My Glass Shield
Please note :This post may upset some people who have been affected in their life by suicide.
I’m big believer in sharing my life experience with people.
In my day-to-day therapy sessions I can see anything from client who wish to stop smoking though to less pleasant things, trust me there is not a lot I’ve not heard in my room.
What I believe makes me a good therapist is the ability to step away emotionally when I need to but still have a real understanding and empathy for the client.
I find this is the best way for me as I can see things more clearly and as it should be from a neutral perspective. I do this by having an imaginary glass shield between me and the client(in my mind) which allows me the see, hear and help the client without getting unconsciously draw in. It is very important not too get to involved and personal with situation or it will cloud judgement and the therapy will not be as successful.
Well sometime client have had a very upsetting and traumatic event that they want help with so although I want to help them 100% I have to be careful. This is not cold or uncaring but a safety net for me. I can still help and care for the client but from a safe position thus allowing myself and client to process the experience the best they can.
How does it help me?
I going to tell you a true story which happened on Wednesday 07/10/2012. Please note this is NOT a nice subject.
I had just got up at 08:30am and my front door bell rang. Stood at the door was a worried looking man dressed in a high visual tabard and muddy work boots. He asked me “Have you seen Mark” my neighbour from next door. I replied “Not for a few days”.
He said Mark had not turned up for work today and also never rang in which he always had done in the past. They worked for a local company delivering skips.
He told me he had knocked on the door and there was no answer.
Did I notice anything unusual? I said Mark garage light was on late but as he owned and raced car I thought he was messing around as he normally did when he got home from work. It was normal for him to work late into the evenings some times to prepare the car for the next race meeting.
We agreed we should go over my garden wall all see if we can see anything though the kitchen window, at which point we saw the garage light still on. I agreed to go and take a look in the garage. I knocked, no answer?
I said l will go in, the second I opened the door I was hit by the fumes from a car. I thought this doesn’t smell great. I was right. I told myself to put my “glass shield” up and switch off go into therapy mode, just in case! As I entered the garage there was a plastic sheet over the entrance. I pulled this back and looked around. I saw Mark in the corner of the garage on the floor. He was very still. I couched down and said his name, nothing. I gave him a little shove, again nothing. I checked his neck and wrist for a pulse and notice how cold he was. No pulse.
I was more than aware of his mate now inside the garage door, as he asked “Is he O.K.?” I said I had found him and to call 999 for the ambulance and police. “Is he bad?” I said something like “I want you to be aware you are calling 999 because we have too. Not to help him, he is not going to get any worse and looks very peaceful. There is nothing more we can do for him now” I needed the lad to process the fact that Mark had passed and still call on the phone. I said we should leave and wait outside for the police etc.
Mark had taken his life. The crime scene investigators confirmed this Mark had gassed himself using the car (I think). I never heard the car on the previous night which normally I can, it’s a loud race car?
The police and ambulance arrived within a few minutes and confirmed what we already knew. He had been dead for many hours, maybe 12. Rigour mortis had set in already.
Over the next few hours people came and went and finally the family came to pay their respects and mourn in each other’s arms. I passed on my condolences and went into my house.
Sometime we all need a glass shield and be honest I’m glad I have mine some days!
I’m now checking myself daily for signs of trauma or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I know it can pop out and bite me on the arse if I ignore it. I am very aware of the signs as I’ve seen it as a therapist many times and have taken training course on the subject I’ve asked the people around me to watch and keep an eye on me. If I see, hear or feel anything I’m not happy with I will be straight over my friend and mentors house and process it using a technique called EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which I use myself on clients among other very powerful therapy tools.
I know this wasn’t a happy post but thought it was an important one to write.
If you are suffering from any form of Trauma or PTSD please contact someone and get the help you need.