Healing Support Circle :: Fall 2019

Registration is now open with group beginning Saturday September 7, 2019

I’m excited to ANNOUNCE that registration is now open for the Fall 2019 session of Healing Support Circle for women, trans femme, and nonbinary femme folks who have or are experiencing psychological and/or religious abuse.

This therapy group is 12 weeks and meets on Saturday mornings from 10:30am -12:20pm beginning Saturday 9/7/2019 and ending on Saturday 11/23/2019 (before Thanksgiving Holiday).

There is a fee for this group experience which can be paid in weekly installments of $65 or can be paid in full at a discounted rate of $750 at the time of registration/by September 1st. Fee includes: initial intake screening, 24 hours of group therapy; journal; 1 copy of the book Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas, LCSW; creative materials; and light refreshments during each session.

There are only 5 seats open each session, so sign-up today! For more information and to register, contact me at Jennifer@aspacetothrive.com.

The Personal, The Political, and The Therapy Couch

I often hear from clients as they sheepishly disclose some bit of political information or opinion that, “I know I’m not supposed to bring up politics in therapy but…” and I’m not entirely sure where that “rule” came from, but I don’t follow it.

I follow my legal and ethical duties to not impose any beliefs or values of my own upon my clients, but it is an absolute truth that politics effect our health and well-being–physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

For many of us, what happens in the political realm plays a significant role in our day-to-day lives whether it regards access to health care, access to restrooms, access to rights and liberties, access to jobs, access to education, access to a safe and satisfying life. So therapy is absolutely an appropriate place to discuss politics and social issues because they play such a big part in either contributing to, or depleting our mental health.

The chronic stress of having bodies regulated; of hair styles discriminated; of skin color targeted; of beliefs vilified; of wages unlivable; of identity erased; and so on can and often does result in symptoms of trauma and cPTSD.

“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” ― Audre Lorde

What is EMDR?!?

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – Therapy is an evidence-based protocol for addressing a number of mental health issues, including:

Complex Trauma & cPTSD

Single-incident Trauma

Grief & Loss

Socio-political Trauma: racism, misogyny, ableism, queer/transphobia, identity discrimination, micro-aggressions, etc

Stress

Depression

Sleep Disturbance

Pain

Anxiety

Family Relationships

Workplace Stressors

Goals and Habits

Personal & Professional Performance

EMDR therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in 1989 and has been a widely researched, affirmed, and evidence-based psychotherapy practice since.  The International Association of EMDR defines this therapy as,

“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, successful outcomes are well-documented in the literature for EMDR treatment of other psychiatric disorders, mental health problems, and somatic symptoms. The model on which EMDR is based, Adaptive Information Processing (AIP), posits that much of psychopathology is due to the maladaptive encoding of and/or incomplete processing of traumatic or disturbing adverse life experiences. This impairs the client’s ability to integrate these experiences in an adaptive manner. The eightphase, three-pronged process of EMDR facilitates the resumption of normal information processing and integration. This treatment approach, which targets past experience, current triggers, and future potential challenges, results in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, a decrease or elimination of distress from the disturbing memory, improved view of the
self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.” ~ EMDRIA.org

I like to think of EMDR as harnessing the brain’s and body’s natural system for healing itself through the processing of information (thoughts, memories, images, beliefs).  Through bilateral stimulation (eye movements or hand-held pulsers [think cell phone vibration]), an EMDR therapist guides a client through processing one target (incident, event, memory, troubling issue) at a time until that target no longer presents any disturbance (emotional or physical) to the client.  As a clinician who has used various interventions and therapy approaches to address trauma over the past 10+ years I have been in practice, I find EMDR to be one of the most efficient and thorough methods for addressing the emotional and physical disturbances present with trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, and loss.  Talk therapy is an important companion along side EMDR in order to lay a foundation of rapport between therapist and client, to address the restoration of person/identity, to cultivate resilience practices, and to learn and understand interpersonal dynamics and behavior patterns.

