Lockdown took my felts away but gave me something else!

By Jo King, Family Therapist

I have talked for many years to friend’s family but more importantly to the families, young people, children, and couples that I work with that no one can call themselves your therapist unless what we create together is therapeutic. When I found Systemic Psychotherapy, I found a connection to my own philosophy that enables me to practice in an authentic and collaborative way to find ways of creating new narratives that create change and lift the burdens of anxiety, shame, and turmoil.

I have always practiced in a way that uses lots of coloured felt tips lots of paper, sometimes getting people to move around change places, draw think explore. We often use the whole room, using buttons playdough, polystyrene bricks anything and everything that assists in us explore new meanings and insights into difficult problems and stories. So, to find myself locked in behind my screen for four whole months send me into complete panic! I must admit I moaned ‘how can I be useful when I can’t explore using visual image?’. ‘I need people in person’ I cried, ‘I need to see peoples body language I need to use all my senses to connect to the feeling in the room How Can I do anything therapeutic without these key ingredients?’

To my amazement my clients wanted to continue our work using the online system of zoom and then I found an influx of new families that wanted to deal with difficulties. People shared that for the first time in years lockdown had given them time to think and reflect, time to be brave enough to talk to each other. Many families began to tell me that they felt zoom would help them as they lived too far away to travel but that it felt safer to talk online. Young people shared with me that lockdown had helped them to see that they had pretending to be ok for years when they felt low and misunderstood. Children told me that they felt alone since their parents separated and hated having to choose which parent to be with. Couples expressed how in lockdown they could no longer use busyness as a way of hiding the distance that had occurred between them and families highlighted that they had noticed some serious eating difficulties that they would never had noticed had they not been having three meals a day with their child.

It seemed that Lockdown had brought about new insights and so the generosity in clients sharing their stories and newfound insights enabled me to dig deep. ‘Come on Jo there must be a way we can make this work’ So I did what I know how to do, be my authentic self and be honest.

At the start of my sessions, I shared with families old and new how I work and together we found a way of being creative, using the resources we could share. So, I learnt that other people have felt tips pens too, that people can tear bits of paper to create maps and timelines. That the screen is no barrier to humour, to being able to empathise and share in another’s pain and the screen is no obstacle to having conversations which involve exploration, challenge, and debate.

I am privileged to have been able to maintain my private practice and be part of our wonderful NHS Children’s Mental Health Team in which I have seen the endless efforts we have made to be able to keep connecting and finding ways of helping children and young people be connected and looked after in times of great hardship and distress. We have all witnessed so much change I am surprised our heads have not exploded! So, I continue to work online but I am also grateful that the majority of my work is back face to face at my home, the Elysia Centre, the oasis in my week and the place where I see miracles happen.

Despite the pain of lockdown, the uncertainty and many other unpredictable consequences of COVID-19 many truly amazing new insights have occurred for many of my families that would have taken a lot longer to surface with goodness knows what consequences if these crazy unprecedented times had not occurred, and I am so grateful to have shared theses difficult times with so many.

With Love Jo x

To find out more or to arrange an appointment: Joanne King

Resourcing your life

By Karolina Pawinska MA.CPP, UKCP Accredited

It seems like only a few days ago the Autumn leaves were still dancing in the air. Today, as I went for a walk, most of the trees were bare and the ground was covered with a blanket of leaves over the mud. The change is visible and inescapable…

At present we are exposed to rapid change as we meet the challenge of a global pandemic, along with other unknowns… How will our economy recover from the current stresses? How will climate change and global warming affect us and the planet? How will we meet Christmas this year, to name but a few? As I am naming it, I feel the effect of it on my body and posture, my shoulders rounding under the weight to protect my heart space. There is a lot we are negotiating at present on an everyday basis. In these circumstances it can take extra effort and attention to calm our nervous system and to stay grounded, present and resourced; the qualities so needed to meet our life as it unfolds with flexibility and ability to adapt.  

As life presents us with challenges, we might experience overwhelm that disconnects us from our bodies. Grounding and centring can support us to reconnect directly with the resources naturally available in our own body. How can we do it? The recipe is not complicated but requires us in the first place to witness when its needed and practice mindfully returning to our connection to the ground. It could be simply standing and tuning into the physical sensations of the connection with the ground, feeling one’s feet on the Earth.  It could be sitting on the chair with our feet touching the ground, hands on the belly and feeling the energy moving up from the ground through your feet and legs into your belly. If you like walking, it could be mindful walking, feeling each step touching the Earth. Another way to help grounding yourself is to spend time with animals if it is possible, watching them or cuddling them. They are naturally grounded.

