What a year so far.....
It's been an eventful year what with one thing and another, and personal life has been a challenge for me so far, hence the silence! A broken foot in March certainly didn't help, and things went downhill from then on. Still, it's given me a chance to exercise some of the self compassion I'm so fond of talking about........practice what I preach and all that:-)
My medical trauma private practice is continuing to thrive and in May I signed up to the first certified medical trauma course available in the world (as far as I'm aware), written by my clinical supervisor, Professor Michelle Flaum. Author of 'Managing the psychological impact of medical trauma' she developed this degree equivalent course at Xavier University, Ohio, and I'm their first British student. It's face paced, on-line and very informative, and I'm loving every moment.
Our secondary breast cancer groups 'In this 2gether' led by myself and taken by colleagues Andi in N Wales, Carys in W Wales and myself in SE Wales are also growing in recognition especially as Macmillan nurses are now in place in Carmarthenshire, Cardiff & Vale and Cwm Taff. N Wales is still a challenge for us, which is frustrating for the patients in this area.
That's it for now, more news coming next year:-)
Another year is coming to a close.....
It's been a while since writing my last blog; time seems to run away with me and work has been super busy!
My private work for medical trauma is growing and I'm receiving referrals from Europe as well as the UK, one of the benefits of on-line working. Whilst it's wonderful for me to help as many as possible who have symptoms of medical trauma it's also sad to hear how this is still becoming unrecognised as a trauma in it's own right that can have considerable psychological effects on one's quality of life. I'm hoping to begin an 8 month training programme next May with the University of Ohio, the first official post graduate training for medical trauma in the world, run by my clinical supervisor Professor Flaum Hall. This is so exciting; the aim is to form a conglomerate of specialist medical trauma psychotherapists across the globe, offering education and information to patients and clinicians in order to generate more awareness of this experience.
Our quest for better psychological support for metastatic breast patients in Wales continues with educational and emotional support groups being run in SE, W and N Wales, supported by Moondance and Macmillan. Clinicians have kindly offered workshops on-line which have been incredibly helpful, in areas such as imaging, exercise, clinical trails and coming soon we hope, psychosexual health and the menopause.
We are also developing a support service for those with a primary breast cancer diagnosis .......watch this space.
It's been a challenging year once again for many of us. Wishing you a peaceful, healthy and happy Christmas and New Year break with friends, family and yourself. .....especially your self:-)
Life has been moving at a fast pace, yet also feels slow, a little like wading through treacle! We have new and exciting projects happening funded by Moondance and in association with Macmillan. Our North Wales 'In this 2gether' secondary breast cancer group will begin in September, joining our Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen and South Wales groups. We continue to offer an advocacy service for these ladies, and Macmillan have agreed to fund secondary breast nurses through all Health Trusts in Wales over the next few months which is a service long overdue. A primary breast cancer project is also on the horizon, and next year I'm going back to Uni, on-line in the US! More news coming soon:-)
2022 so far....
It still feels as though the months pass by so quickly, then suddenly another year has gone......and here we are into Spring 2022.
Medical trauma and drawing awareness to it is more the focus this year, as both private clients and my groups include many instances of feeling ignored and unheard by their clinicians. My intention is to look at how we can educate clinicians to have a greater awareness of the psychological impact of a diagnosis or surgical procedure and how we can work in a more collaborative way with our patients going forward. My secondary breast cancer groups in association with Macmillan are being run in SE Wales and W Wales and it is hoped N Wales will be running by the Summer of this year. I'm also keeping everything crossed for involvement in a new project for those with a primary diagnosis......watch this space!
New support for those living with secondary breast cancer....
In association with Macmillan, Heart 2 Hart Solutions are now working with secondary breast cancer patients across Wales, offering therapeutic emotional support in a group format. Groups are currently being run on-line and face-to-face where safe, in Cardiff, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, with others to follow in North Wales and Powys. This is an exciting project and we are thrilled to be taking part in offering such vital support.
I am also focusing on one-to-one support for those living with medical trauma, and continuing my funding applications for 'Cake & Counsel'.....watch this space!
2021 and the future!
This year has certainly not started as many of us would have liked! Remote working, lockdown measures in place, the Winter has felt endless.....
I've still been busy. Supporting my secondary breast cancer ladies has continued to be a delight as sadly the charity Breast Cancer Now withdrew support from Wales. It's exciting to announce a new project under the Macmillan umbrella, setting up a new group therapy service across Wales for those living with secondary breast cancer. The needs of women with metastatic breast cancer in Wales are so different from those in England and communication and collaboration with our fabulous group members has already begun.
In addition, funding options are still being sought for educational group therapy, for those living with chronic health conditions or medical trauma. Watch this space.......!
And still supporting those with personal trauma via zoom. Planning to return to face-to-face therapy mid April.......fingers crossed!
As the end of this year approaches I'd like to reflect on the challenges we've all faced over the last 9 months, and how many of us have struggled with isolation, not seeing family and friends and lack of structure and routine. My work with those experiencing medical trauma, and those living with a terminal or incurable condition has shown me how marginalised and ignored they feel. Having a voice should be encouraged not frowned upon, and feeling listened to and heard can be enormously empowering. Let's hope that as we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021 we can eventually return to some kind of normality and continue to make a difference with the exciting prospect of incorporating education and knowledge into new planned projects. Warmest wishes for a Christmas spent with those you love.
Pooh & Piglet
Face to face therapy resumes on 20th October 2020
I am pleased to be returning to face to face therapy with clients from 20th October at the Cyncoed Consulting Rooms. All covid measures have been put in place and government guidelines adhered to. Government permission has been granted for those who need to leave their area for any physical or mental health needs. Please email for more information on the protocol in place that must be adhered to. I look forward to meeting with you again........
The potential for medical PTSD
As we continue to emerge from lockdown and are facing new experiences, the psychological impact can be quite frightening for some. Many of us are faced with an increase in our emotional base rate, where our bodies have become accustomed to a slight raise in anxiety levels, meaning we may be more hyper vigilant or reactive to certain situations. My Clinical Supervisor who I'm collaborating with on my research and knowledge of medical trauma has published an interesting piece on the possibility of medical PTSD or PTS symptoms that could arise in some from their covid hospitalisation. This of course doesn't imply everyone who has been hospitalised through covid would share this experience. But it's worth paying attention to in the context that knowledge is power. Having an understanding of why we may feel a certain way can have a normalising effect, as well as being a helpful coping mechanism.