To learn more, or schedule an intake session, please contact Jennifer at 210-382-4155 or jennifer@aspacetothrive.com

EMDR FAQs

  • How long is an EMDR session?
    • I like to schedule 90 minutes to 2 hours per EMDR session so we have enough time for the process, debriefing, and containment
  • How much does an EMDR session cost?
    • There is no additional fee for EMDR therapy.  The same fees apply per therapy hour: 90min session is $200; 2 hour session is $270
  • How do I care for myself after an EMDR session?
    • We will talk about how to journal or log the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and triggers that come up for you after an EMDR session so you have a place to process between sessions
    • I always recommend extra nurturing self-care practices after session:
      • Drink plenty of water
      • Take a nap if needed
      • Eat a meal that includes protein and fresh produce
      • Be kind to yourself
      • Be gentle with your schedule/demands
  • When should I schedule an EMDR session?
    • When and where possible, I encourage clients to schedule EMDR sessions toward the end of the day, and/or end of the week so you have some down-time to rest
    • Some people have no problem going back to work or class after an EMDR session, some people prefer to not have to be “on” after a session
    • You know yourself best and you will also learn what works and what doesn’t after your first few sessions
  • What should I wear to an EMDR session?
    • There is no special recommendation for how to dress for EMDR session.  I’m always a big fan of comfort-wear!  My clients are always free to kick off shoes and curl up on the couch, or prop feet up on the ottoman…my office is a space to get/be comfortable.
  • How many sessions of EMDR do I need?
    • While there is no “one-size-fits-all” prescription for therapy sessions, many clients find they can move through their targets in 4-8 EMDR sessions.  It all depends on you, your goals, and your needs.
    • Once targets are cleared, a client may want to continue with talk therapy to address other areas such as:
      • communication
      • intimacy and connection
      • restoration of self
      • interpersonal relationships
      • coping and resiliency maintenance
  • I have other questions that weren’t addressed here.
    • I’d be happy to talk with you for a free 20 minute consultation to answer any questions and to see if EMDR therapy may be a useful process for you in your healing and recovery journey.  To set up a consultation appointment click here, or call Jennifer at 210-382-4155 or email her at: jennifer@aspacetothrive.com.

Upcoming Healing Support Circle Sessions 2018

A Space to Thrive offers 2 sessions of our 12-week Healing Support Circle (HSC) each year.  Session I is offered in the Spring (January-March) and Session II is offered in the Fall (September – November).  Click here to register in FULL or to schedule a HSC INITIAL INTAKE only.  This circle is open to women, femme, and nonbinary individuals.

HSC Fall 2018

Saturdays from 10:30am-12:30pm on the following dates*
September: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
October: 6, 13, 20, 27
November: 3, 10, 17

HSC Spring 2019

Saturdays from 10:30am-12:30pm on the following dates*
January: 12, 19, 26
February: 2, 29, 16, 23
March: 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Fees for Healing Support Circle

  • $550.00 if paid in full before the session begins and includes an 80min individual intake assessment session; the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse,”; a journal; light refreshments at each circle; and all the creative materials used throughout the session.
  • $65 for initial intake session / $50/week pay-as-you-go fee option and includes an 80min individual intake assessment session; the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse,”; a journal; light refreshments at each circle; and all the creative materials used throughout the session.  Clients who opt for this fee plan are still responsible to pay for each of the 12 weeks in the session whether or not you attend circle that week. 

Click here to register in FULL or to schedule a HSC INITIAL INTAKE only.

*Dates are subject to change based on therapist’s schedule; clients will be notified in advance of schedule changes and a make-up session will be scheduled.  Changes may occur due to personal or professional time away from the office.

Each session runs weekly for 12-weeks and generally meets on Saturdays from 10:30am – 12:30pm.  **If there is enough of an interest (minimum 4 clients) for a weekly evening group, one will be made available.  If you are not free on Saturdays but would like to participate, please contact Jennifer at: jennifer@aspacetothrive.com or 210-382-4155.**

On Making Space

Letting go doesn’t leave me empty, it leaves me open.

19 years ago, I was living in a housing unit that burned down and I lost all my material possessions from that time and a good chunk of memories from my life before.  Six months later, I buried three of my foster kiddos who were killed in a car accident while skipping school and out joy-riding.  I was reeling from the losses and while of course the loss of life far outweighs the loss of stuff…there’s always material stuff the Red Cross voucher can never replace.

Without knowing it, I cultivated a habit of holding on…to things, to people, to memories…long after it was healthy for me.  Loss can do that, inspire us to hold tight, as though we have any control over not losing anything precious ever again.

I’ve learned that I can gather things I hold dear close to me, even things that mean very little, in the hopes of warding off loss.  But I can’t control that.  I’ve been learning to hold space for that truth.  And learning to let go.

