Web Counselling for Physical Trauma
Pre-Healing: Part One
Patient web counselling
After physical trauma web counselling is important because being able to assess your current situation – overall – and make a plan to move toward ‘the next stage’ is vital. Everyone involved in your care likely has their own goals for you, which is great but I can’t stress enough how important it is to know what ‘the next stage’ looks like for you as a person.
Recovery is different for everyone and ‘taking stock’ and making a plan is not only important but it will speed your overall recovery.
Web counselling is great because the newly traumatized patient needs ‘a person’ of their own, outside of the hospital and their regular visitors. If possible. The easiest and most affordable way of receiving counselling is by email or online video counselling.
Email counselling is available to you when you need it. Even in the middle of the night when you may well find yourself wide awake. Coaching, or web counselling, at this stage of your recovery helps you balance your overall treatments and recovery.
Caregiver web counselling:
Before a patient is able to benefit from web counselling however, it may be a very good idea for the primary caregiver to get some support for themselves with web counselling too.
This is a very important stage of healing, although often the patient and caregiver are in shock and unable to make a plan and organize their recovery. I can’t stress how important this stage is.
Web counselling benefits
Web counselling satisfies the areas of both Emotional Healing and Cognitive Healing as well as maximizing healing of the whole of you.
Web counselling starts to decrease that awful feeling of helplessness and address many of our needs including those in the categories of purpose, autonomy, awareness and interdependence. ConnectionCue cards are a fabulous tool at this stage as they help keep your awareness on all of your needs – which all need to be met in order for your to feel good.
Social worker and other help
Most hospitals have a social worker, which in itself can be a great help and I urge you to take advantage of it. On its own, social work is often not enough but as a part of your plan it’s invaluable. Social work is most useful when you have brainstormed a list of questions with your other resources and need to find out what is available locally: your social worker can be your local resource.
At a time when you most need help – and often have the least idea of which way to turn – web counselling and contact with others, such as social workers, who have walked this difficult path before, is irreplaceable. They can set you on the first step, facing forwards.
Thirty-some years ago when I regained consciousness there was no internet, let alone web counselling. The information age had not yet arrived. I found myself having to rebuild my life from the ground up – including learning to feed myself and walk again – with the odd book for reference. That and my instinct. No-one suggested counselling or a coach, which would have been the most amazing luxury. In all fairness I could barely speak at that time and in retrospect I can’t imagine how I started on the healing journey. Managing without that sort of help made every step much slower and harder, despite my stubbornness.
No-one had given much thought about what you might need to rebuild a life. In those days if you were in that serious a state, you often didn’t make it.
If you find yourself in an unimaginable place, these pages are for you. You are not alone. Read how best to rebuild your life after serious trauma, physical or emotional. You’ll find answers, tools and real help here.
First, make sure that everything ‘urgent’ or life threatening has been taken care of. Generally our hospitals are second to none in an urgent care setting.
When you are no longer in that ‘acute stage’, Stage One – healing can begin!
Talking about your trauma helps providing that it feels helpful. Web counselling can be a great resource here. It used to be that you were almost forced to talk about what happened because it was thought that this was the only way you could recover from trauma. Today, however, if going back and talking about what happened is not comfortable and you don’t feel comfortable, don’t. The new neurobiology says forcing yourself to go back can be a source of re-traumatization. It is only useful if you feel it’s ‘right’. If you don’t want to talk, however, I do urge you to work with a counsellor anyway, just to relax. But I also urge you to be firm and stick to your guns.
It’s natural and very necessary to talk about our emotional physical trauma, which is why I suggest a web counsellor email package. I say ‘necessary’ because, at the end of the day, the greatest healing happens when you do. I’ve not only seen that, many times but I have also experienced it myself.
Don’t underestimate the need to go right into the eye of the storm and come out the other side.
Very Importantly: Know Yourself with NVC
ConnectionCue Cards Work.
I invite you to remember that, as adults, we are each responsible for every one of our own needs and emotions.
When we meet those needs, we feel comfortable and good. When we don’t…
ConnectionCue™ Cards are an invaluable and fun way to explore your needs. Knowing our needs – what makes us tick – is essential and really empowers us to take responsibility for ourselves. Which makes healing stronger. It also relieves our friends and family from worry about having to take responsibility for us.
Something to be aware of is the risk of ‘wearing out our welcome’ with friends and family. They have their own lives too and whilst this trauma may consume us, we allow it to consume them at our peril. Many good friends have been lost because the strain of supporting a friend who is constantly overwhelmed with their situation is simply too heavy a burden for them to carry.
