My Students and A Bit of “Light” Reading

I am sitting with my student Michael.  We are doing a quick write.  I am tired. This is my usual mantra these days.  I have lots of students, back to back, right now, which is not, by the way, how I usually work. During other times of the year, I mix up my day with a variety of activities and then usually only see students in a block of three hours.  That way I am not too tired when I am working with them and also I have other things I accomplish during the day.  But right now with deadlines looming for college entrance essays, term papers, and thesis chapters, I am a bit more stretched or, more aptly said, glued to my big overstuffed chair here in the den. I literally have been sitting here since 7:30 this morning and it is now 6:15 pm.  I will remain here tonight until after my last student, who will finish at 9:30 pm.

I don’t recommend this type of approach to work as a routine way to live. In fact, I would be the first to say this is not a particularly healthy way to live. One walk around the block at 10:30 at night with my dogs does not constitute enough exercise for a day and peanut butter sandwiches gobbled down in-between students is not the best diet. Alas, I am very aware this is a temporary condition and then my life will right itself. I would venture to say that the week of Thanksgiving will bring much of this craziness to a close since my goal for all my students is to have all essays due by November 30th completed by the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, November 21st. Since today is the 8th, the end is in sight. So, here’s to a few more long days and nights before I get to enjoy a big family holiday at the orange grove.

Our Thanksgiving will be a four-day campout in Ojai with a big Thanksgiving dinner cooked on Friday. We have been doing this for the past several years so that friends and family who have other places to go on the “real” Thanksgiving can still come celebrate with us. With family coming from Utah for the occasion, this is one of those special events that ends up being a highlight of the year for me.  So, that’s what I’m thinking about when I feel my rear-end getting wider from all this sitting. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

We are now writing for ten more minutes (Michael’s suggestion since he’s not finished with his thoughts from the first quick write!).  I have to think about what else I have to say.  Hmmm.  I did mention I was tired, right?  Yes, well, let’s see.  What else…

I have been reading segments of a book that one of my college students recommended entitled, Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship by Laurence Heller Ph.D. and Aline Lapierre, Psy.D.  This book focuses on the NeuroAffective Relationship Model (NARM), which uses mindfulness as a healing process.  I haven’t read a lot so far but what I have read discusses the residual effects of early trauma in our lives and how we carry these experiences with us into our adult lives. This book presents strategies for dealing with knee-jerk behavior patterns that are a result of this early trauma, which we may have outgrown as our lives, circumstances and psyches have changed.  I am intrigued and will share more as I get deeper into the book. Here is the blurb on the book jacket that describes its purpose:

Written for those working to heal developmental trauma and seeking new tools for self-awareness and growth, this book focuses on conflicts surrounding the capacity for connection. Explaining that an impaired capacity for connection to self and to others and the ensuing diminished aliveness are the hidden dimensions that underlie most psychological and many physiological problems, clinicians Laurence Heller and Aline LaPierre introduce the NeuroAffective Relational Model® (NARM), a unified approach to developmental, attachment, and shock trauma that, while not ignoring a person’s past, emphasizes working in the present moment. NARM is a somatically based psychotherapy that helps bring into awareness the parts of self that are disorganized and dysfunctional without making the regressed, dysfunctional elements the primary theme of the therapy. It emphasizes a person’s strengths, capacities, resources, and resiliency and is a powerful tool for working with both nervous system regulation and distortions of identity such as low self-esteem, shame, and chronic self-judgment.

I will write more about this when I know more.

I hope you’re having a lovely, relaxed and restful evening.

I’ll be checking back in with you again tomorrow.

trauma book


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