As I stand in my home today surrounded by piles of things I’m sorting through to take to the thrift store, or to the trash, a flood of feelings washes over me.  There is lingering grief for what never was; grief over what will never be again; grief for the self I was and am no longer.

And even in the midst of the grief and the challenge it is to let some things go, I also feel relief.  The burden of dragging all this stuff around with me for almost two decades as I moved back and forth across the country, it’s wearing on me.  I’m tired of schlepping around all this weight.

And I want to make space to welcome new possibilities into my life. 

So, this is a huge step in my trauma recovery and wellness maintenance.  I am grateful to arrive at and celebrate the moments of movement in the direction of thriving.  I share this with you for several reasons:

  1. Therapists are humans who have things to heal and recover from too.  I’m walking this path, doing this work too;
  2. If you struggle with these things, you’re not alone;
  3. If clutter and grief and trauma and depression and anxiety are all piling up in your life, let’s have a conversation. We can sort through it together.  Let’s face the heap together.

 

Contact Jennifer at: 210-382-4155 or jennifer@aspacetothrive.com

Boundaries Bootcamp

Boundaries Bootcamp is a 6-hour coaching package offered in 3, 2-hour sessions designed to boost an person’s ability to identify where they need boundary boosters in their life; practical tools to use at work, at home, and socially; and troubleshooting obstacles to sustaining healthy, resilient boundaries around time, talents, body, money, emotional energy, and more.

Session I (2 hours)

Boundary Basics

Session II (2 hours)

Breaking Free from “Shoulds”

Session III (2 hours)

Strategies for Sustainability

This package is offered as an individual coaching service and does not address clinical issues regarding boundaries, trauma, or family systems.  During the initial assessment, if I determine this program is not the best fit for you, she will discuss that at the beginning and work together with you to come up with a service plan that will meet your needs.

FEE:
Boundaries Bootcamp is available per person for $700 full package registration or at $270 per 2-hour session pre-pay each session (for a total of $810 for the full package).

 

Contact Jennifer at 210-382-4155 or jennifer@aspacetothrive.com to book your Boundaries Bootcamp sessions today!

Tools: Self-Compassion Deck

I got this new deck of #SelfCompassion cards by Chris Willard, PsyD; Mitch Abblett, PhD; and Tim Desmond, LMFT that I’ve been using in my office. At the end of sessions, I fan out the cards and have a client pick one. I make a copy or they take a picture of that card and then that is their homework: to practice, to journal about, to process that self-compassionate action.

Today: Nourish your joy! Give yourself 3-5 moments of laughter, of sparkly-eyed wonder, of playful delight.

One of my favorite go-to resources for nourishing my joy is looking at photos or videos of people making art–in every form & medium. It reminds me of the powerful good that people are capable of. Personally and professionally, I am keenly aware of some people’s ability to destroy, to be cruel; giving myself time to create and seeing others create, restores some balance and nourishes my joy.

What nourishes your joy?

[taking up space]

don’t be so humble

with your whispering ways
and sotto vocce
give sound to your story
give volume to your voice
the world cannot learn
all you have to teach
when you remain quiet

don’t be so humble

shrinking, shriveling
wilting into corners and
shadow sidelines
there is ample room
for the breadth
and depths
of the whole of you

don’t be so humble

with your: “it was nothings”
apologies
and deflected compliments
we need the light
that adorns you
when you own your own shine

don’t be so humble

presenting your ideas as questions
diminishing your innovations
with “justs” and “I’m not sures”
the lack of others’ vision
does not dim your insight
speak up!

don’t be so humble

your place
is wherever gives you life
nourishes joy
satisfies your purpose
your place is rooted deep
stand grounded
unmoved by thundering “shoulds”

don’t be so humble

“survivors are strong as hell”
you have stared down the devil itself
and lived to poem about it
you have endured loss
you have overcome horrors
you have cheated the despair that
threatens daily to consume you

don’t be so humble

feeling guilty for laughing
for savoring the voluptuous harvest
of your aching labors
for receiving dancing goodness
and leaping life
after decades of death

don’t be so humble

your hunching small
serves no one
breathe wide into the expanse
of your spectacular being
let your resilient self-love stretch
to the far reaches of your
fingertips open
face upturned
bask
in the brilliance of your becoming

 

~j. alumbaugh

Israelite Tango [Guest Blog]

#ThrivingThoughts Guest Blog invites you to hear the vibrant and diverse voices from across our community far and wide.  Each month this space will feature writers across a myriad of fields, professions, disciplines, and practices sharing insights, reflections, challenges, and inspiration.  If you read something that stirs you to thought or action, please let that writer know.  #TogetherWeThrive!

by: Erica Lea

I have something kind of personal I think I need to share with you today. I feel kind of shy about it, but we have known each other for a while now. I think you can handle it. Ready? I love ballroom dancing. It’s true!

