Coaching for Nurses & Social Workers
'Mental Health' Wellness Coaching for Individuals & Groups of Psychiatric Nurses and Social Workers involved in supporting people experiencing extreme states of emotional / mental health.
I have been offering education and 'care for the carer' services for clinicians for the past five years in Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and the UK.
These events came about because of personal contacts, that cut through the 'hierarchies' and 'barriers to sanity' that exist within our culture.
So an influential psychotherapy teacher in Switzerland, a Brazilian psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse and nursing professor I met while training in Mindfulness and a clinical psychologist they introduced me to in London facilitated me taking the floor, with their peers and students.
And from them I have met other clinicians, who have been interested in my work and I've had the opportunity to speak 1-1 with some of them.
What they all had in common was an open mind and warm heart. Along with a desire to see mental health care evolve to be more effective in supporting patients to recover.
I am still interested in this presentation / workshop style work, but what I want to offer here is personal one to one and small group coaching services for psychiatric nurses and social workers.
Psychiatric Nurses & Social Workers
My first contact with a psychiatric nurse was at a Spiritual Crisis Network meeting in London in 2008.
I felt a sense of compassion towards the male nurse for reaching out beyond his clinical working world and wanted to offer some insight into what was happening, at least for me, during a 'psychosis'. So I chose to publically share a little of my story for the first time in my life, an extremely anxiety provoking experience.
Since then I have met many nurses, mostly in Brazil, Switzerland and Italy.
The one's who came to me, had a good heart and wanted to do their work well, but they were becoming burnt out and frustrated with the limitations put on them in their work.
One person I liked very much, finally gave up and took a job supporting refugees instead, as she could no longer be true to herself and continue doing the work in the way it was being required of her.
Too much emphasis was placed on paperwork and non-helpful bureaucracy. Too little opportunity was supported to engage with the patients in a human way or organise therapeutic activities like drama or dance. Human things which bring lightness to the life and take away the pain.
I really enjoyed a post-graduate teaching session with experienced nurses at Supsi Medical University in Ticino. We had so much to discuss regarding what the patients were experiencing and how best to connect with them. There was a palpable enthusiasm to engage which I appreciated enormously.
But still there was a strange sense to me of the staff having really no idea what the people they spent time with were experiencing inside. I don't blame them in any way. This is part of the wider problem as I perceive it.
They were not encouraged to have human contact with the patients and were caught up in ideas about the people. "How do the schizophrenic people feel...", as one nurse asked, with a question content which seemed less important than his revelation of how solidly he identified with this concept of the schizophrenic being.
Another asked whether using ice-water soaked blankets on the patients is a good idea? I think the question wasn't based on practices they were using locally - I hope not.
On a practical level, the compassionate touch connection practices I teach are ideal to share amongst staff to strengthen the team well-being and resilience and possibly eventually they could be shared with the patients.
Either way they will help you to connect more effectively with the patients, even without cognitive communication. It would definitely change the feeling in the hospital.
My feeling is that psychiatric nurses and social workers are the clinical roles that can potentially make the greatest difference in helping people to recover from extreme states.
I was happy to read a report from two New York policeman who had attended a Zen & Compassion training taught by someone else. To their amazement they found once they related to their prospective prisoners with an inner compassionate response, there was much less violence towards them and they felt better about their work. They still had to do their job and arrest people, but it was not the same experience.
Anyway, whether as individual coaching or as a group, I would be very happy to do what I can to help.
Caring for the Carer
Vicarious trauma may be a risk when working with people experiencing extreme emotional suffering, but I think compassionate meeting is an antidote to this, along with mature sensitivity to your own needs, emotions and limitations and sufficient time for practices to rebalance yourself.
When you are able to meet people in authentic compassion, face the emotional pain together, cry a bit together and do something, even if small to help the life showing up through them to shine a little brighter, then this work is a joy and privilege. And you yourself will be enriched by the experience.