We all have moments when life is too much, when we feel lost or overwhelmed in the matrix of what we are faced with. Its not about removing it from our experience but increasing our resilience of how quickly we are able to bounce back to life, to return home.

I have been reading with my children a beautiful book for all ages called ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ by Charlie Mackesy. Each page is filled with heart-warming, wise statements. On one I read:

“Sometimes I feel lost”, said the boy.

Me too”, said the mole, “but we love you, and love brings you home”.

Everybody has resources. It can be anyone or anything that supports and nurtures our sense of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. The word re-source; indicate returning, coming back to our source, our origins… over and over again. Consider what are your resources, are they hidden or obvious? Are they internal or external? What supported you so far in life while going through challenges? You might be aware of external resources like: nature, friends, family, animals, dance, art, sport… or internal resources, like: strength, a spiritual practice, talents, being kind, being resilient… Something embedded in everyday life, taken for granted, can be very resourceful, like a cup of tea or taking a bath. We need different resources at different times. I would like to invite you to reflect on what supports your life. When you reach out to some resource, for example: a cup of tea, why don’t you notice your inner experience that accompanies that external resource? It might be warmth in your body, restfulness, slowing down… We can with time connect with the inner repertoire of sensations, feelings and energies that correspond with our wellbeing and learn how to turn towards it to support ourselves in the midst of life’s surprises and challenges.

I wish you a resourceful Advent time and Christmas.

Karolina Pawinska https://elysiacentre.org/karolina-pawinska/

How to remain well in pandemic times

with Dr Rainer Klocke, Consultant Rheumatologist.  

Due to popular demand, this talk and conversation via Zoom will be repeated on Sunday 29 November, 15:30 to 16:30.

Dr Klocke will share his ideas and there will be time to reflect, question and have an open discussion about what may help to nourish us during these special times.
To register for this free event, please contact our Practice Manager, Annamaria Balog   [email protected]
 

Therapy Fund: Access to Therapy – Support for the Vulnerable

The Elysia Therapeutic Centre is committed to keeping its physical doors open as a health centre. Recognising this as a time of great need especially for the vulnerable, who are challenged in many ways because of the pandemic, has prompted us to seek funding for a new project: Access to Therapy – Support for the Vulnerable.

The Centre operates a small patient therapy fund to aid those who need financial support to access our therapies. The fund needs re-energising and donations to the Centre would be warmly received to help those who are particularly in need during the pandemic.

Please make your donations payable to:

Account name: The Elysia Therapeutic Centre Ltd

Account no: 28894760

Sort Code: 30-95-96

Please quote reference: Therapy Fund

If you would like to find out more about how you can help the Centre, or should you wish to make a regular monthly donation, please email our finance administrator, Lindsey Garner [email protected] and she will arrange this with you.

The Calyx Trust

‘The Calyx has created the cradle for a new spark of life for strength in life.’

The Oasis and Building Bridges initiative, founded by Melanie Taylor, adopted the dormant Calyx Trust in 2004 from Vivienne Klockner. This Charity first provided support for a network of non–locational community building for people all over the country. Through working together in small groups (named Oasis) people experienced a source of healing and renewal as they emerged from a place of suffering or hardship.

Later in 2012, The Calyx Trust also provided the charitable body enabling this community building impulse to develop into a multidisciplinary Therapeutic Centre in Stourbridge. Therapists, Nurses and Doctors provided the resources for health for patients and clients in need of care. This is the Elysia Therapeutic Centre.

The Park Attwood Clinic (1979-2009) had been an inspiration for anthroposophic health care for a full 30 years; its closure also sparked the decision to found the Elysia Therapeutic Centre in Stourbridge in 2010, opening its doors to the public in 2012.

Now, out of necessity in 2020 a new developmental stage has begun. We can see many different organizational bodies offering their founding inspirations to a renewed task through a process of merging, dissolving and re-emergence:

The Calyx Trust has merged, (and closed as an independent charity)

The Elysia Centre has merged, (and closed as an independent Partnership)

Park Attwood Therapeutic Association has merged, (and changed its name) to:

The Elysia Therapeutic Centre Ltd. Community Benefit Society with Charitable status.

Grateful for the past and with thanks to all those who have contributed to Anthroposophic Medical care this century; and towards and what must be for all of us a newly emerging future in 2020.

