Mental Illness Awareness week for Australia occurs during the 6th till 12th of October this month. In the middle of the week, on the 10th of October falls ‘World Mental Health Day’, its shorter yet more far reaching and international cousin. It will be a time when society turns its attention to what has for far too long been a ‘behind closed doors’ / “Don’t talk about it” topic.
In Australia, as a therapist ( who like all therapists gets into this line of work because I truly wish to help fellow humans who are suffering, and contribute to peoples wellbeing to the best of my abilities ), I watched the launch of ‘Beyond Blue’ approximately 10 years ago, with a sigh of relief and excitement and I remember thinking “Thank God, Finally, awareness around mental & emotional health will become more widespread”. And this is what happened…more awareness… unfortunately though, I have always known that awareness is merely the ‘1st Step’ to solving a problem. More was needed…
It was shortly that the next step came with “R U Okay?”. The initiative designed to literally initiate conversations about mental health through promoting open communication between each other. This was in my eyes the necessary ‘Step 2’ the collective had to go through so as we could start ‘normalising’ mental health issues and most importantly support each other by creating the narrative that it is safe to open up. It is safe to share about your struggle and mental & emotional health issues. In Australia this normalisation was a much needed process as we have been a bit ‘lagging’ behind when it comes to our attitude towards mental & emotional health. Look at America, the ‘normalisation’ of Mental Health issues results in nearly every 2nd person having a therapist and/ or going through current therapy, going to rehab when necessary etc and a society which totally accepts, not make a big deal out of such things.
Step 3 will naturally flow on from this “R U Okay?” Initiative – and this step is simply the demand for treatment. Optimal treatment. Getting genuine results in the shortest time possible, with the least cost possible. Out of the normalisation of mental illness issues and the conversations around them, people are naturally supported to go and seek help, to seek therapy by family and friends, whilst others will decide that they themselves need therapy after opening up and realising that simply talking about ones issues DOES NOT resolve those issues.
Yes, you read correctly. Talking about our issues DOES IN FACT ONLY provide a temporary relief, due to conversations about our issues acting as a form of ‘release of the pressure valve’, though unfortunately, and contrary to popular belief, talking therapy does not actually heal or resolve the root cause of issues.
Yes, this may lead to the question of why do we still consider ‘talking style’ therapy as a solution when it only provides temporary relief and does not heal the root – usually emotional trauma – of our mental health issues?
As a result the demand for good services is only going to increase. People only want the best. When it comes to our emotional & mental wellbeing, we only deserve the best and choosing the best Psychotherapeutic treatment, like all things in life, whilst actually very simple and straightforward, has been made very complicated due to lack of understanding on the laypersons behalf, and outdated attitudes and understanding on many Doctors/ Psychiatrists and Psychologists behalf.
The main out dated understanding is that all it takes to heal our issues is ‘talk style’ therapy, often combined with the ‘right’ medication – either temporarily as a band aid whilst going thru the worst, or permanently if you have been ‘sold’ on some crazy notion that you have ‘treatment resistant depression’ or that you ‘need it’ because you have a ‘chemical imbalance’ or one of many other very ignorant, damaging and dangerous notions that your Doctor or Psychiatrist/Psychologist has put into your head.
Talk style therapy has its roots in Sigmund Freud, when 126 years ago he experienced one of his patients started to feel better after she described a traumatic experience. That was 1896 folks, a long, long time ago. If we are to still base our understanding of therapy on that then we also need to honour Freuds 126 year old premise that all men wish to kill their father so as they can have sex with their mother. Am I getting my point across yet?
The simple, straightforward truth of it is that 99% of mental health issues are due to trauma. Trauma by its very nature is beyond words, beyond comprehension and way beyond expression through words. There only is one way to heal trauma though and that is to feel it. To heal you must feel. Talking is basically thoughts made concrete through energy i.e. Words are thoughts with air/ spirit behind them. Thoughts occur on the mental level. This is why some people are in treatment for 10 years, 20 years…forever. Or get given the label of ‘Bipolar’ so must be medicated for life. Trauma occurs on the emotional level. Emotional level memory is very different to mental level memory. Mental level memory is the recalling, the describing of a traumatic event – and that is even if you are blessed with actually remembering, knowing which experienced traumatised you. After 25 years in my private practise, having helped thousands of people, I experienced only 1 out of 10 people actually are aware of the true cause of their mental illness issue. They call it the ‘unconscious for a reason, no?
Emotional Level Memory and its Siamese twin, Cellular Level Memory or Body Memory in some paradigms it is called, are the next and final steps in the collective becoming free from unnecessary inner turmoil. For this ‘freedom from inner turmoil’ to occur people must turn towards what have been considered ‘alternative avenues’, these involve therapeutic approaches whic view the bodymind connection as a given reality. Therapeutic approaches which subscribe to the belief that the physical body and its neuromuscular system functions as a ‘memory bank’ in which past emotional and mental trauma is stored. Therapeutic approaches that involve emotional and ‘energy’ work – as Emotions are ‘E’ – Motion – ‘Energy in Motion. Therapeutic approaches considered ‘New Age’ and often derided and put down by the mainstream systems of thought. Therapeutic approaches which are actually more accurate and up – to – date in their understanding and approach whose time has actually now come to be recognised.
One such approach, which even labels itself as ‘The Future of Therapy’ is Cathartic Breathwork. In essence a ‘defense displacement technique’ which literally by – passes the unconscious minds’ defence structures and enables people to ‘re – experience’ old trauma which is affecting them in present day from the unconscious realms. The technique enables trauma to be released at the root level from the neuromuscular system – people literally get to experience where in their body they hold trauma, feel it and thereby release it permanently. It is a technique that has its roots in the ‘Rebirthing style of Breathwork’, though now is evolved into a cutting edge psychotherapeutic technique combining the ‘defense displacement breathwork’ with cutting edge wholistic psychotherapeutic techniques including NLP, Inner Child Work, Inner voice dialogue, Shamanistic Soul Retrieval, Gestalt Therapy and others. One may view this synthesis as the ‘best of the best’ therapy approaches all rolled into one.
If you yourself or a loved one is suffering from mental health issues, then please realise life was not meant to be about suffering needlessly, life was not meant to be that hard. Whether the issue is depression or anxiety in all its forms. Whether the issue is addictions, midlife crisis, workaholism or relationship breakdown, Cathartic Breathwork is a modality like no other which always seems to compliment most other forms of treatment.
To find out more about this approach visit the people who not only specialise in this approach but are also some of the main international pioneers of this work, please visit:
www.the anxietydepressionclinic.com.au or www.catharticbreathwork.com