The Therapist Within A blog about the process of psychotherapy and finding answers to life's problems with Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar. 2016-08-18T01:20:29Z https://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/feed/atom/ Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Stopping Suicide: How Your Words Can Save Lives]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3631 2016-03-09T12:02:29Z 2016-03-09T12:02:29Z cemetary bloomI took this photo in my local cemetery last week – a poignant spot in this beautiful little town with a big and broken heart…

For we’ve had five suicides here in our Valley over the last couple of weeks, alone. Two of those were our young people. And several more of our community died by suicide this last year. It’s a lot for a small community to carry…

Life is fairly quiet, here. Slower than in cities. And so many people are woven tightly into the community’s cloth. So when someone dies, especially by suicide, you can really feel the fray. There’s nowhere for it to hide.

And when it keeps happening, and the sorrow keeps spreading, and the list of loved ones keeps growing, it can start to sound like a bell tolling out the question on everyone’s minds: “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

And of course, there are no answers. Or, at least, none that will ever be big enough or complete enough to ever really understand each person’s unique grief and pain that led them to their final decision…

And we’re not alone. Some newly-released ABS statistics that show Australia’s suicide rate went up over 13% between 2013 to 2014. And, tragically, as Stan Grant notes here, ABS statistics also show that our Indigenous children are more than nine times as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous children. 

So what are we to do? Any of us touched by suicide, or worried about it, or maybe even contemplating it?

How are we to respond?

To help?

To collectively heal all of this and stop it happening?

Perhaps one way is to get to know suicide a bit better. To be able to talk about it together. To outwit the false perceptions that camouflage it and let it thrive underground. To silence the myths that surround it, so we might hear the quieter clues of what’s really going on.

As a psychotherapist and former Lifeline Telephone Counsellor, I’ve been able to explore some of these questions and myths with the wonderful trainers of the Living Works organisation. And I’ve talked with many many people about their own suicidal thoughts, often on the phone in the dead of night, helping them find their way back out of their pain so they could turn things around and embrace life again. So I know this stuff works. Conversations count. Words from the heart can heal – at least enough to stave off a lethal choice that can be made in a moment, and never un-made. Enough so that people then have time to get to the help they need to get through this alive.

After a very passionate local meeting was called here the other night, about how to stop our Valley’s suicide rate, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned. They’re so simple. But they can really help.

 

First, to the myths.

There’s so many, and they can stop life-saving conversations ever taking place, so let’s debunk some now. Some of the more dangerous ones include:

Myth #1: “If people talk about suicide, they won’t do it – it’s just a cry for help.”

Don’t believe it. Countless experiences tell a different tale. Some people may mention suicide, or some might talk about it often before taking any action. And I’ve personally never understood the, “It’s just a cry for help, so ignore it” idea; why would we not respond to someone’s cry for help?? So if someone you know is talking about dying or death or suicide, listen to that. Take it seriously.

Myth #2: “If people DON’T talk about suicide, they won’t do it.”

Yes, it’s strange how both these completely opposite myths are out there… But they are. And they’re both wrong. Because some people won’t necessarily divulge any suicidal thoughts they may be having. Everyone is different. So it’s important for us to care for one another by looking for other kinds of signs and warnings, too. (More on that soon).

Myth #3: “Talking about suicide will put ideas into people’s heads and increase the chance of them doing it.”

Not so. Many people who’ve contemplated suicide report how isolated they felt at the time; how they thought no-one would understand what they were going through (so why bother sharing it?). Talking about suicide, bringing it up, breaks through that isolation. And lets people know you care about them. Which can be lifesaving…

Myth #4: “If someone seemed down and they were talking about suicide before, but now they’re happy again, they must be over it.”

Again, not necessarily. Some people may actually feel relieved and seem suddenly much happier precisely because they’ve decided to go ahead with their suicide, and may have even decided on a specific plan or date. It’s important to keep supporting them and ensuring they have the help they need.

Myth #5: “If someone is self-harming, they won’t suicide.”

Everyone is different. Some people may explain that their self-harm (cutting, for example) can distract them from their emotional pain. So it’s sometimes suggested that suicide isn’t a threat to people who self-harm. Yet there is also some research suggesting that because of the intensity of the emotional pain they’re trying to escape through self-harming, they are at potentially higher risk for suicide. Certainly, it can’t hurt to help people find new and less damaging ways to overcome emotional pain…

Sadly, that’s just the beginning. There’s plenty more myths where those came from.

 

And then what?

