Hi guys. It's Dr. Kris here. I'll tell you exactly what's going through my head and why I think this is a very good time for you to do a therapy intensive.
Seriously. I know that this is a very, very, VERY difficult time for most people. I also know that I am introducing a new kind of therapy model to our community, and the idea of coming in for several hours of therapy in one week may seem a little nuts. But, *is* it, really? Today I'm going to get very real with you, for the first time ever, and I'm going to tell you about my own experience with Intensive Therapy. You will see why I am so passionate about offering it to you. It is a bit of a read. You may need to get out your glasses, maybe a cup of tea, tuck in, and get comfortable. I hope that my story may be helpful or inspiring to you. I also hope you are okay with me using the word "sh*t." If you're not, skip to the end.
Why are you Offering Intensive Therapy?
Ok. I'll get right to the point. I'm offering Therapy Intensives at my clinic right now because, not only am I the Clinic Director, but I am also a Therapy Intensive client.
Yes, that's right. I cannot tell you enough how Therapy Intensives have helped me. My therapy intensives have given me more traction over my emotional pain than years of talk therapy. Over the last year, I have personally invested in therapy intensives and it has been SO transformational, SO effective, and SO life-altering for me, that I immediately ventured to train with several of the world's leading experts in how to get the same results for my clients.
I have trained, studied, and mastered the process, and now I am offering it to you.
Why was I going to my own Therapy Intensives?
To be honest, I've always had this feeling that I was trying to keep a deep feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness at bay. It was a lot worse when I was smaller, and for the most part once I was out of my family home and more "in charge" of my own life, things got a lot better, but I was still much more vulnerable than I wanted to be to episodic and intense collapses into sadness, feeling like I had *no* energy, feeling like I couldn't get anything "right," having a very hard time if a relationship or a friendship ended badly, basically feeling completely "not good enough," and having a hard time righting myself again after one of these collapses occurred.
I didn't know exactly why I was experiencing such intensely bad episodes when they happened, but I certainly had a few ideas. I've been a longtime attendee of my own personal therapy - I have gone for therapy on and off since I was about fourteen. Don't get me wrong - therapy was really good for me at times I was feeling down and terrible, and I'm so deeply grateful for the amazing humans who supported me over the years. But, there were times that, even with the therapy, I still felt really, really bad.
And once I connected with that deep well of hopeless sad muck, it almost seemed like, despite practicing what I'd preach as a therapist, despite reaching out for help, despite doing a thought record or trying to go for a jog, I'd just have to wait it out. I also had very real sharp physical pain and profound exhaustion most of these times, and these pain experiences often were so bad I couldn't stand up long enough to wash a few dishes, never mind go for a walk. Sometimes I'd just have mini-episodes, with only the physical pain, or only that familiar feeling of "I just gotta lie down" exhaustion. Many times, these physical or emotional reactions didn't make any sense and I'd wonder if I had a really bad illness, or if I was looking at chronic fatigue syndrome, or maybe even a physical illness that was much worse. All I could do was wait for it to subside. Usually for me, sleeping a LOT was the best approach, and then without warning, I'd just wake up and feel 100% able to function again. I had no idea when or why this would occur, or when it would remit.
Why was this happening to me? On paper, everything in my life was looking good. Sure, life is challenging, my house is nearly always a friggin' disaster, I eat too much carbohydrate, and I really find it super stressful when my kids are mean to each other, but, that's normal, isn't it?
My Answer was Unexpectedly Revealed
I was in California early last year working on learning how to do a relatively new type of trauma treatment related to eye positions (Brainspotting, or BSP for short) and we were supposed to pick things that we found "activating" and work on them in pairs, to practice what we were learning. I picked "Appearance Issues," as being a mom of two kids, in my 40's, without enough time to sleep or exercise makes me feel less than fantastic about my post-partum midsection droop. Except, all of a sudden, while working on feeling like my physique wasn't what I'd wanted - I reconnected with the deep sad, the physical pain, the physical exhaustion.
Um, HOLD THE PHONE. Isn't this stupid trauma treatment supposed to help you feel better? Why was I working on shame about my love handles, but moving into this deep well of sad that I've been trying to stay away from my whole life?
I didn't understand what was happening at first, but with the proper guidance from my course instructors, I soon found out that the answer as to why this was happening was early, early trauma.
Developmental Trauma - Often Underlying, Rarely Recognized
All of these difficult episodes, the worthless, hopeless feelings that I couldn't really fight my way through - it was trauma! The physical pain and exhaustion? Those were flashbacks.