Web Counselling for Physical Trauma
At this early stage I encourage you to start making an inventory of your situation and think of someone to take care of each of the 5 healing areas. Find someone ‘at the top’ too, to co-ordinate the work in each of these areas. This person could either be yourself or a relative, web counselling, friend, nurse or social worker. Make sure there is one person (usually yourself) in overall charge and at least one person heading up each of the 5 healing areas: Physical, Emotional, Financial, Cognitive and Social/Fun. Let these areas be quite separate from each other.
Every day work on something from each category – so all 5 different areas. Download the ReBuildingYou Blueprint or keep a simple journal, either in a notebook or on your computer, tablet or phone and make sure that each area is addressed.
Slowly your whole health, physical and emotional, will build.
Balanced Healing = the Only Real Healing
It’s really important to make sure that every area of healing – physical, financial, cognitive and fun – is taken care of as well as our emotional needs.
Denying the seriousness of your problem is very normal. Remember: ‘think twice, cut once’. To be successful you really do have to consider each area of healing.
What use is it to concentrate on physical healing in hospital only to find that your family is homeless because without your income the mortgage hasn’t been paid?
Or you have devoured everything there is to know about your condition but you are still in bed, head buried in the computer, and you can no longer walk.
Why Our Emotional Needs Are Greater Than You Can Imagine At This Time
These emotional needs are greater than you imagine, partly because they have been dulled by natural endorphins, or medication, and so are not so obvious. Web counselling and an email package is an economical way of addressing the very real need of re-connecting with yourself at a deep level.
Some first suggestions:
Survive and Rest
In emotional and physical trauma, adrenalin and the body keep going and the body’s drive to meet the trauma head-on and survive is remarkable. This is a time when physical pain is often naturally addressed and you feel wakeful and even jittery. Web counselling and email support can be really helpful here.
Make sure you are sure you are in safe hands (and that it’s safe to relax) and then use ‘your place’ and the breathing described above to slow down your reactions. You may also feel cold at this time and want extra blankets.
Once the trauma is resolved – sometimes not for a while – you will feel warmer and sleepy. At this stage, a parent, partner or close friend needs to be looking out for you at this early stage.
If your trauma was ‘planned’, i.e. surgery, you may have planned for a friend to be monitoring your wellbeing.
After the initial surge of adrenalin – sometimes lasting weeks – you may be exhausted. Sometimes much of the days (even weeks or months) after the trauma is resolved, are spent sleeping much more than usual.
Good Nutrition and Protein
The body must rebuild itself after both emotional and physical trauma and a diet high in protein and vegetables and low in simple carbohydrates is important. It’s often difficult to get the nutrition we need from hospital food and the protein supplement shakes you get in hospital are far from ideal. One brand of shake that is not only delicious but is organic, non GMO, complete with enzymes and probiotics and supported by excellent customer service is Dr Keith’s Own. An excellent general multi-vitamin, probiotics (if you’ve had antibiotics) and enzymes are also important although we’ll talk about other mineral vitamin and supplements in a later post.
Emotional Trauma – Web Counselling
Before you can move on: say goodbye to the past. In hospital there is always a hospital chaplain and/or a social worker who will sit and talk with you. You can also use a web counsellor – all you need is internet!
It is a good idea to care for friends and family, who may be taking on extra duties to help out anyway, by avoiding too much talk about your trauma. You may be surprised at how much you need to talk about it. This is very normal. If you can, find a web counsellor or peer counsellor. Keep talk about your trauma ‘compartmentalized’, only talking to your counsellor or to a friend for a short time, rather than talking about it for too long. Striking a balance between talking about the trauma and allowing yourself to be distracted – perhaps even laughing and talking about what else is going on in the world – is important. Emotional recovery is imperative, even for a simple physical injury when you may not realize there is emotional pain too but so is orienting yourself to the outside world.
Emotions are all valuable – whether it be anger or kindness. Each outburst of anger is likely protecting a tender hurt part of you. Whether your trauma is physical or emotional, all recovery includes emotional work to regain your sparkle.
Maybe the ‘good reason’ that stimulated a certain behaviour in the past is no longer such a good idea now? Maybe you could better enjoy life without it? These are steps very much suited to Step 2 and I invite you to come and explore those patterns of behaviour with me on this trauma counselling services website. You will find tools here to support you to find those patterns in yourself and more tools and ideas to help you work through them, should you choose.