It can all seem a bit daunting… Frightening, even. So what can we do in the face of all this?

Plenty, actually. Just listening, really listening, is huge. Talking together about what’s happening in someone’s life. Sharing the burdens. Standing with them in their loneliness. Just spending time together. And offering support and connection to other community resources that can help.

Because research suggests that the vast majority of people contemplating suicide don’t necessarily want to die – they just want the pain to stop.

So just sharing that pain for a while, just talking about it, or helping them carry it until they can unburden themselves of it – maybe by connecting with their doctor, or a counsellor, or a suicide prevention hotline – all these seemingly small things can make all the difference.

 

But when do you talk about it?

There’s a whole range of signs and warnings that are often present (but not always) if someone’s contemplating suicide. They’re usually signs that someone’s in emotional pain.

Some of these might be spoken, like:

  • “I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this.”
  • “I just want to end it all.”
  • “I can’t take this anymore.”
  • “I’ve tried everything and nothing’s ever going to change.”
  • “I just feel like dying.”
  • “If I died tomorrow, no-one would care.”
  • “What’s the point?”

Or some of them might be big, painful upheavals in someone’s life, like:

  • Being recently bereaved
  • Losing an important relationship
  • Going through a traumatic experience
  • Losing work or a sense of meaning in life
  • Being bullied or harassed
  • Being physically or sexually abused
  • Living with depression

All of these things, and many more, can be starting points for a conversation about suicide. Here are some more warning signs. And more here.

 

And how do you talk about it?

Straight up. Don’t be afraid to use the words you mean.

If you’re starting up a conversation, just let them know you’ve been feeling concerned, and why;  or that you’ve been thinking about them, and why:

  • “I’ve been thinking about you a lot – you’ve seemed a bit down lately.”
  • “I’ve noticed ….[what you’re concerned about]… and I wonder if you want to talk about it.”
  • “I just want to let you know I’m here for you.”

Or, especially if you’ve heard them use one of the verbal warning signs, like those listed above, you can bring up suicide directly:

  • “Does that mean you’ve been thinking about suicide?”
  • “When you say you can’t take it anymore, does that mean you’ve thought of taking your own life?”
  • “When you say you want to end it all, I’m worried you mean you want to die – that maybe you want to kill yourself. Do you?”

If the answer is yes, that’s the time to really listen and be there for that person. To show them how much they matter to you. To let them share what they’ve been going through. To be with them through the tears, if they come. And to get help.

This might mean calling a suicide prevention hotline or a mental health line with them, or for them, and following the advice they have for you – see below for some resources and options. Or ensuring they see their doctor (and staying with them until they can, unless you’re in danger yourself). Or, if they’re in current danger, call emergency services (on 000 in Australia).

 

And if you’ve been thinking about suicide yourself, reach out.

Tell someone you trust. They want to know, believe me; they want to help.

Or call a helpline and talk things through a bit.

Or visit your doctor or therapist or your school counsellor.

Just start somewhere… today…

Let someone help you start to turn this story around again and help you find another way out of the pain. You’re not alone… We’re with you, here, in this woven fabric of humanity. You’re a part of us. An important part. We want you here. We love you… So let us listen to you and learn of what you’re going through. Let us help

_______________________________________________

 

Resources:

International Association for Suicide Prevention – find a helpline in your country

Befrienders Worldwide

Resources in Australia:

Lifeline 13 11 14 Free telephone counselling, Australia-wide, 24-hours.

Suicide Prevention Australia (02) 9568 3111 Information & resources.

Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467 Free counselling, Australia-wide, 24-hours.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 For young people 5-25yrs, Australia-wide, 24-hours.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 The national initiative on anxiety and depression.

Reach Out! Online information and support service for people 16-25.

Headspace 1800 650 890 National youth mental health foundation.

 

 

Note: This blog post is by no means a definitive or complete exploration of suicide or depression/anxiety, and is not meant to replace individual medical advice. Please see your health provider and/or contact one of the resources listed above for appropriate care for you and your loved ones.
Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar  is a psychotherapist and writer who works with people all over the world via Skype, phone and email; and she sees clients face-to-face in Australia.  You can reach her via One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also offers subsidised counselling for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience (in Australia).

 

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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Living Through the Broken Bits: How Acceptance Can Help You Survive Damage]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3622 2016-02-17T11:05:19Z 2016-02-17T11:05:19Z broken pieces

My little boy is two-and-a-half. Just old enough to start wrestling with the big stuff. And I’m not talking about tantrums, here. But the stuff that many of us will grapple with all the days of our lives.