General fatigue and burnout is also a risk for clinicians and nurses, especially the one's who 'care too much'. The world is full of people in various forms of pain, and we want to ease it, but there is no point in causing pain in one's own life trying to give more than you naturally can.
The more resourced you are within yourself, physically, emotionally and spiritually, the better able you will be to hold space and support others in difficulty.
The embodied mindfulness practices I share based on Chinese Martial Art & Japanese Hara training are relevant both to the needs of the carer and the patient.
Contact me if this sounds of interest. I can also work with small groups if there are several people who want to learn together.
Wellness Coaching: I am offering 'wellness / life coaching' sessions as an 'expert by experience'. I am not a regulated psychotherapist or counsellor. I have professional training and up to date insurance to work with individuals as a Mindfulness teacher, a Bodywork therapist and as a Tai Chi teacher.
This is a legal disclaimer: What you take from a session and put into action in your life is your personal responsibility. By engaging my services, I will assume you understand and accept this.
Personal Responsibility: I expect individuals to take responsibility for themselves. I cannot take this on myself, though I will support people as best I can. If the individual cannot do this then family members need to take responsibility. If there is a situation in which no one is able to take responsibility, then sadly this is where the mental health services play an important role in our society.
Psychiatry: In my experience the psychiatric profession plays an important health and safety role for the society. I must acknowledge that for some people the use of some form of anti-psychotic medication may be appropriate despite the side-effects. When something better is available the treatments should be updated.
But I also believe that there are individuals with more sensitivity who could be helped in other more gentle ways and right now these options are not available to them. Treatment with anti-psychotic medications may prevent them from living out their full potential in life and this is very, very sad. Most people will prefer to look away unless it is their own life being ruined or that of someone they love but this cannot be ignored and needs to change in our society and mental health systems.
So while the pharmacology path may be the only option for some people, as a kindly psychiatrist once told me, if you can find any other path, take it...
Dangers - I am not naive as to the dangers inherent in non-ordinary experiences, but am not afraid of them in the way perhaps the majority of humanity are, including psychiatric professionals. We will discuss this, and if in the end you need 24hr support (which I did the first time), then the options will include psychiatric care, hopefully for a short time.
Trauma & Suffering - In my experience, people experience mental health difficulties for a reason, not because of a random 'act of God'. Whether anyone wants to face the 'reason' is another matter. A benefit from having been 'cruxified' in my own journey is that I have a capacity to be with suffering in others. We may even be able to make light of it...
Practical Details & Fees
I would suggest people make an initial contact with me through this website.
We can then arrange a first paid session if you are clear you want to work with me.
Session Fee: £80, Concessions: First session £80, Further sessions £50
Coaching Sessions are for one hour, but may often last up to 1 1/2 hrs if required.
For small groups, I will charge £40 / hour each for two people, £30 / hour each for three, £25 / hour each for four people.
Please contact me for large scale events in person or online.
I charge £90 for Sei Ki Touch and coaching sessions combined in person usually lasting 1 1/4 hours. At the moment, the venue may vary.
Payment can be made by bank transfer or credit card via Paypal. I will send details. I request payment to be made before the agreed session.
HeartTouch: Mindfulness & Compassionate Touch Training for Anxiety, Emotional Pain & Trauma.
These workshops are open to people experiencing extreme human states, whether that be labelled as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, manic depressive along with people with personal histories of sexual or emotional traumas.
They are also open to people experiencing milder forms of anxiety and emotional pain, however it expresses itself.
This can include co-issues such as addiction or eating disorders, though I would request people to find additional support for the side-issue as this is not part of my experience.
The workshops are also open to people interested in enhancing their capacity to work with people experiencing this kind of distress, whether as a bodyworker, psychotherapist, clinician or family member.
I have also created an online Tai Chi & Qi Gong course to help people maintain their physical and mental health. Enjoy.
This is a series of videos detailing practices I share in my Weathering Storms Mental Health Resilience Workshops.