5 years on – the story after trauma…

It was 5 years ago yesterday (2009) that I was involved in a road traffic accident… self-reflection
So not surprisingly, I have been quietly reflecting on all that has happened since.

If you have ever heard me talk about it or read my book After The Crash, you will know that one of the best things that was said to me in the few days after the crash, was a question from my brother.
He simply said “when you are through this, what do you want to come out of it?”
It was a brilliant thing to say on 2 counts – 1: in saying ‘when you are through this’ he acknowledged that there would be a healing journey to come and it was ok for me to be not there yet, and 2: helped me to have and articulate a positive vision for how to use this experience.
My answer was also 2 fold – 1: I want to be able to get in a car and drive again without thinking about it and 2: I want to be able to us this experience to help other people.

540_293_resize_20121201_f14f958c451db88c59c9099bdf8e4c91_jpgSo looking back over the last 5 years, these are some of the things that have happened.

1. I am driving easily again. It took time and BABY steps when I was ready to conquer each one: getting in a car, getting in the drivers seat, driving with support, driving on my own, driving at night, driving on dual carriage ways, driving on motorways, driving past lorries, driving to new places for the first time, driving on THE motor way, driving past the actual spot.
2. I have experienced first hand going through the ups and downs of being someone who was diagnosed with PTSD. I’ve learnt a lot!
I’ve learnt it is not a life sentence – unless you choose it to be.
I know there is hope. Traumatic experiences are about being faced with the possibility of death. Healing can bring you to a place where you are focused on life again.
Working with just words and talking will never get people free from the experience of trauma – it impacts the body first and foremost and the body remembers.

So what else has happened in these 5 years?

1. Being a sounding board for friends who knew they could ask me questions or advice for other friends who were involved with RTAs following mine.
2. Discovering TRE and becoming a qualified practitioner – equipped to help other people learn how to release trauma safely, become grounded and stabilize their nervous system, without having to talk about what happened.
3. Completing an MA, focusing research on working with Mums who have experienced multiple trauma. The impact this work can have indirectly on their children can be enormous!
4. Delivering training in schools to help staff begin to understand more about the children they are working with and how best to support them.
5. Gently, but professionally challenging mis-diagnosis for certain children who were referred to me for Play Therapy – GPs have agreed that it wasn’t ADHD but PTSD – inappropriate medications have been stopped.
6. Supporting parents to understand why their children are doing what they are doing…and how to respond from a place of empowered insight rather then bewilderment, frustration and fear.
7. Writing an Ebook that has been read by so many people – therapists, counselors teachers and Family Support workers, friends and family of people who’ve been through trauma (not just car crashes) as well as the survivors themselves, with some very touching feedback.
8. Spotting children in schools and out, who have been through trauma and recognising the language of their demeanor and behaviour, and explaining their language to those working with them daily.
9. Advising children’s homes in Morocco and Mongolia where trauma is a common factor for the whole community.

Hmmmm. Well, this was supposed to be a short post…

It is interesting really how I have quite surprised myself at all the things that have come out of the experience I went through that started 5 years ago. How easily we can forget….and how important it is to mark our milestones and acknowledge the good fruit even from a horrible experience. I think it is safe to say my second hope has happened as well… And still is.

It seemed really appropriate to spend the day yesterday with an entire staff team of a primary school in Birmingham, helping them understand the reality of trauma better… For the children, the whole school community and for themselves. So many of them came up to me through the day to have a quick chat 1:1. They have been through it too…

Trauma truly is a hidden epidemic. It is affecting lives, relationships, families, schools, health and potential. It’s impact can seem huge. But I still believe there is hope. It just needs each of us to get real, acknowledge what has happened, pursue our own healing journey and keep going. If any of this resonates with you, then let me leave you with that question too…

“When you are through this, what do you want to come out of it?”

More than Words

Wordle3Just a few of the words that flow through everything that CHEW Initiatives is about. The reason it exists … the vision and the values are all in there. Enjoy pondering them.
I have tried lots of times, but have to say it is impossible for me to consider these words and not be stirred, challenged, inspired… do let me know if you connect with them too.
If you want to find out a bit more about CHEW Initiatives then you can read more here.

LEARNING TRE

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The Best Way to Learn TRE…

…is by starting with an Initial Consultation session, which gives us both a chance to meet each other, and you have the opportunity to be taken through the TRE process so you will know what will happen in future, should you decide to continue.
Then, it is through a series of TRE 1:1 sessions. Most people opt for 3 introductory sessions, with the support and guidance of a qualified Certified TRE Practitioner.
These work best if they happen at least weekly. Sessions after this can happen in a more spread out pattern, at the agreement of you and your TRE Provider..
After this some people are equipped to continue on their own, whilst others choose to continue having a regular session with extra support from a qualified practitioner.

Who might benefit?

TRE is already used by street kids in South Africa, people in the military and armed forces, Olympic athletes, first response professionals (fire fighters, ambulance crews etc), other people with emotionally intense jobs (social workers, therapists etc), body-work professionals (chiropractors, sacro-cranial therapists etc), world-recognised neuroscientists, business executives, teachers, foster parents, youth workers, hair dressers… and anyone else who has a body!

Who will the sessions be with?