Like brokenness…

He brings a toy or a flower to me in too many pieces.

“Fix it?”

His eyes are bright and wide, face beaming, awaiting the alchemy of togetherness and glue. He’s seen this magic many times. He likes it.

But it won’t work this time.

“Sticky tape?” he suggests. I shake my head.

“A band-aid?”

I try to explain. How some things can be mended. And some things just can’t.

And maybe they shouldn’t be. Or, not in a stick-it-back-together-and-pretend-it-never-happened kind of way anyhow.

For some things – hearts, lives – feel things they just can’t unfeel. Live things they just can’t unlive. Break in ways that can’t quite be unbroken.

And sometimes maybe that’s actually ok; even though it hurts like hell. Because the brokenness is so much more than just busted. There’s a raw, raging kind of beauty there. An honouring of what transpired. A truth unbounded.

Sometimes the crack, the break, the tear is vital.
Sometimes it’s “…how the light gets in,” as Leonard Cohen put it.

Or perhaps it’s even a rite of passage of sorts? A Tibetan myth apparently affirms that

“…all spiritual warriors have a broken heart – alas, must have a broken heart – because it is only through the break that the words and mysteries of life can enter us.”*

Similarly, many therapists are thought to be ‘wounded healers’. No-one escapes this stuff…

But how do you explain any of this to a two-and-a-half year old?

How can you explain it to yourself during that ‘long dark night’, or month, or year or two?

Sometimes you just can’t.

Sometimes it’s all you can do to just hold the broken pieces in your hands and cry together for a while. To maybe wish it wasn’t so, but to know that it is.

And to learn. (Like this inspiring mother and son learned from brokenness).

And to love. Again. Anyway.

To heal in ways that honour the scars.

And to know that that’s enough.

And, then, when you’re ready, maybe even to wander into the next moment of your life, like my little boy does; a bit wiser and more closely connected to whatever it means to be alive…

Perhaps a little more broken, yes. But perhaps a little more whole.

 

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Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
* Quote from Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening, Conari Press, 2000, p.56
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar  is a psychotherapist and writer who works with people all over the world via Skype, phone and email; and she sees clients face-to-face in Australia.  You can reach her via One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also offers subsidised counselling for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience (in Australia).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Mark Nepo

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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[The Valentine’s Vine: Growing Love in Empty Hearts]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3616 2016-02-12T11:28:56Z 2016-02-12T11:28:56Z heart leaves

My grandmother is a sly sage (as so many of our grandmothers seem to be).

On our most recent wander through her backyard, when I casually commented on her magnolia tree, she paused and replied,

“Yes, we have a lot to learn from the garden…”

And so we do.

It’s been a pretty bleak time for me over the last couple of years. (Which is why I took a break from blogging). Lots of changes driven by heartache and pain. As sometimes seems to happen in life…

The walls of my internal garden during that time have housed next to nought, as necessity overshadowed nourishment, and everything ended up neglected and parched. And though I kept ‘ploughing-on’ through the days, somehow I forgot to plant new seeds… So the field’s been kind of empty for a while.

Do you know that feeling?
Perhaps only too well.
So many of us do, at some time or other.

And as Valentine’s Day approaches, this kind of stuff just seems to get harder, harsher, the contrast highlighted by all the ‘lurve’ and flowers in the air. It seems easier just not to look; at the hype; at the self.

And then, walking up my back steps the other day, I saw it anyway. A vine untangling and growing beneath my very house. Right there, in the dark and the dust. Neglected, not watered, but flourishing anyway. A vine of verdant hearts.
(That’s it in the photo above).

Yes, we have a lot to learn from the garden…

Perhaps one lesson is that right here, right beneath your feet, even in the pit of barrenness, love can grow anyway. And will. And is.

Perhaps it’s not always the showy rose-blossom-fantasy kind of thing. Maybe it’s not even something anyone else can see. Maybe it’s just a quiet, growing sense of love you’re (finally) remembering to have for yourself, your life.

And maybe that’s where the garden can start up from again. A single unexpected surge of growth. A quiet renewal of heart – something for you and only you. And sort of even from you in a way.

A Valentine’s vine, growing and re-growing love. Growing care. Even in the darkness. Even in the empty…

Perhaps reminding you how to show a little love to yourself, no matter where you’re at this Valentine’s Day.