Holy shit! I had PTSD??
O. M. G. -- I *do*. I have PTSD!!
How could I be a psychologist and not know that I had PTSD?!
This really blew my mind for a little while, but, the reality was that these reactions were familiar - they were what I had known since before I knew how to think, crawl, or talk. This was trauma that happened to me as a baby, as a child, and in many smaller and not so small ways the traumas continued in relationships with caregivers and important others as I did my best to grow up while navigating a very unhappy environment.
Sadly, my initial caregivers, trauma victims themselves, were not properly equipped to be able to love or care to others in ways that met basic needs for physical health and good emotional development. My nervous system held my PTSD in check, as best as it could, but, then there were times I'd "collapse" into PTSD flashbacks because something meaningful caused aninvoluntaryreaction - my body and my emotional centres reacted like they did when I was a baby and my life was in danger.
NONE of this was under my voluntary control.
This happened despite all the years of therapy, all my best efforts, and knowing all the therapy how-to's and where-for's.
I was doing nothing to cause these things to happen, but the reality was that I could also not prevent them from happening, either.
It kept happening because some of the very terrible things that happened to me, that left me feeling deeply alone, hopeless, or like I was going to die, were lodged in my body - in my nervous system - and from time to time they would be activated and I would involuntarily re-experience the same pain, without knowing at all that this was what was happening. It happened because I had preverbal trauma, which is something that conventional talk therapy simply hasn't figured out how to treat, and which is something most mental health professionals have never been trained to address.
What is so Special about Your Intensive Therapy Service?
So, the simple answer is that the Intensive Therapy service at Limestone Clinic can get to these deeply held processes that other therapies don't.
I am living proof.
I have travelled to another country to attend approximately 13 hours of intensive services in total over two sessions that occurred about eight months apart. Since I wasn't able to travel for another intensive when it was needed, I also did online video-based therapy for an additional 6 follow-up treatments of duration 1-1.5 hours each. For me, the total number of hours of intensive treatment I needed was about 20. I can guarantee you that I have spent at least 100 times that in talk therapy previous to this. I don't even want to think about all the money I have spent before finding the model that was most effective for me! Zoinks!
And there is a happy ending - I no longer have PTSD. I no longer have flashbacks, collapses, or deep, profound emotional pain. When something activates me in an emotionally painful way, I have options that help me feel better much more quickly, and I can usually keep any such strong response from happening in the first place if I sense that my body is feeling an urge to protect me. I am also much, much better in tune with my internal experiences. And, I like myself, for the first time in my life. It's about friggin' time!!
I really want the same possibilities for you.
Why isn't this Weekly Therapy?
It is possible to have one-hour treatment sessions using this approach if that is more suited to you, but regular ongoing weekly therapy with me isn't available, for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, I really want you to hear me when I say that the therapy works best in a handful of longer appointments relative to several shorter ones, where it may be necessary to end the appointment before a substantial shift in the target emotion or physical issue has been achieved. I want you to leave having had a substantial change, whenever possible, and I want you to require fewer treatment sessions and fire my ass because you're feeling so much better. You can always do another intensive again at some point in the future if you need it.
Finally, due to my need to manage the clinic and to swap-out parenting time with the present school closures and my husband's business schedule, I can't be available on a regular basis for ongoing therapy. My weeks can vary and my days are so full that I can't be as available as would be necessary in a longer-term therapy commitment.
If you feel you need longer-term therapy, I can offer you therapy intensive appointments while you work with a weekly therapist who can attend to your ongoing needs. Therapy Intensives work really well as a regular therapy add-on or as a therapy "booster" - it needn't be either one or the other.
How to Get Started
If you have been waiting to work with me, I will be offering free 15-20 minute intake appointments to give you an opportunity to connect with me by phone and help you to decide if this feels like a "right fit" for you.
Requests to work together will be explored on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please head on over to my Therapy Intensives webpageto review the information I have collected there if you are curious to learn more. Those seeking intensive therapy with very serious mental health issues may be required to be participating in regular psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional to ensure ongoing symptom care and management during the intensive therapy treatment. This is for optimal care and safety, as my schedule does not permit for crisis management.
Please be advised that we may need to limit the number of applications and interviews to work with me at this time in order to avoid having disappointed interviewees if appointment spots fill up very rapidly.
Thanks for hanging in to the end. What did you think about my personal story? Was it helpful to you at all? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.