Together with the excellent crew at 'Your Living City' I am developing a series of articles about transitions and change from an international, professional and also personal perspective.
As I make the move back to Sweden from Holland, I share my hopes and fears, as well as the mental-health hacks that keep me sane. Eventually these topics will develop into shared experience workshops and talking circles. I hope the articles inspire you on your own journeys, be they on the inner or the outer plane.
If you are curious about by anything that I write, or if you have your own subjects you would like me to cover, then please feel free to contact me.
Almost twenty-five years ago I found myself in the emergency room at Södersjukhuset with a suspected ectopic pregnancy. It was my third ectopic and fifth miscarriage, and so you could say I was battle hardened. I had brought an exciting novel for the inevitable wait and settled down. I was feeling calm and knew what lay ahead. After ninety minutes a stressed, lightly panicked young doctor blew into my waiting suite and without saying hello snapped; “I’m sorry you had to wait but there are actually women having babies out there that I have to take care of.” This not being my first rodeo, I was able to calmly say; “that must be so much more fulfilling than dealing with pregnancy fuckups like me.”
Needless to say it stopped her in her tracks, brought her back into the present moment, and helped her to see that all the stress was hers, not mine. I was neither upset at her for waiting, nor hysterical about having an ectopic. We weren’t immediate best friends, but I hope that night she learned a lesson about taking a moment to get on the right wavelength with a patient. Or attuning, as we call it in psychology.
When a client walks into the room or comes into the Zoom space, we take a moment to feel into the mood of our client. It is part of the process of creating a safe space, consciously aligning our emotional field with theirs. Not just therapists, anyone working with people needs to practise this attunement, whether it be to the team that they are leading, the group they are facilitating, or in individual conversations. It doesn’t mean our own mood is not important, it’s justnotthe responsibility of the people that we’re caring for. This capacity creates a feeling of being seen and accepted. After all, it’s an age-old process by which we once, as tiny babies, were made to feel safe in the arms of our caregivers,or not.
The game of mirroring
Our early caregivers teach us how tobeand how todoby showing us. Holding a fork like this, putting your shoes on like that. A smile elicits a smile and sadness tight hug. From the moment we are born we absorb all these examples. Unless we are born neurodiverse and with some aspects of autism, in which case the path is different.