I deleted a thread in which I wrote about sexual abuse victims becoming survivors because I did not do full justice to this complex subject, and want to do that now.
In 21 years of successfully guiding sexual, emotional and physical abuse victims into healthy recovery, the word victim has always been a point of challenge. There is a strong movement to do away with the word, as many feel that the word itself is degrading and encourages a person to see themselves as weak. Others feel that the word can instill a sense of shame, deformity or stigma upon someone who needs more than anything to feel good about themselves.
I am deeply sensitive to this perspective. Indeed, I have engaged with many, many abuse clients who come in very unwilling to see themselves as victims even though they are in a lot of emotional pain and their lives and relationships are not working as well as they need to. Many have worked with therapists and counsellors who have discouraged them from seeing themselves this way in a well-intended effort to strengthen that person’s self-esteem, self-image and overall ability to function in their lives.
Yet they come to me because something is missing in their healing. They have heard from friends that I do a deeper level of work and that my clients achieve real healing. And what I am going to share with you is what I share with my clients.
Continue reading “Abuse Recovery: The Journey From Victim to Survivor”
The need to find emotional healing awakens in a simple truth: I am in pain.
When I meet a new client, sometimes they will say exactly that to me. “I am in a lot of pain in my relationship and I can’t resolve it. I need some help.” As they speak, their body is usually animating the pain for me in gestures and movement. Other times, a new client might talk all around and over their pain because they haven’t yet allowed themselves to feel their emotions, usually out of self-protection, and when I guide them inward to see that they are in pain, their body connects with the feelings, and that person starts to come into focus inside of what is really happening in their life.
However someone begins to feel this awareness in themselves – whether they are a mentally focused, tightly controlled person just starting to allow vulnerable emotions to move inside of them, or they are a deeply expressive emotional person waking up to a new level of feelings they didn’t know were in them, or they’re a person somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum of emotional self-expression – the emerging feeling that there is inner pain that needs relief is the place where everyone begins to seek healing.
Continue reading “What Is Emotional Healing, Part 1”
Over the years, I have met many spiritual people who want so much to be whole and free in their souls, and hope that there is a simple and painless pathway to get there – that there can be a transcendent practice or process that simplifies the many pains that we experience, and can ideally keep us in a kind of constant emotional/spiritual orgasmic flow of energy and light.
In my experience however, attempting to bypass emotional pain and dysfunction through spiritual practices only delays what needs healing inside of us, at best, and at worst can actually become a force of denial and suppression that creates more dysfunction. For me, spirituality is a space of intention in which our heart succeeds in holding intact what is truly sacred in life, while seeking to bring wholeness to those places in our lives where love has broken down or failed. To do this, the heart commitment inside of healthy spirituality must embrace and engage with what is wounded inside of us rather than attempt to avoid, transcend or escape it; healthy spirituality loves the whole person and doesn’t see emotions as a lower or lesser aspect of our selves.
Continue reading “Spirituality, Emotional Healing and the Four Goals of Doing Your Work”
For many years I have relied on word of mouth to share my work in the community, and a friend sharing a positive healing experience with another friend is one of the best ways to introduce someone to taking the step of going on their own emotional healing journey. Though people know me as Geoff, Breathwork Therapist and Life Coach, and know the work I do through their sessions, there has always been a structured program underlying our work that has only been described on my website, and not really in full detail.
So in the near future I will be publishing my book, Doing Your Work – The Pathway of the Whole Person, and that will guide you through all the dimensions of healing work that I offer as well as being linked into an online emotional learning center. For now though, I want to being sharing introductory information about Doing Your Work and offer people another way to get to know my work through online publishing and social networking. And the best way to do that is to answer the most common questions I am asked, either by new clients or through my website.
The most common question is, what is Doing Your Work – or emotional healing work -and where do I begin?
Continue reading “Doing Your Work – Taking the First Steps”
Over the last twenty years, I have assisted a number of people in getting off of anti-depression medications, and it is always a deeply moving experience when a person makes that transition successfully by doing their emotional recovery work and making real progress in healing the roots of their depression. And it always brings home the truth about recovery, which is that it is a humbling and liberating experience to allow yourself to go through the process.
A client recently completed a two week outpatient program to get off of medication and into a functioning emotional life. I assisted before and after those two weeks, and my client is doing well. Her success inspired me to share some thoughts with you about the challenges of recovery.
In looking at the process of emotional recovery that is the heart of any recovery – abandonment, abuse or addiction – the word recovery for me is literal: we need to recover the healthy choices that were lost in our families and relationships, like being able to feel our emotions and communicate them safely. Or the choice to not have to internalize other people’s emotions as a way to try to feel safe with them. We need to recover our personal space in which we can prioritize what we need and build our life around that freedom of choice.
Continue reading “What Is Recovery”
It is the beginning of February, and I have had more than a few inquiries as to the progress of the book.
As mentioned in the last post, I completed the first draft at the end of November, and it is everything I intended it to be. And then, because this is real life, that success awakened a new and essential process for me to go through that has added a wonderful new dimension to the what the book is focused on, and breathed new life into the value of what the book will offer.
The entire month of December became a very focused and fairly intense journey into the healing power of empathy, as one client after another needed support in making a crucial shift in their lives by embracing a new depth of empathy for themselves, or for another.
It seems no accident that at the same time, various writers in different social spheres, especially politics, were focusing on empathy as the crucial human quality needed to transform the current polarized impasse in American culture.
Continue reading “2010 – The Year of Empathy – 2/1/10”
Welcome to the Doing Your Work weblog. I am an Integrative Breathwork Facilitator and Life Skills Coach with 21 years of experience, and will be writing here about the complex, challenging and beautiful process of emotional and spiritual healing.
Why the name Doing Your Work? Because when one begins to confront a life that isn’t working as well as it needs to, when you undertake the journey into reactive emotions and stuck patterns, when learning to respond to your own experience at a whole new level becomes a deep necessity — it is a challenge. It takes work to get to the core of where our wounded self is waiting inside for us to find them, respond to them and nurture them.
So many people wish that there was a quick and easy one-shot thing they could do to be a whole and happy person. And the truth is that real emotional and spiritual healing is a lifelong path, an acceptance of a commitment to being conscious and always willing to work on things that come up in our lives. Continue reading “The Doing Your Work Blog Begins – 2/14/08”