Sincerely yours, Melanie Taylor

N/B Bequests or donations to the Calyx Trust should please contact the administrator at the Elysia Therapeutic Centre Ltd. for details:

Lindsey Garner, email: [email protected]

ETC COVID-19: Client Guide

Client Guide to Using the Centre During COVID-19: As at 6 January 2021.

As ever, the health, wellbeing, safety and security of all of our clients, visitors and practitioners are our priority. We have spent a lot of time preparing the space, and putting in place preventative measures, as part of our COVID-19 Secure Protocol, to ensure that we reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 to those using the Centre to the lowest possible practicable level. This will necessarily entail some changes to the way in which the Centre and our Practitioners operate that are outlined here.

Determining if an on-site therapeutic session is appropriate

  • In line with current Government guidelines, our professional therapeutic practitioners will be assessing with each individual client whether it is appropriate to offer on-site therapeutic sessions, with particular consideration given where individuals have been advised that they are clinically extremely vulnerable or for those who fall into the clinically vulnerable category.
  • In addition to the absence of symptoms to suggest infection we also require that there has been NO recent contact (within last 2 weeks) with someone who has been infected with Covid-19.
  • Although not presently compulsory, should we require that your practitioner needs to take your temperature on entering the building (non-contact thermometer), please confirm that this will be acceptable to you.

Arriving for your appointment

  • Clients will be asked to arrive as close as possible to their appointment time to minimise waiting. There will be no waiting area available in the Centre.
  • If you drive you should park on the Centre driveway and wait to be given access to the building by your practitioner.
  • Driving, walking or cycling to the Centre rather than using public transport, is preferable where possible. It is now a legal requirement to wear a face covering when using public transport.
  • Where a family member or friend has transported clients to their session their supporters should remain outside the Centre or return to collect them at the end of the session.
  • Clients are asked to bring as little as possible with them into the Centre and keep any coats and bags with them at all times. If you wish to have water during your session, please bring a water bottle.
  • Face masks should be worn on entering and leaving the Centre as well as kept on throughout the duration of your session unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it and if the individual is exempt from wearing one.  

 

  • There will be a ONE WAY SYSTEM operating at the Centre for client arrival and departure.
  • ENTRY for clients will be through the side entrance.
  • EXIT for clients will be through the front door.

 

  • Clients will be asked to wash their hands thoroughly using the downstairs bathroom on arrival. Sanitising hand wash, paper towels, and hand sanitiser are provided. You will also be asked to spray the bathroom sink and taps with an appropriate anti-bacterial spray after each use. On departure you will be asked to use hand sanitizer at the front door prior to exit.

Your appointment

  • A reduced number of therapy rooms at the Centre are currently open to limit contact with others. However, if you do find yourself meeting others in shared areas such as corridors and staircases, please observe social distancing as best you are able.
  • Each of our therapy rooms have been set up with two meter spacing between the client and practitioner chairs to maintain social distancing during conversation/talking therapy sessions. This is indicated by tape on the floor.
  • There is now also a minimum of a 15-minute buffer between clients to allow for cleaning and room preparation, enabling a period of ventilation and to help prevent overlap between clients.
  • All contact surfaces and common areas to include seating, surfaces, handrails, door handles, any equipment used and bathroom furnishings are regularly and thoroughly cleaned with an appropriate anti-bacterial spray cleaner.
  • All of our practitioners wash their hands thoroughly on arrival, after cleaning between clients and on their departure.
  • Centre staff will be completing daily checks and cleaning whilst the Centre is in use to ensure hygiene standards are maintained.
  • As per NHS guidance please avoid touching your face and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Clients are asked to make payments online where possible to avoid the exchange of cash or cheques.

Cancellations

  • If you, or anyone in your household or a support bubble of which you are part, develop any COVID-19 symptoms (see # below) you must not attend your session, you should cancel your appointment directly with your practitioner immediately and follow the latest government guidance.

# The main symptoms of coronavirus currently specified by the NHS are:

  1. high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
  2. new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  3. loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020

At the Elysia Therapeutic Centre your health, wellbeing, safety and security are our priority. We would like to re-assure all of our clients and visitors that we have complied with the Government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19.

  • We have carried out a thorough COVID-19 risk assessment for the Elysia Therapeutic Centre
  • We have developed a COVID-19 Secure Protocol to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 to the lowest reasonably practicable level through preventative measures in line with the latest Government guidelines
  • We have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with Government guidance
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to enable people to maintain a 2m distance in the Centre
  • Where people cannot be 2m apart, we have done everything practical to manage transmission risk

 Operating in this new way is a learning process for us all. We always welcome feedback to enable us to improve, so if there is anything that you would like to share or that concerns you, please speak to your practitioner or contact our Practice Manager, Annamaria Balog via email at [email protected]    

 or on 01384 392072.