I know I have previously shared with you my love for square dancing which is its own quirkiness I carry from my Texas roots. I also love ballroom dancing. I have been known to watch YouTube videos of Dancing with the Stars like a football coach reviewing last week’s game footage.

I first tried a few different types of swing & ballroom dancing with a few friends during seminary. I’m not particularly good, but I enjoy it. There is nothing more elegant than a well-executed waltz. There is nothing more seductive than a well-executed tango.

The power of dance is sharing a story by showing rather than telling. The story of tango is often one partner pursuing & the other partner flirtatiously resisting, with flirty eyelashes- they banter & flirt back & forth.

This showing rather than telling, & pursuing & resisting is at the heart of today’s story from Exodus. Recall earlier in this narrative baby Moses is put in a basket on the Nile with a hope & prayer from his mother, Jochebed, & his sister, Miriam, during a time of Hebrew or Israelite [I’m going to use those names interchangeably] slavery & infanticide in Egypt.

If you have seen the animated movie, The Prince of Egypt, recall the opening scene panning between the slaves suffering & Jochebed running in & out of shadowy alleys with baby Moses. The song gives me chills every time, Deliver Us by Stephen Schwartz:

The Hebrew men struggle in the heat, shouting Mud! Sand! Water! Straw!
The Egyptian slave master shouts Faster!
Mud – and lift! Sand – and pull! Water – and raise up! Straw!
Faster!
[back & forth]

With the sting of the whip on my shoulder
With the salt of my sweat on my brow
Elohim, God on high
Can you hear your people cry?

Deliver us
Hear our call, deliver us
Lord of all, remember us
Here in this burning sand

Deliver us
Hear our prayer
Deliver us
From despair

These years of slavery grow
Too cruel to stand
Deliver us
Send a shepherd to shepherd us
And deliver us to the Promised Land

It is no wonder that this passage from Exodus & larger narrative of dying slaves becoming free from their cruel slave masters intimately connects with African-Americans & Black Liberation Theology in particular, in addition to & in historically somewhat different ways Latin American Liberation Theology, Palestinian Liberation Theology, Queer Liberation Theology, & even others. Individuals in these groups have long cried out, “how long, O Lord? Deliver us!”

An important form of resistance & storytelling for Black slaves in America was through song. It is no coincidence that Harriet Tubman’s nickname or code name was Moses. Legend has it that she would sing Go Down Moses at different tempos as a code to indicate if it was safe or dangerous for slaves seeking freedom to proceed on the Underground Railroad .

Dance, in addition to song, has historically been a form of resistance for members of the larger African diaspora. In fact, tango has both African & European roots. Some scholars see tango as an evolution of candombe, a ceremony performed by former slaves. The word “tango” used to refer to gatherings of slaves in Argentina that included music & dancing. Naturally the colonial authorities attempted to shutdown & ban these types of gatherings in the late 1700s, recognizing the “danger” of people gathering together, resisting through art & community .

There is power in pursuing, resisting, & coming together.

As the Hebrew slaves continued to cry out, Moses is drawn into God’s presence after fleeing Egypt, that Divine presence described as a fire that did not consume. Moses & God tango, pursuing & resisting, about God calling Moses to return to Egypt in order to pursue Pharaoh, with full expectation that Pharaoh will resist releasing the Hebrews from slavery.

Spoiler alert- Pharaoh does resist!

After a showdown, or tango if you will, with Pharaoh’s high priests, the text attributes 10 plagues to the power of God. This is a not so gentle reminder of the God of the Hebrews as supreme, as the God who created & continues to create.

