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Moving Moments Midst Trauma Treatment: Being Lucky Everywhere!

January 30, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER: Carmen Richardson, MSW, RSW, RCAT, REAT

There is no question that working in the field of trauma assessment and treatment can try even the most seasoned and skilled professionals. We bear witness on a daily basis to the very ugly and brutal side of the human story, including abuse and neglect of vulnerable children. As difficult as this is, I would choose no other profession. I learn, almost daily from the young ones, who teach me about the beautiful gifts of resilience of the human heart and of a deepening wisdom that rises from traumatic experiences. Through the practice of my days as a therapist, I gather up these images of moving moments, all of which help me to cultivate hope and sustain me in the flow of the work.

I am reminded of a book I read more than 20 years ago, Fresh Bread: And Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment by Joyce Rupp, which continues to shape how I see his therapeutic trauma work. Rupp identified certain people asrainbow callers,” that is people who bring hope to others. She further shared three things that keep hope alive in her heart:

  • Beauty moments:  These are moments and experiences of ordinary beauty that renews her faith in God.
  • Truth touches: These are heard and read in the words and voices of people around her that help her see beyond the pain and suffering in the moment.
  • Value bonds:  These are the relationships with people in her life where there is a shared giving and receiving of hope.

I love the images that these words offer my imagination. And I look for those “beauty moments” that are reminders of what my own faith means to me. I nurture the “value bonds” and hold close the “truth touches” and write them as reminders in my personal journal. These images and words can be the cornerstone to feeding our own souls as therapists.

What struck me most is the idea of “rainbow callers” and how this can be part of what we bring to the therapeutic relationship when working with trauma. However, it was one of those moving moments in my practice of 25 years that hit me in a most profound way. It was not what I brought to the therapeutic relationship, it was what I received. One little fellow taught me more than I could say. I will call him Jay. He was 6 when we first met, living in foster care because of ongoing sexual abuse by a family member. Jay had a captivating presence. He is one of those souls who brings light into the room by his presence alone. People notice him. Something inherently beautiful radiates from him that people can’t help but notice. He, unknowingly, calls people to him. One day, we were leaving the office to go for slushies. Another therapist said hello and he told her that we were going for slushies. She said, “You are lucky.”  Jay replied, “I am lucky everywhere!”

And he is. He lives as though he is lucky everywhere. Regardless of what he has gone through, he moves in the world with hope, kindness and a strong regard for what is good and right in his world in this moment. This is resilience.

Those words have come back to me time and again. I hear his innocent little 6-year-old voice speaking such simple words with a depth that has stayed with me over time. And I still wonder, how might your life be different if you believed and you walked and you held yourself as though you were lucky everywhere?

Other points to ponder:

  • Who are the “rainbow callers” in your life?
  • What “beauty moments” have you witnessed this week that renews your belief in the work you do?
  • What “truth touches” have you felt, read or heard lately?
  • And how do you cultivate the “value bonds” in your therapeutic relationships and the relationships in your personal lives?

Reference

Rupp, J. (1985). Fresh bread: And other gifts of spiritual nourishment. Ave Maria Press: Indianna.

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