 

 

Donation of thanks

Thank you for reading our summer newsletter and for your interest in giving us a donation of thanks.

For a one-off donation, please would you pay directly into the Elysia Centre’s account quoting Thank You as a reference.

Name: Elysia Therapeutic Centre Ltd. 
Account Number: 28894760
Sort Code: 309596

If you would like to make a regular monthly donation, please email Lindsey Garner [email protected] and she will arrange this with you.

Thank you so much for helping to keep the Centre’s pulse alive during this challenging time.

Warmest greetings

The Elysia Therapeutic Centre

The long road . . .

By Monika Horber, Rhythmical Massage Practitioner & Reflexologist

I would like to share with you the following extract from one of the books on my bookshelf; it might be helpful, especially in times like these, not to get overwhelmed but to find some orientation, perhaps even some peace.

Taken from the book “Momo” by Michael Ende; a conversation between Momo, a little girl, and her old friend Beppo, the road sweeper:

“You see, Momo, it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve got a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster, and every time to look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop – and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it. You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else. That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be. And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. What’s more, you aren’t out of breath. That’s important too.”

The “road” we are finding ourselves on is indeed a very long one and so may find ourselves asking: When we will be back to some kind of normality? And what will the new “normality” look like?

Nobody knows, really. Will it be as before or completely different?

In the meantime, we might also have plenty of things to worry about: How do I pay the bills? How can I keep myself and others safe? How are my parents, the elderly and friends with mental health difficulties, coping? Will I lose my livelihood? How can I stay sane in all this?…

There is of course also a lot of advice out there and some of it is indeed very helpful. However, one might not be able to take up the many suggestions, and might feel low in spite of all the good ideas.

There might be unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – when thinking about the future. Perhaps even guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness and all forms of non-forgiveness when thinking about the past…

What’s left is the present, the present day, the present activity, the present moment. Or in other words: the next broom stroke on the long road. Perhaps this is an opportunity like never before to connect with the present and in doing so to find some inner peace. What is important right now?

Not tomorrow, not yesterday but today. I consciously speak to a friend on the phone, prepare a meal from scratch or make sourdough bread for the first time; perhaps I go for a walk and see things that I have never noticed before. I might observe that I am breathing more deeply, feel more relaxed. I might even discover some new quality in my everyday life, rediscover things, I usually have no time for.

Simple things like arranging flowers and appreciating their colours and scents; going for a bike ride and noticing and enjoying the wind against my face and having a meaningful conversation with a neighbour…I might discover a richness in my life, albeit always being there, often unnoticed or covered up by countless tasks, plans and worries. I might feel more alive, after all, life happens in the present and not in the past nor in the future. I might find more contentment, joy, even happiness. And gratitude for all the things I have – and for life!

Life that is so rich, full of wonder, mind-blowingly beautiful and ingenious!

What else if not living fully in the present will equip me and give me the strength to face whatever comes towards me from the future?

Eurythmy – homecare

Connecting to yourself

In times of outer uncertainty and insecurity it is helpful to connect with ourselves in a deeper way to find inner peace and strength. Eurythmy movements can support us in this process. At the moment many of us spend more time than usual in front of computer screens. This can make us very head orientated and tight up in thoughts, which often result in tensions in our souls and bodies.

I will describe three simple exercises which can help us to relax tensions and to connect better with ourselves. After I have described an exercise I give suggestions how to deepen it.
It’s best to try one suggestion at the time not all together. This makes it easier to stay connected with the movements in a sensing/feeling rather than in a thinking way.
Important: When you have worked with the exercises allow yourself a few minutes of rest.

What you need
You need a stool or a chair without armrests which allows you to place your feet flat on the ground while sitting relaxed and upright. You need to be able to feel the soles of your feet touching the floor; to wear socks or slippers with thin soles would therefore be advisable.

Exercise One: Connecting with your feet

Important: Give yourself time to find a relaxed upright sitting position with your feet on the ground and your hands resting on your thighs. Breathe naturally.
Lift one leg just off the floor keeping the lower leg and foot relaxed. Then bring the foot slowly down again. The toes should touch the floor first. Then slowly connect the rest of the foot from the toe to the heel with the ground.

Try to connect as much as you can to the sensation of the sole of your foot touching the ground. Pause a moment when the heel has connected to the floor to sense how and what you can feel.

