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Now this is quite normal, everyone has a past and everyone has triggers of painful memories, so please don't think you are strange or weird. Everyone has strategies to cope, some strategies are useful and enhance life: like having supportive friendship and family networks, activities like jogging, archery or meditation. Other strategies like alcohol or drugs, aren't so useful, they usually create more problems that they solve in the short term.
Sometimes it's useful to go into the past in therapy, to cross into another dimension, to go to the events and rescue the 'younger self' that had that initial (and subsequent) experiences. We do this in a light relaxed state, nothing special, nothing too difficult or painful. In fact it is a relief to rescue yourself from the pain of the past.
Let me add that there are ways to do this and ways not to. A therapist who specialises in trauma therapy must have great insight and skill and this usually comes from personal experience, in doing therapy and then being properly mentored by a professional.
Let me walk you through my work with one of my patients and demonstrate how therapy can help heal the past.
One young man was bullied by his neighbours and the kids at school. On one occasion the neighbours let their dog attack him. His brothers looked on and laughed. He was betrayed by his brothers, the boy next door and the boy's father. Our hero is 6'4 and looks different. He was such an easy target for nasty kids, and kids can be very cruel. Thank the Gods and Goddesses we eventually grow up and make amends for all the nasty things we did in our childhood.
After a few sessions we had established a good rapport. He trusted me me enough to tell me some of the 'secrets' he'd kept inside, like rotten fruit, fermenting, constantly triggered by situations around him. He hated being tall and noticeable, he tried to shrink down in height so people wouldn't notice him. The resulting poor posture reminded him daily of how 'different' he felt.
In a light relaxed state, lying on the recliner in my clinic, I guided him to get in touch with his inner-self. After a few minutes he spoke in a little-boy voice - there was a small child inside who couldn't understand why people were so cruel to him.
This little boy lived inside his stomach. When stressed his stomach would knot, he would feel fear and nausea. This happened when meeting new people or talking to someone, anyone.
We had crossed dimensions to enter his deep psyche and now we could start to resolve one of his major problems: anxiety and its resulting nausea.
Over several session of talking to this little boy and explaining that he was not naughty, that he did nothing wrong to cause people to bully him, the nausea and anxiety began to ease. But then other personalities came out to talk to me, personalities who evolved to protect his fragile and vulnerable self.
I spent a lot of time explaining to these personalities that they did no wrong, it was the bullies who were cruel. Each personality would ask questions to seek an understanding of why they felt this way. There were several minor personalities who arose at times but they disappeared as they healed.
His homework was to train himself to relax, to meditate. I gave him my meditation CD's to guide him. He loved the 'castle' meditation where he had a dojo to train the inner boys in self defence. He created a whole supportive world, a sanctuary, at his fingertips when he closed his eyes.
One of his exercises was to rescue himself, to go into the past, into a memory and to go as he was today, 3rd person, older, wiser, stronger, and prepared to defend his younger self. He went to many, many events that caused so much later suffering. He would go and beat up the bullies, defend his younger self until there was no more fear. Eventually the bullies asked for forgiveness in his inner world.
At one session he told me he was woken by a dream, the cheering woke him up. He found himself witnessing his little self charging down a lane-way as a knight of old, lance in hand, knocking the bullies over left, right and centre, the crowd were cheering him.
He learned to relax, and so I taught him some tai chi meditation techniques which have done wonders for his posture and health. He now goes to the gym, plays soccer and basketball, is no longer afraid to challenge the ball when he plays. He is becoming recognised as an outstanding player.
One recent event stands out. While he was playing basketball one of the bullies of his childhood walked over to him and apologised for bullying him. This was validation of the hard work he was doing in his inner world.
He still has a long way to go to consolidate these changes, he still 'needs' a girlfriend, is yet to get a job, still throws tantrums when his mother tries to control his life (in a nice caring way as mothers do) and he could slide backwards if his stops doing his inner work. Consolidation is a necessary practice in any activity, practice makes perfect, and inner practice is just as important as outer practice.
This is just one example of crossing the 'time / space divide', there are many more examples out there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: NOEL EASTWOOD
Noel Eastwood (1955- ) is a psychologist and skilled astrologer, who has spent more than 30 years accompanying others on a healing spiritual journey to meet their inner selves. He was introduced to Taoist meditation and tai chi while at teachers' college in the 80's. This formed the basis not only for his teaching, but also for his work as a therapist after he earned his degree in psychology.
Noel studied astrology under Chris Turner, one of Australia's foremost astrologers, and started to receive clients in 1988. Currently, he is a practicing psychologist and astrologer in Australia.
Over the years, Noel has developed his own, unique blend of astrology, Jungian and Archetypal Psychology, Taoism, meditation and tarot - his great loves that continue to inspire and guide him as a therapist and in life.
Married, with three grown children and two grandchildren, Noel created Pluto's Cave to pass on his skills and knowledge to the next generation of astrologers and psychologists.
BOOKS BY NOEL EASTWOOD
It's Understandable that Art is Used as Therapy to Aid Recovery from Physical and Mental Trauma.
"Ryn Shell is an author and internationally successful award-winning fine artist. Her stories are timeless, her paintings are elegant and beyond fashion"