So, yes, as it turns out, there’s quite a bit to learn from the garden…

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Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar  is a psychotherapist and writer who works with people all over the world via Skype, phone and email; and she sees clients face-to-face in Australia.  You can reach her via One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also offers subsidised counselling for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience (in Australia).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Surviving Post-Mother’s-Day Blues]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3596 2014-05-24T05:37:14Z 2014-05-24T05:33:31Z Mothers Day - mother & baby hands - G Gawne-Kelnar

Are you over Mother’s Day yet?

And by that I mean, have you recovered from it? Healed again? Found your balance after the stormy emotions it might have rained down on you?

Because for many people this single day in the calendar echoes painfully in their hearts for much, much longer – sometimes days, sometimes weeks. It can unleash all kinds of sadness and despair. Why? There are many reasons…

Maybe you don’t even know if you’re ‘allowed’ to call yourself a mother just yet. Maybe you’ve been trying to have a baby, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
Maybe you’ve walked the long IVF path and had all kinds of procedures and all kinds of hopes, but just no luck so far and you feel stuck on a treadmill of pain.

Or maybe you’ve had a miscarriage and along with it, lost your dreams of that particular, beautiful child and your shared future together.

Or you’ve finally held your baby in your arms only to lose them to illness or accident. Or you’ve lost your own mother, through death or disharmony.

All so heartbreaking. Overwhelming. Isolating.

You can feel so alone with these kinds of pain that are either just too hard to talk about, or that well-meaning people want to smooth over quickly with platitudes that only hurt some more: ‘You can try again’ or, ‘She’s still here with you in spirit.’

And even if you thought you were on the path to healing again, a seemingly simple day like Mother’s Day turns up and can unleash all that stuff upon you all over again.

So, though it’s almost two weeks since Mother’s Day, if you’re still feeling it, know that you’re not alone.

The media and the hype and the flowers may have all died down, but if your sadness is still with you, you are not alone. A whole, mostly silent, community across the globe stands with you. And though you might not hear them, or might not know who they are, they are walking through some of this pain alongside you. Right now.

Sometimes simply knowing that, and letting it sink deeply into your mind or heart or soul, can be enough to start a kind of healing.

And if you’re not sure whether you even have ‘the right’ to be a part of this community, because you’re not sure if society would consider you ‘a mother’ yet, just know that if you’ve ever offered your body up to become a new universe for a tiny star of a child within you, you’re a mother. However small or fleeting that spark may have been,you were there, nurturing, loving, being all you could be.

How else might you survive the post-Mother’s-Day blues?

Perhaps it’s also worth thinking about how you might nurture yourself for a moment, too…How might you allow that sense of loving, motherly care include you as well? How might you parent yourself through this?

What could you do – right now – to ease your heartache and take care of yourself for a moment? To honour your path with motherhood and all that it means for you?

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Maybe just giving yourself some small thing like a cup of hot tea and some time; or closing your eyes and taking a few, deep, mindful breaths… Drinking in this moment. And knowing that others are drinking alongside you…   .

Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar  is a  psychotherapist who works with people all over the world via email and Skype.  One of her areas of focus is on fertility, pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. You can reach her via One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. 
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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Living Mindfulness And Seeing The Little Things In Life]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3548 2012-06-10T16:13:46Z 2012-06-10T06:14:55Z
Close up photo of blades of grass in the sun

All around you, they’re growing, like tiny blades of grass, if only you’ll stoop down to see them. Little moments of living mindfulness.

So come down for a moment, down from the seemingly lofty heights of ambition and theoretical knowledge and social matters. Drop out of the school of thought that teaches you there’s only one right way to be.

Drop down to earth (perhaps literally). Down to just yourself as a living being right here with other moments of aliveness running through you.

And, wherever you are, just be

From down here, you can feel the  distant drum of your faraway heart, suddenly so close.

You can sense the numbing sting of a gust of cold wind.

Or the bloom of warmth across your back as the sun drips its pollen on you.

Or the light in your eyes as it bursts through the trees for a moment.

Afternoon sunlight through the trees in the park

From here, there are sometimes clouds in the puddles on your path.

Clouds and blue sky reflected in a puddle on the ground

Impossibly beautiful nuances everywhere…

This stuff, the small stuff, comes together like stitches knitting the very bones of us. These momentary moments that have nothing else to do but fade away to transience, whether you notice them or not.

These are the things your life is made of. Until it isn’t.
The smallest of the small, and so easy to miss; so easy to live a day, a week, a life, without them.

