Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


Leave a comment

Trauma Training Notes

Out of Darkness Trauma 186930690Training

These notes are from a seminar I attended last summer on trauma. It is part of the on-going education I receive because I volunteer at Solomon House, a short-term recovery center for women who have been trafficked or prostituted. Bethany Blanco of Manna Treatment was the presenter. Just thought I’d share in case anyone else finds it helpful.

PERPETRATOR STRATEGY

  • Emotional and mental strategies make the most sense because they can’t be seen.
  • Exploitation of a victim’s vulnerabilities: take them out of their environment, isolation, fear law enforcement, insult, question them/raise questions, lies, hone in and emphasize vulnerabilities
  • Threats: violence, threat of harm is just as strong as harm, threats of harm to family or things/people they love, surrounding them with other scared women
  • Reward/punishment: showing some kindness to keep them coming back, the possibility of better, relationships form, fear keeps a dutiful slave, occasional violence
  • Praying on commitment: contract, commitment to family (as in they are providing for the victim), providing or caring for the victim’s children

VICTIM RESPONSE

  • Acceptance or dependence
  • Believe they aren’t good enough for anything else, undeserving
  • A lot of eating disorder victims have sexual abuse history
  • The chains are mental.
  • Learned helplessness
  • Reactive stance (How can I minimize the pain best, knowing this will be my situation?)
  • Identify with perpetrators and sympathize (gives them a weird sense of responsibility and control), genuine feelings of guilt, responsibility makes them feel like they could’ve prevented it, integrates into sense of self (Guilt is I did something wrong. Shame says I am wrong.)
  • Semblance of honor by fulfilling commitment
  • Destroys sense of self

RELATIONAL LESSONS

  • Am I worth loving? Are people safe? – These two questions give people a working model for relationships, starting when they are young. Mothers provide first model for this idea. Can be altered based on healthy or unhealthy relationships. This all forms how we relate to others. Social and biological components. Failure to thrive.
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog—book
  • Parts of the brain: reptilian (flight/flight, survival, instinct), mammalian (emotional center), human (logic, last to develop) — Trauma makes you live in reptilian center. It’s only based on response.
  • Be careful with touch until you have a trusting relationship because touch has not been positive for victims.
  • Be safe and consistent.
  • Logic is not very useful in the beginning because they can’t process it.
  • The person of the therapist brings the most success.
  • Being a safe person: know yourself, evaluate motives, examine your own story and find acceptance, learn to be nonreactive, allow them to be who they are without judging, understand that everything makes sense given the circumstance/history/experience/etc, trust the process and give it the time needed
  • After someone shares trauma, ask them how they’re feeling about it. Stay calm to keep them calm.
  • Be careful asking questions before they’re ready to share, and don’t let them share too much too fast.
  • “Grounding” helps people with severe flashbacks focus on the present.
  • Give them a vision for the future. Give them small tasks to build their self worth. Help them see new options. Add life skills.
  • Show them what healthy weakness looks like.


Leave a comment

We sit.

113723895Today was my first time volunteering over at Solomon House. What did I do? I sat. I watched a movie with the newest resident, a sweet girl in need of love, care and a fresh start. I’m really good at watching movies, so I fit right in. And turns out we both like Will Smith.

It wasn’t glamorous or full of deep life-changing conversation. We exchanged a few words, but not much. After a little time passes, she might not even remember I was the one there with her. And all that’s ok. She is beginning her time of restoration, and it’s a slow process. She needs to take baby steps, and if that means sleeping in and getting up to a movie, that’s totally fine. It sounds a lot like my Saturday mornings, in fact, so I highly recommend. For her, it’s a move toward normalcy and there’s a lot to be said for that, especially coming out of prostitution.

As we were sitting there, a scene from the movie Lars and the Real Girl came to mind. If you’ve never seen it, you must do so immediately. It’s a darling of a movie, and more people should know about it. There are probably easily 100 lessons that could be learned from that film, but this one has popped into my head on a number of occasions.