Each year during Passover Seder, that sacred meal our Jewish friends observe during the spring festival, their liturgy invites all participates to dip a finger in a cup of wine or grape juice & release a drop as each of the plagues is recounted:
1. Blood
2. Frogs
3. Lice or gnats
4. Flies
5. Diseased livestock
6. Boils
7. Hail
8. Locusts
9. Darkness
10. Killing of the firstborn

In contemporary Haggadim, or Passover liturgy, contemporary plagues are lamented:
1. Warfare
2. Xenophobia
3. Size-ism
4. AIDS
5. Prison industrial complex
6. Hurricanes & earthquakes
7. White supremacy
8. Elitist models of healthcare
9. Rape culture
10. Colonialism
And the list goes on…

It is not until we recognize trauma for what it is, until we count our traumas, that we can be healed.  It is not until we see & touch our individual & collective traumas that we can pull them close & tango with them- pursuing & resisting.

In ASL, the sign for trauma is like a scratch on one’s forehead. Try it. It is kind of like J.K. Rowling’s character, Harry Potter, who bore a lightning bolt scar on his forehead as a sign of the trauma he survived as a baby. When you look in the mirror, you may or may not see a scar. When you look in the faces of people around you, you may or may not see their scars. That doesn’t mean the scars aren’t there.

We all have wounds & scars. Some are deeper or intensively impacting. I invite you to count your scars so that you may be set free of them. This may require beginning or continuing to see a licensed professional counselor. This may require naming something that happened in your past you have never named before. This may require forgiving a deceased person & trusting there is peace between ya’ll. This may require an overhauled image of who God is to you. It is time to tango with wounds & trauma- pursuing healing & resisting avoidance.

Unresolved trauma magnifies the trauma like an infected, festering wound. Where can you find stitches & Neosporin? Maybe even mental or spiritual surgery?

God is our great healer. As the Hebrews cried out to God, they put faith in healing from the Divine source. Sometimes that Diving healing even comes from other people such as Moses, Aaron, & Miriam’s leading by Divine guidance.

As the Hebrews are released & finally making their way out of Egypt, approaching the Red Sea, or Sea of Reeds, depending on how that is translated, the text says an angel of God went before & behind the Israelites, surrounding them in a cloud. 14:21- Moses stretched out his hand & the Lord drove the sea back, creating dry ground. As they crossed, the Egyptians followed them. The text says “the sea returned to its normal depth & the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea.”

Can you imagine looking over your shoulder & seeing mass slaughter, hearing the screams of your oppressor like they used to hear you scream?  Perhaps you can imagine this because you have lived it. What did the Hebrews do? They rejoiced when they saw another person’s suffering!

I am of the perhaps unpopular opinion that this rejoicing & celebrating in the presence of the enemy’s genocide offered the Hebrews temporary relief, but compounded their trauma in the long run. They no longer tangoed- intense pursuing & resisting, they celebrated destruction.

It is tempting for us, survivors of varying levels & experiences of trauma, to do the same. To recite different Psalms of David, vengeance is the Lord’s & victory is mine, without recognizing that someone else near you or around the world may be praying the same text, hoping for your demise & destruction.

In our tangoing, our pursuing God’s justice & resisting human injustice, sometimes we take the wrong posture. A hallmark of tango is embrace. Open embrace- the lead & follow have space between their bodies, or close embrace- the lead & follow connect chest to chest such as in Argentine Tango, or connect in the upper thigh or hip area such as in International Tango. Tango- pursuing & resisting requires some type of embrace.

There is a teaching from the Talmud, the Rabbinical teachings, that goes like this:

The rabbi asks, “How do we know when the night is over and the day has arrived?”

One student replies: Rabbi, night is over and day arrives, when the only star seen is the sun.

Another student responds: Night is over and day arrives when you can see an animal in the field and determine if it belongs to you or to your neighbor.

“No,” says the Rabbi, “Night is over and day arrives when you can look into the face of the person beside you and you can see that they are your sibling. Night is over when you can see that you belong to each other. That you are one. Night has ended and day has arrived when you can see God in the face of the other.”

This is radical Good News that we are called to- not only wholeness for ourselves, but even restoration, justice, & wholeness for those individuals & systems who inflict trauma. This shift in posture makes God’s shalom possible.

A contemporary Haggadah, Passover liturgy for Seder, produced by the women’s program of the Jewish Community Center of the Upper West Side of Manhattan says this :

“As we ate our Pascal lambs that last night in Egypt the darkness was pierced with screams. Our door posts were protected by a sign of blood. But from the windows of the Egyptians rose an anguished cry: the death of the first-born.

Yah Sh’chinah [an appeal to God using a term associated with God’s feminine side] soften our hearts and the hearts of our enemies. Help us to dream new paths to freedom. So that the next sea-opening is not also a drowning; so that our singing is never again their wailing. So that our freedom leaves no one orphaned, childless, gasping for air.”

