’m back with some of the ladies.