In the scene, it’s a time of mourning for Lars. A few women from his church come over to bring him some food and be of comfort to him. To be honest, it’s not a big part of the movie. Most people probably wouldn’t remember it. It’s this tiny, little conversation before and after bigger incidents. but it’s the one that stuck with me the most for some reason.

Sally: We brought casseroles.

Lars: Thank you.

Lars: [Lars looks around the sewing circle. The three ladies are knitting and doing needlepoint] Um, is there something I should be doing right now?

Mrs. Gruner: No, dear. You eat.

Sally: We came over to sit.

Hazel: That’s what people do when tragedy strikes.

Sally: They come over, and sit.

On the way over to the house this morning, I prayed that God would give me the words to speak that would encourage and comfort her. It turns out, all I needed to do was sit. I wasn’t at a loss for words, they just weren’t needed. I only needed to be present. She’s been lonely, and needs to know people care about her and believe she can make it through this difficult transition. I think sometimes we try too hard to come up with the right things to say when people are hurting, but mostly, the best thing we can do is be there for them. Sometimes our intentions can make the most difference.

Other women will be visiting her throughout the upcoming week. I imagine every visit will be a little different. Some of those may very well be the deep, life-changing conversations. They may be encounters that she remembers for the rest of her life. They may be done by women who will stay in her life for years to come. But this morning she wanted to watch a movie, so that’s what I did.

I was there. I was present. I was there if she wanted to talk, and I was there if she didn’t. And I’m really looking forward to going back and doing it all over again. If needed, I’ll sit again.

(By the way, if you care to donate to Solomon House, the items most needed at the moment are: PJs, bras, Celebrate Recovery Bibles, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, His Princess by Sheri Rose Shepherd, and gift cards to things like grocery stores, movies, restaurants, etc.)


1 Comment

Donations Needed for Solomon House

148166849Recently I’ve started working with a second organization on a volunteer basis called Solomon House, a division of Out of Darkness Atlanta. Because I’ve spent so much time with past abolitionist organizations working on outreach and education, I wanted to round out my experience on the other side of the issue, including rescue, recovery and rehabilitation. Solomon House is a short-term transitional facility for women leaving prostitution. (Note: Prostitutes have often been prosecuted for their actions, however, this is changing. A more aggressive legal approach is being made to prosecute pimps rather than prostitutes as many of them did not enter it willingly. They are often trafficked or enslaved through force or coercion.) Once rescued from the streets, which is done of their own free will in deciding they are ready to leave “the business” and enter into recovery, the Out of Darkness team takes them to Solomon House. There they wait to be placed into a long-term recovery program.

Because my schedule is pretty hectic leading up to The Orange Conference, my efforts are minimal right now. But one of the things I can easily do for them is to collect items they need. These women often come off the streets with nothing, and are just learning a routine of normalcy. You and I can create a more stable environment for them with just a few things from our everyday life.

Here is a list of items I’m continually collecting, so if you’ve got anything to donate, please let me know. And if you aren’t in the Atlanta area, I have no doubt there are places like this near you that need help.

  • Gently used women’s clothes, accessories, bras, shoes
  • Small suitcases
  • Baskets, like small laundry baskets
  • Totes for carrying their things into long-term recovery
  • Note cards and stationary
  • Journals
  • Life Recovery Bibles
  • Devotional books
  • Books: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers or Captivating by John & Tracey Eldridge
  • Pens
  • Full-sized toiletry items like toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush/toothpaste, face moisturizer, razors, sanitary pads and tampons
  • Hair brush/comb
  • Socks
  • New underwear
  • Bedroom slippers
  • Full sized towels, hand towels and wash cloths
  • Pillows
  • PJ’s
  • Twin sheets and blankets
  • Treats: hard candy, tea, chocolate, etc.
  • Gift cards for Solomon House groceries

It takes approximately $5,400 to put one woman through this process of recovery. With just a little help from each of us, we can make a big difference. One woman’s life is worth it.