So how long has it been since you’ve gotten down close to them? Close to this living mindfulness blooming all around us, for even just a moment…

 

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Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[How To Rest And Recharge: Bringing Balance To Your Life And Work]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3541 2012-06-01T02:35:15Z 2012-06-01T02:35:15Z

 

When was the last time you rested?

Truly just put aside some time – a minute or an hour – to do whatever it is that recharges you.

And what is that for you anyway?

What does rest look like – for you?

Is it kicking back and taking the phone off the hook and just breathing in the sun?

Or do you rest best while you’re mindfully engaged in some activity – like maybe gardening or cooking or drawing or something else – where your mind can get involved just enough in the minute-by-minute process that it can let go of holding onto everything else?

Rest seems underrated sometimes. Misconstrued. Painted in the colours of lazy or unambitious. And then compared to the razzle dazzle ‘importance’ that busyness likes to decorate itself in.

But maybe rest is at least as important as busyness…

Apparently, in traditional farming practices, the fields were often rotated. One field was allowed to lay fallow for a while – not to have to be quite so obviously ‘useful’ or ‘busy’, ‘required’ or ‘involved’ all the time. Instead, it had the time and space to find its own vital force again. To only do the work of replenishing itself through nourishment and rest.

Are there parts of you that could use a break like this?

What might it feel like to just follow that impulse and let yourself fall into it for a moment?
Or an hour.
Or a day.

Perhaps rest is a rescue from the hard stuff in life. The opposite of depletion. The opposite of overwhelm. An antidote for burnout.

And maybe, despite our western workaholic ways, rest can be just as important as action. Maybe it’s a kind of therapy where you can be both the therapist and the client.  Maybe, just like in the fields, rest can add a calming, quiet balance to the cycles of your life.

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Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[The Story Of The Sky Within You]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3531 2012-05-24T12:05:19Z 2012-05-24T03:47:04Z Just when the storms in life seem too much, a metaphorical rainbow can emerge

 

It’s an old story. Old as the hills. And yet new every time it tells itself again.

Have you heard it told to you lately?

The clouds have gathered, thick and dark, on your skies. They’re banked up and rolling heavy to your horizon. Maybe the rains have already started, pouring their grief over everything you know and soaking it all through with shadows. And then maybe the wind starts up. The lightning. It seems everything is going wrong at once.

It’s hard to imagine ever riding out this storm.

And yet, if the story has its way, there will come a moment. A moment you might not notice at first. A moment that can start out smaller than small. But it’s enough.

Enough to invite a shift – an infinitessimal shift – that’s almost no shift at all. Except that it is.

So something tiny changes.

And somehow that awakens the next little change.

Until, gradually, all these fragile moments come together – like countless particles of light converging – almost invisible on their own. But together, slowly, they can start to pull the temperature of your day in a warmer direction. Together, they start to matter.

They build to a tipping point and spill over, pouring colour into what was once only grey.

And suddenly, inexplicably, the storm is lifting.

Somehow everything has changed again. There’s a new beginning again; perhaps even more beautiful for the dark place it’s come out of.

And now, seemingly out of nowhere, a banner of multicoloured hope is arcing through your sky…

This is the story so many of us know. It’s a story I sometimes hear from my clients, and sometimes have felt myself. The other day, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, it was a story that reminded me it would not be forgotten, as the monochrome moods of clouds were hijacked by a rainbow that snuck up out of nowhere.

And maybe, even if all you can see around you is grey, maybe this story is in the process of telling itself to you, too…

 

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Text and photos copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Forgetting Your Phone And Remembering Your Life]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3518 2012-05-06T18:57:30Z 2012-05-06T02:22:23Z

Have you forgotten your phone anywhere lately? Accidentally left it behind somewhere, until you realised you “needed” it? And it wasn’t there?

(I just did).

It’s amazing how much daily living can be kind of woven through this little device. Pixellated inside it. So seemingly handy. And yet…

When you’re without your phone, are there other parts of your life that you’re more with?

If you forget it, do you remember you?

(And what might that tell you?)

When you dive into your phone, are you plunging yourself into somewhere other than right where you are? Somewhere other than here, where your life is actually unfolding around you? Are you more “over there” or “lost in your head” than “just here”?

And, if so, is your phone sometimes a sort of anti-mindfulness device?

It’s an interesting thought…

So why not experiment with it all a bit?

Instead of automatically disappearing into your phone when you’re next in a waiting room or a train (and potentially disappearing from your very own lived experience in a way), what might it be like if you took a moment to deliberately forget it. If you chose to remember you instead?

Just here.