Every part of you, every characteristic, developed for a ‘good reason’, often following trauma. These characteristics grew, controlled by your ‘survivor’ (more about that later), in order that the whole of you, as an ‘organism’, could survive. It must have worked because here you are.
Exercise – as Best You Can
Exercise in the fresh air is essential. Sometimes a few steps are all you can do to get out on to your balcony and sit there for a little while. Even sitting on a chair can be quite tiring after being in bed. If possible, go for a walk, preferably in nature. The exercise of Pilates was originally created especially for those in bed.
Ultimately work out at the gym or take yoga, pilates, dancing, aerobics /jazzercise / zumba, play catch with your kids, have a rebounder (small trampoline) in your house, walk on the beach… Our bodies were never meant to sit or lie down all day – our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and walked 10 miles a day – and any exercise is good!
Clean Water and Air
Mostly in the west we take clean air and water for granted but in consideration of a body that is healing from emotional or physical trauma we should ensure a good supply of both is available. Instinctively I found I wanted to support my body as much as I could and an excellent air purifier and a simple water filter help. Remember, the body has been sucker-punched and if it is to rebuild then the more we can make its environment good, the better it will be able to heal.
Sleep, Rest and Meditation
Rest is incredibly important. One of the first things my body did in order to survive physical trauma was to shut down every activity that wasn’t ‘essential’ – including being awake – so that it concentrate on surviving. I was in a coma for several weeks and sometimes hospitals induce a coma for that reason.
After traumatic emotional news, there is an immediate wakefulness and inability to rest while the body searches for any chance of resolving the trauma. After resolution, this is followed by a period of exhaustion and a need to rest, eat well and exercise, with plenty of fresh water and clean air.
Meditation is fabulous and does not always have to be ‘monastic’. Headphones playing soft music with binaural beats are excellent.
Social Healing / Fun / Laughter
Finding a little time each day to visit with a friend, laugh at a daily joke, take laughter yoga, watch a favourite TV show, take a bath with lovely smelling bath salts and candles, enjoy supper with a loved one… There are so many possibilities! Many activities can include a little socializing, particularly dance. Schedule pleasure into your day, whatever your trauma.
And very important: note with words what you are doing and how you are addressing your needs. The brain and mind are interesting and ‘think about’, ‘do’, ‘speak’ and ‘hear’ are each in different parts of the brain. As you do something nice – or perhaps necessary – for yourself, think about it and note it, perhaps out loud. Maybe write it down under the correct ‘5 area heading’. Mirrors so that you can see ‘someone’ – yourself! – acknowledging what you’ve done is a great idea.
Cognitive Healing – Learn About Your Condition
If you have ready access to the internet, go online – or find a book – to help you learn about your condition. Try and understand what has happened to you and what your options are. The more you can learn and read, the better. Reduce those horrible – lethal – feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by finding our all you can about your condition.
Reading, looking at books, playing cards, simple mental math, counting backwards, reading simple maps and dancing (where you have to remember the steps) are great exercise for the brain too. If your injury has included your brain, such activities are vital. ReBuildingYou has also published the very first workbook for adult survivors of brain injury, stroke and chemobrain and this is beyond helpful.
Financial Healing – Put Your Finances in Hands You Trust
Take advantage of your hospital social worker, a financial planner, your account manager at the local bank, your social welfare officer or just a details-oriented friend to help you list out your assets and obligations and ascertain that you have sufficient income to carry you through this healing period. Allow for longer than you think you may need to recover.
Balanced Healing = the Only Real Healing
Attending to each of these 5 areas at the same time will save you countless hours of frustration. I would work so hard in one area, only to find that my healing wasn’t balanced and a) didn’t feel good and b) didn’t maintain. For example I would realize that I hadn’t exercised for days and so put all my attention on exercise and overdo it. Then I would spend a few days recovering and then realize that I had lost all of the gains I had made in the other areas. In cases of brain injury (including stroke and chemotherapy) we have a tendency to over-concentrate and not look at ‘the bigger picture’. Our resilience is also compromised so it’s really important to have a ‘coach’ – or a web counsellor – who can ensure that you work equally in each area.
This first ‘pre-healing’ stage can last anywhere from a week to a year or longer. Even in this very first phase, when you are still quite sick, balance is essential. Best not to rush healing. Soon enough you will be ready for the next phase!
Wishing you warmth and perseverance and I look forward to meeting you on the next page!