08/04/08 Bill Van Schie CMCCAA Abundant Life Counselling Mt Evelyn - Subject: A workshop on treating PTSD
"Self Blaming" leading into building a healthy "Self-Esteem" which can be applied to a number of situations.
10/06/08 Gail Pratley - Subject: Spiritual Abuse - An overview of the nature of Spiritual Abuse and its effects;
Difficulties on exiting a group;
Discussion on strategies to aid the recovery process.
14/10/08 Richard Araya-Bishop - "Dual Relationships"
09/12/08 Christmas Breakup
Report of CCAV Meeting at 35 Church St Woori Yallock on Tuesday April 8, 2008 at 8 pm.
Guest Speaker: Bill Van Schie.
Bill maintains that depression is related to self-blaming, which often occurs as a result of childhood experiences.
An Imaginative Exercise: Bill got us to pretend that we came from a dysfunctional family. There was a lot of fighting and our parents split up when we were 10 years old. Our parents’ relationship was loud with arguing. There was no joy and much tension. Dad would yell and we became our mother’s protector, trying to make her happy. She would tell us her troubles. Dad was jealous of our relationship with Mum.
How Would We Feel About Ourselves In That Situation? Bill asked us this question and we gave the following responses:
• not good enough
What Did You Do To Cope With Those Feelings? Our responses were as follows:
• Isolate self
• Continue to defend Mum
• Be vigilant
• Crying, sadness
What Would You Think When You Looked At All That?
We could see that we would make the judgment, ‘I’m pretty messed up’.
How Much Of That Are You Still Doing Today?
Maybe extreme control and extreme order, for example won’t go to any new places until have checked them out first. One’s partner and children can be affected and the older we get, the harder it gets because life becomes more complicated. This person has lost their identity and can easily become depressed.
Challenge The Habitual Way Of Thinking:
Children see themselves as the centre of their world. Therefore, if the environment is dysfunctional, they will see themselves as being to blame. The real person is hidden behind this blame. The adult needs to realise what has happened. They are not damaged goods but have got into a habit of thinking wrongly about themselves. Habits can be discarded. (All this can be done in one counselling session).
A Film To Reinforce:
For homework, it is suggested that the client watch the film Goodwill Hunting. The turning point in the film is when the character realises it is not his fault.
Bill says, ‘Imagine you are applying to me for a job and are writing your CV. What is there in your character/ personality that would make some want to employ you? List also your talents and faith resources’. (Non-Christians can list values/ beliefs resources).
It’s Not About Me:
When old feelings and thoughts return (eg ‘I’m not good enough’), affirm ‘It’s not about me’. (We mostly work from our adult strengths but under stress we may become the little child dealing with an adult situation. That little child will shrink when we explain who we really are).
Who We Really Are:
The clients need to know how God sees them, for example by reading Psalm 139. Bill tells both Christian and non-Christian clients how God sees them.
Gail Pratley has had experience in primary and secondary teaching (maths, computing and English), has taught in a jail and also been involved in drug rehab work. She is qualified in Theology and has a M. Counselling from Kingsley College. Gail’s preferred work is teaching and her teaching skills were evident as she led us in an interesting discussion about spiritual abuse.
What is Spiritual Abuse?
It is the abuse of power in Christian or other religious circles. It is leaders not caring for those in their charge but exploiting them for their own purposes. It is legalism, control and manipulation, and includes a culture of inappropriate, public confession, jargon which attempts to control the way people think, and humiliation.
Who is Vulnerable
To our surprise we learned that those who join such a group do not always conform to the stereotypes we might think of. In fact, they are often of above average intelligence, leaders, curious, idealistic and risk takers. But they also want to be liked and have moments when they doubt their ability to succeed.
We tried to think what it would be like to counsel someone who had been through the experience of spiritual abuse. They would often need help with grief and depression, even suicidal thoughts, symptoms akin to those of PTSD (hyper-vigilance, intrusive thoughts, nightmares etc), a whole range of emotions from embarrassment at ‘being so stupid’, identity issues etc. Then there is the emptiness they would feel as they leave the group, which has taken up so much of their lives, behind them.
We were grateful to Gail for such a wide ranging discussion about a phenomenon which is all too common in the church.
Bio: Judy Wilkie is an American Aussie ordained by Elim Fellowship USA who came to Melbourne in 1994 to teach Counselling and Christian Studies at Tabor College Victoria. She met and married Rob, whom she now helps pastor Living Hope Christian Community, a church they started in Boronia in 2003. She has counselled at Urban Life Church in Ringwood since 1996, and is registered with the Christian Counselling Association and the Victorian Association of Family Therapists. She completed her Doctor of Ministry through Fuller Seminary in 2006 and has special interests in culture and relationships, healing of trauma, and Christian discipleship.
"Identifying Cultural Contributions in Counselling": Individuals are not just members of families but of many kinds of groups: gender, age, ethnicity, faith, occupational, and so on. These memberships combine in unique ways to create complex identity and relational identifications, worldview lenses by which experiences are interpreted, and the contexts in which events happen. This further affects the counselling relationship, its setting, and what will be perceived or experienced as helpful. This evening will seek to raise our awareness around these issues and help us identify our growth points.