Alternating right and left foot repeat this exercise till you can feel the soles of your feet better than before.

Deepening the first exercise

– While you are actively engaged in this leg/foot movement try to keep shoulders and arms relaxed while the hands are still resting on your thighs.

– Allow yourself to become also aware of sensations in parts of your body which you are not moving actively.

Exercise Two: Helping the shoulder/neck area to relax

With your arms hanging down relaxed on your sides make a slow circling/round movement with your shoulders. Start lifting the shoulders up over the front and letting them come down over the back. You can slightly bend your upper body forward for the beginning of the movement.

Try to feel the phase when your chest is most expanded. Do the exercise a few times then try to feel the opening and moving together of your shoulder blades.

Deepening the second exercise

  • Imagine you are not actively lifting up your shoulders but they are lifted up and lowered down by a little wave. This can make your movement softer and smaller.
  • Try to experience the highest point, “the crest of this wave” as a transition. This is the moment when the movement which started in the front continues in the back. Try to sense as much as you can into this space behind you while the shoulders gently come down and relax. Rest a moment after each wave. You could imagine the water flowing down behind you to the ground.
  • If you like you can also imagine scooping up some of the worries of the day with this wave and let go of them in the back.

Exercise Three: Centre and Periphery

This exercise can be best done in standing, but if this is not easy you can also do it in sitting. Give yourself time to stretch and/or bend till you feel as comfortable as possible in your body. Then stand upright and relaxed with your feet slightly apart. (For many people the width of their hips is a good measure) Give yourself time to feel the connection of your feet to the floor and to sense that shoulders and arms are relaxed and you are breathing naturally.

Place your hands on your chest where you feel you are best connected to yourself. You can put both hands on top of each other or cross your arms over your chest. Give yourself time to find the gesture which works best for you.

Now slowly stretch your arms out to both sides horizontally with the palms looking downwards. Try to feel every moment of this process of expansion right into your fingertips.

Then slowly come back to the centre in the same mindful way. Experiment how you stretch your arms. Try to connect with the stretching activity through your collar bones, shoulders, upper arms, elbows into the lower arms hands and fingers.

Keep your shoulders as much as possible relaxed. We are all aware of our hands and the lower part of our arms. Connecting to shoulders and upper arms takes usually more inner effort. It is important that you stretch enough that you can enjoy the expansion. However, if you feel strained and tense in the horizontal position you are probably stretching too much.

If you like you can imagine spreading out your wings to fly and then coming back home to a place of safety. The image of wings being carried on the air might help you to expand in a relaxed way. You can also use an image of your own which you find helpful.

Repeat the exercise a few times.

Deepening the third exercise

  • Allow yourself to feel what happens in the rest of your body when you move your arms.
  • While you are actively moving into the periphery try to also be aware of your centre. When you are connecting to your centre try to sense also the periphery around you. 
  • Connect to your feet touching the ground during the exercise.
  • Instead of standing or sitting with your feet slightly apart experience the exercise with your feet firmly together.

A variation of the third exercise: The centre and a big peripheral circle
The upper part
Connect with your centre and expand your arms horizontally as before with your palms looking downwards. Then turn your arms so that your palms are looking upwards. Connecting to the periphery beyond your fingertips and keeping your shoulders as relaxed as possible let both stretched arms rise upwards till your fingertips meet over your head. Then by opening and lowering your arms come back into the horizontal and then to your centre. Keep the connection to your feet, especially when you are at the highest point.

The lower part
Expand your arms horizontally with your palms looking downwards. Then lower your stretched arms slowly till they are at the sides of your body. While you come down imagine your arms so long that your fingertips could touch the ground at the sides of your feet.
Then by opening and lifting your arms come back into the horizontal and then to your centre.

Deepening the variation of the third exercise

– Try to experience the different qualities of the upper and lower half circle.
– Does connecting to your centre feel different depending on if you come from above or below?
– How does it feel when your arms are expanding downward from the point above? How does it feel when your arms are expanding upwards from the ground below?

– Experience the whole circle without connecting to your centre between the upper and lower part. When you have come back to the horizontal from above, don’t go back to the centre but turn your palms downwards and continue to the lower part, and only when you come from there go back to the centre.

– Now experience the exercise starting with the lower part.

I hope you will find these exercises helpful. If by working with them questions arise, please feel very welcome to contact me via email.

Please also email me if you are new to Eurythmy and would like more information or a conversation how to access it.
Ursula Werner – Eurythmy Therapist  
Email: [email protected]