Inside these few fleeting seconds of wherever you happen to be, which can never come again.

Maybe sometimes connection isn’t just about texting or talking or surfing, but just being.

And maybe sometimes that’s worth remembering…

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Text copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Image credit
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Shedding Your Skin And Releasing Yourself From Old Habits]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3509 2012-04-20T07:58:33Z 2012-04-20T07:58:33Z Do you have to 'break' habits? Or can you shed them like this tree sheds bark?

 

One of the things I love about living in Australia is the grace of the gum trees.

Even in the bustle of the city, they’re dotted around the streets, their leaves quietly whispering of stuff more grounded and true. And recently it’s been the time of year for some of them to shed their bark (like in the photo, above).

It’s an inspiring process in a metaphorical way – a time to slough off the old and let the new parts of you come to the surface.

Sometimes, for the trees, it might look messy for a while, with great strips of their old selves peeling off and swinging in the wind before they fall away. But, with a bit of time and persistence, they come clean again, with brand new skins to face the world in.

So, if you could shed your own bark like these trees, what would you be shedding?

Are there any habits which hold you back in some way? Maybe you devalue yourself in some way, or judge yourself harshly? (Or maybe you’ve tended to judge others in that light).

Or maybe your bark is a kind of isolation you keep yourself cocooned in – never quite connecting authentically with other people because it’s been too painful in the past.

Or perhaps there are habits of thinking you’d like to shed – or automatic responses that want to dive in and make your decisions for you when certain buttons are pushed.

Maybe there’s a certain sense of complacency that’s set in over the years that you’d like to shift.

Or maybe you just hide some parts of you that long for the light.

So many reasons… so much ‘bark’.

What might it be like if you could just let it all drop away from you? Even if it’s a process that takes a bit of time, like these trees.

What might it be like to see that perhaps these things which are shed aren’t necessarily “you.” But perhaps just ways of being that you got used to wearing.

How might you feel to stand tall and clean and shining, having shed the stuff that just feels a bit old to you now? Overdone. Overused.

And how amazing to think that it might be possible to invite that process into your life again and again, as your own internal seasons shift, and you feel ready to release the new new.

(It all brings to mind a whole new layer to the idea of ‘turning over a new leaf’).

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Text and photo copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
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Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar http://www.onelifecounselling.com.au <![CDATA[Do You Trust Yourself To Heal? Bringing Therapy To Life]]> http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/?p=3501 2012-04-16T21:05:33Z 2012-04-16T21:05:33Z  

These ideas from therapy might remind you how to trust yourself to heal again

Trust is such an important part of therapy. And, of course, of life

So do you trust yourself?

To know yourself.
To grow yourself.
To heal.

A gentleman born in the early 1900’s trusted you, even though you’ve never met. His name was Carl Rogers, and he was a psychologist. And he believed that you – that all of us – have the innate power to understand and heal ourselves. He believed that somewhere inside, you have the solution, the answer, the salve for your life’s struggles. And that trust will help unlock them.

So how do you do that?

Well, maybe you can take a leaf out of therapy’s book and sort of see if it might apply to you in your life, and the way you might treat yourself (or not).

In therapy, if you and your therapist follow Rogers’ approach, it’ll be called “person-centred therapy.” And the person it’s centred on will be you. So you’ll set the pace of things – your therapist will take your lead, as they have faith in your mind, your emotions, your entire being to know the right pace to go.

They’ll listen to you. Deeply. Because they’ll believe that everything you say is a clue. That everything you say has value.

And they’ll trust that, much as a plant knows to grow toward the sun, you know how to grow toward your healing, and you’re probably already starting to do that. So they probably won’t plaster you with other people’s opinions or theories, or tell you how you “should” think.

How would it be if you could apply these things to yourself?
Consciously.
Willingly.
Generously.

To extend a hand of trust to yourself in barren times and know that you will grow again. That you’ve already started. That deep down, something in you knows the way out of pain. And back to being whole. Even if you’ve never grown this particular way before.

To really listen to yourself. To hear every resistance or desire that your gut is trying to communicate to you. To look for the signs that your body – that most intricate sense data collector – is giving you about your world.

And to trust yourself enough to just let yourself grow towards the light in your life. Not to overburden yourself with other people’s “shoulds.” But to just be where you are and going where you’re going. In your own direction, rather than someone else’s.

Sometimes, in really tough times, it can be really helpful to do this in the company of your therapist.

And sometimes, maybe it’s enough to start the healing – the trusting – yourself.

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Text copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
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