-by counsellor, psychotherapist and social worker and Katrina Heptonstall
One of my favourite things that I do as a practitioner is to teach skills to everyone so that they can manage their life’s ups and downs when they arise – so that they don’t make the same mistakes they’ve made in the past. And one of the best ways that I love doing this is in group therapy. At the moment I’m facilitating a personal development course for women who have left the prison system. They’ve literally exited gaol and come straight into this rehabilitation service as a transition back into the community. I’m so passionate about these women and set on giving them every skill, knowledge, tool or whatever they need so that they can go back out into the world, feeling a little more safe and able to cope than they had before. The staff laugh as they see me lugging in my ginormous computer monitor, laptop and manuals under my arm – so I can show the women You-tube clips and examples as part of my training.
Not many people think about this, but these women have had lives that most could never imagine (trauma and abuse), and they’ve not had the life-skills, nor the support needed to help them through their early dark days. So they resort to means to help them survive and hide the terrible pain inside: drugs (or alcohol). And THEN, unfortunately, once they’re on the slippery downslide of addiction, crime often follows, to help support their unfortunate habit. That’s the cycle folks and it sucks for everyone involved, especially for themselves. No-one more than they want to stop their addiction – but it’s no easy task. The hooks go extremely deep.
So, through my 18 week personal development program I teach them the skills, for emotional intelligence: learning how to manage their pain more effectively, adopted from Marsha Linehan’s DBT. I teach them mindfulness, communication skills and relationship skills. And you know what I love? When they say how grateful they are to finally learn skills that will help them; and that they wished they had known them before. I tell them that I wished I’d learned them myself when I was young! And that I think the entire planet should learn them as well! And we laugh. When they tell me that they used their communication skills, or set their boundaries in a relationship, or practiced mindfulness, I feel so happy for them.
I love my work. I feel so much care for these women because they’re truly gorgeous. They’ve just been dealt some seriously rotten lemons, and trying to make lemonade out of them is incredibly difficult but I hope to give them the tools to get there.
To celebrate Katrina joining the Transform Clinic, she is offering an introductory rate of $80 for a 1hr counselling session or get half an hour free on IST sessions so you pay just $100 for the full 1.5 hr IST session. These offers are available only until July 15th. Get the ball rolling by reaching out today.