All the CHEW TRE sessions are currently with CHEW’s Clinical Director, Claire Wilson. Claire has been a big advocate of TRE ever since she found out about it, and more so since she trained in it. Infact, she chose it as the focus of her research for her Master Degree. She featured it as a great tool for people recovering from trauma in her book After the Crash. It’s no secret that she wishes she had known about TRE after her own car crash.  However, it’s never too late…and she now uses it at home, (and work too when the need arises) to release day-to-day tension from her body.
She is a qualified and Certified TRE Provider and uses her years of other therapeutic training and experience to ensure people stay safe and enjoy their sessions.

Where?

TRE sessions generally take place at a venue in Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands.
On occasion it may be possible to have the sessions in your own home (if you live locally) but this will increase the cost.

When?

Sessions can be arranged for daytime or evening.  Generally one session will last 60-75 mins.

What will happen?

  • an initial chat about your reasons for wanting to learn TRE
  • a conversation checking out and covering some physical safety basics
  • demonstration of the 6 exercises
  • support as you join in the exercises
  • support as you learn to experience your body’s natural stress release mechanism
  • time to allow the body to integrate the experience
  • chance to reflect on the experience and ask any remaining questions before you go
  • often people are given some ‘homework’ to try before next time too

The 6 exercises are designed to gently stretch and fatigue the core muscles that hold on to tension long term, and begin a natural process of releasing the stress in the muscles, the same way that animals have done instinctively for millennia.
Most people find this a great experience, and because they can stop the process at any time, are able to release tension (and if relevant, trauma too) in a very empowered way.

What should I wear?

Clothes you are comfortable in. Most people wear a tracksuit or leggins. We will take shoes off for the exercises.

How much does it cost?

That depends on you.
Initial Consultation Session can be booked at £70.
The following sessions can all be booked individually at a price of £60 per session*.
*For concessions and block booking rates please get in touch.
You will need to pay by cash at your session, or by direct transfer before your session. You will be given the details for this when you book for your initial session and receive the details of the venue.
 
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GIVING a Gift of TRE and all that it can mean to someone’s life and health, is a powerful gift to give.

Schools, parents, adult children are already among those who have given the gift of TRE to people they care about, for birthdays, significant occasions, or just because… Gifting someone TRE sessions can be an arrangement just between the 2 of you, or feel free to contact me.

Will I have to talk through my life history?

No. Primarily TRE is a non-talking, body-working way of getting rid of the lasting impact of the things we have been through.
Sometimes people choose to talk about things and that is fine. All sessions are totally confidential.

I am ready to book, how do I go about it?

Contact Claire through the CHEW CONTACT page, leave your relevant contact details, and a message to say when is the best time, and method to contact you, and Claire will get in touch with you to arrange booking your sessions via telephone or email.

Why I wrote ‘After The Crash – eBook’

There seem to be so many people out there who, like me, have been through the experience of a car crash and survived, but they don’t really know what to do in the first days, weeks or months to help themselves recover and heal their mind as well as body.

I believe that this is a major reason for a lot of post traumatic stress that people don’t even realise they have…yet it affects them, and those around them in all sorts of ways; moods, snappy, emotional, struggling to articulate what you mean, concentration, planning etc are just a few…

All of these are symptoms of stress that show the impact of the trauma is still sitting in the body, and it can still be there even after months or years.

People often feel like they are going mad, because they don’t understand the changes in them and their personality or ability.
The people living with them often start to wonder if their loved one is going mad too, because they don’t understand either…

Obviously not everyone who experiences a car accident will be like this – but it is amazing how many people I have spoken to, who really relate. It is actually very common – and not because of madness!

So I wrote After the Crash – eBook. I wanted to see if I could offer some practical help and encouragement to survivors and their friends, family and colleagues.  Obviously my professional therapeutic training fed into it – but I purposely kept it all really simple and easy to read. I remember what it was like trying to read something after my crash!
The feedback I have had already is just humbling – even people who know someone who had a crash years ago, now seem to be understanding what they went through in a whole new way.

If you want to check it out for yourself then you can buy the e-book here

 Buy now

After the Crash Book

After the Crash eBook

I just wanted to say how impressed I was with you ebook. I particularly like the way it is set out; small bite sized pieces of information – absolutely vital for those who have recently experienced trauma. I hope that one day your book will be given to everyone who presents at their GP or A&E Department after a car crash. Being given a copy of this book immediately following a collision might prevent years of unnecessary suffering.
Jan – Therapist, Supervisor, Life Coach, NLP Practitioner

Thank you so much for sharing this Claire. She (friend) burst into tears when she read it and said ‘someone really understands what she is going through’. You are an angel.
Clive – Firefighter

Thanks so much for taking the time to put all this together. Fantastic advice. I’m certain it will help my friend. Especially for all the hidden and underlying issues that you couldn’t hope to be aware of. Thank again.
S – Youth Worker

Thank you for everything… you’ve been the first person to take me seriously & understand. As you suggested I went to the GP and he signed me off for a week. I burst into tears when I sat down! My partner’s told me not to cry as it’s bad for me as it tenses me up…you get some idea of what I’m living with!! This ebook is going to help us both!!
C – Psychologist