Kim writes: Louise and I designed the 3 hour training programme earlier this year because helping carers to cope with their emotions was a subject that was very close to our heart. Louise had witnessed firsthand what her mother had gone through when caring for Louise’s Grandmother and I am currently in a caring role for my father for the last 5 years.
Caring for someone comes with a huge set of emotional challenges like:
Day to day stress, not enough time - too much to do
Responsibility of having to make decisions for someone
Guilt – “am I doing enough?”
Feeling alone, isolated
That’s just for starters!
We decided to focus on 2 main areas
1) The Pressure Cooker Effect
The Pressure Cooker Effect relates to any situation where you are feeling overwhelmed, overburdened, stressed or angry. It is the rising feeling felt inside or a pressure that is building in the body and wants to burst out in the form of shouting, anger, tears and frustration. It could even be the general feeling of heaviness where you have so much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it (often accompanied with a feeling of not being helped by anyone).
2) Caring from the Heart
How to stay calm and open when the person you are caring for’s behaviour is difficult, irrational and at times annoying or upsetting.
Caring for Carers - The Training
The training course was delivered to 10 carers and 2 members of staff for the charity ReThink with the help of two amazing ETP’s Sam Rowe and Emma Brown.
The first exercise went extremely well. Everyone clearly felt the pressure in their bodies as they thought about the emotional upheaval they had. One lady was very upset as she chose to work on something that was very big. I never dictate what people choose to work on in terms of a small, medium or large problem. I let each individual choose something relevant to them so they feel the transformation is personal. The pressure in her chest and throat seemed to threaten to overwhelm her at first but very quickly her emotions came under control and she said she hadn’t felt that clear in a very long time. The others in her group that watched the unfoldment of the stuck energy were at first a little afraid as they could relate so deeply to the internalised pressure but as the tears subsided into sobs and then into deep breaths it showed them how quickly something that was unaddressed and buried so deep can heal without words or any need to analyse the content. In Sam’s group she helped someone clear something so thoroughly that when the lady reflected back on the problem she struggled to think what it was.
The second exercise proved more challenging for most in the room. I showed them how to re-connect to the person they are caring for by clearing a difficult behaviour to handle first, followed by seeing the energy of the person in the room. The end result being able to gradually bring the energy closer and closer, softening any kinaesthetic sensations along the way, until finally the energy can pass in, through and out.
Handling the difficult behaviour was challenging enough but when beginning to think about handling the energy of the person they are caring for it became very apparent that past hurts, failed attempts to reach out and the sometimes extreme behaviour that had been exhibited made shields so thick that many could not make much progress at all during the workshop. Some in fact were showing clear abreactions of fear about having the energy of the person in the same room.
This was a very big learning curve for me which I will be eternally grateful for. I have used the same exercise with hugely successful results in large groups on school children, teachers and parents, but with this group it wasn’t to be. It seems that caring for someone who has mental illness like Bi-Polar, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia and other such mental health issues is a very complex and difficult relationship to heal that carries with it many past hurts.
Some in Emma’s group were able to feel the re-connection of their energy to that of the person they are caring for (which could be husband, partner, child, more than one child or parent) and in doing so found they had gained a lot more wisdom and understanding about that person and their needs, but most found it very difficult. We discussed the result of the exercise and all agreed that it was really eye opening for them to realise how much at arm’s length they were holding the energy/person at bay and how they felt about even going there with it at all. Everyone agreed that it was a gift to have this awareness and that now they can choose to work with that either on their own or on a 1-1 session.
The organiser of the event, Piera Jalan from the Charity ReThink, has sent through her feedback about how she felt the session went.
If you are interested in running workshops for carers please contact me if you would like help or advice.
"My name is Piera and I work for a mental health charity in Hillingdon called Rethink which supports friends and families of people experiencing severe mental health issues in Hillingdon. A friend suggested EMO Caring for Carers Workshop to me and luckily our service was able to get funding from the London Borough of Hillingdon Fab4Carers Fund to hold a workshop for carers. The event was attended by 10 carers and feedback so far has been really good. One person commented that it has given her another tool to cope with her everyday life. Another said that not only was the technique interesting but that the event enabled her to meet other people in similar situations and thus helped her to feel less isolated. I think some people were quite amazed at how such a simple technique could actually work and I feel that the workshop was very interesting and helpful.
Caring for someone with a severe and enduring mental health issue can be extremely stressful and unpredictable. If you would like information and support you can visit http://www.rethink.org.
My thanks go to Kim, Sam and Emma for delivering and facilitating this course for carers. Together we can all learn more about how amazing our body and mind can be at healing and transforming emotions."
Kim Bradley is a Trainer and Advanced Practitioner of EMO. The co-founder of Emotional Freedom Training, Kim is currently pioneering Emotional Health for Schools – a programme to support teenagers and teachers. Emotional Freedom Training’s philosophy is to bring the gift of Emotional Health to as many people as possible to encourage self healing and achievement of the individual’s full potential.