Perhaps the Hebrews could not help themselves. They suffered tremendously & for so long with waning faith. With each drop of sweat under the desert sun doing back breaking labor, their faith in God & the decency of humanity deteriorated along with their strength. I don’t blame them for dancing & celebrating. They were free! I get it.

I’ll close with this story:

On June 14, 2016 I attended my first Queer-friendly Dance Class sponsored by GLOE [the LGBTQ sub-community of the DC Jewish Community Center]. Recall the Pulse shootings in Orlando, Florida, that happened in the wee hours of June 12, 2016. The mood in the room at dance class was awkward. We were there to set aside gender roles, everyone learning to lead & follow, & to have fun. Maybe some people were there to pick up a date.  The last thing we felt like doing was dancing. It felt even disrespectful to be dancing at a time of so much suffering in our community & around the world.

I’ll never forget the class opening with greeting remarks from the director of GLOE, sharing a traditional Jewish teaching: When we hurt, we pray. When we are distraught, we sing. When we are devastated beyond imagination, we dance.

Calvary, wherever life has brought us & wherever life leads us, may we continue to pray, sing, & dance, pursuing, resisting, & coming together. Amen.

Invitation to Discipleship

The Hebrew word for Egypt is mitzrayim, meaning narrow place or constricted territory . For many LGBTQ people, being closeted is mitzrayim. Gender roles can be mitzrayim. The immigration system can be mitzrayim. Our image of God, the struggle to believe we are God’s beloved is mitzrayim- a limiting, a choking of love. This week consider areas of narrowness & struggle in your life & remember that people around you have their own mitzrayim too. Don’t limit forgiveness, healing. Don’t limit the ways you could see God at work, the ways you can experience Divine Love & Care.

________________________________
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman#Nicknamed_.22Moses.22
2. Giménez, Gustavo Javier (30 September 2010). “Expresiones músico-religiosas como mecanismos de legitimación cultural. El caso de la comunidad africana en Buenos Aires entre 1776-1852”
3. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-ten-plagues/
4. Tamara Cohen, The Journey Continues, 70
5. Rebecca Alpert, Queer Bible Commentary

 

Rev. Erica Lea is a graduate of San Jacinto College, Texas A&M, & Truett Theological Seminary. She has served congregations in Wyoming, Texas, and North Carolina. She has served as Pastor in Residence at the historic Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. since 2014. Beginning November 2017, Erica will serve as Pastor of Albuquerque Mennonite Church as the first out LGBTQ lead pastor in Mennonite Church USA. When not at church or serving the community, Erica enjoys cooking, walking, movies, traveling, and time with her sweetheart. Connect with Erica online: Twitter- @RevEricaLea; revericalea.org.

Trauma, Loss, and Clutter

Studies show that there’s a strong link between clutter (lots and lots of it) in the home and experiences of profound loss and/or trauma.  This morning my trunk is loaded with the first pile (of many) of items for the thrift store. I also filled a large city trash bin last night.

It may seem insignificant to many, but to me, this is a photo of hope. A vital sign of healing.  When you get the right combo of therapist, medicine, creative process, and resilience; and you put in the time and the tears and the work…coming back from the dead sometimes looks like 3 weeks solid of doing dishes and putting them away.

SURVIVOR LOVE NOTE: If you have overwhelming clutter in your home space, you are not alone. You are not a failure. It’s a scar from what happened to you. THERE IS HOPE!  As you address the trauma in therapy, you will begin to address the clutter in time. *Don’t start with the clutter* it will only paralyze you. The shame is real and deep, and, it isn’t yours to keep.

~coming back from the dead doesn’t happen all at once

 

Jennifer Alumbaugh, LMFT is the owner and lead therapist at A Space to Thrive.  As a survivor of complex trauma she believes in the value of her transparency around her own healing, recovery, and thriving maintenance process.  We’re all human–yes! even your therapists.  Just because we have information and resources on healing and recovery does not inoculate us against the wounds of trauma, abuse, and the actions of others.  She shares her #TransparentTherapist blogs in an effort to destigmatize mental health issues, trauma recovery, and being in a perpetual process of becoming.  Jennifer believes that her own continued therapy and wellness maintenance are a matter of ethical responsibility to her clients and her community–it is a kind of accountability for her own self-compassion and self-care practices.