Caring for the Carer’s: part 2
A Movement Psychotherapy Programme
A new research (Carers UK) published 23/01/2015 (http://www.carersuk.org/for-professionals/policy/policy-library/alone-caring) shows that 8 out of 10 carers in Northern Ireland have felt lonely or isolated because of caring for a loved one. They experience lack of understanding and struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Fifty percent of them said they feel depressed and eighty-four percent very stressed. Many have lost touch with family and friends and 4 in 10 said that romantic relationships were problematic as a result!
As a carer or support worker yourself how do you feel about this?
- Would you benefit from someone to talk to and understand you?
- Do you feel lonely and isolated?
- Are your relationships breaking down?
- Are you feeling exhausted?
- Do you often feel trapped, angry, desperate and guilty?
It is important to really appreciate your situation because:
“These feelings and mental exhaustion can build to crisis point”
Carers UK (2014) carers at breaking point, pg.5.
In a press release from September 2014, Carers UK highlights research where carers are being pushed to breaking point (http://www.carersuk.org/for-professionals/policy/policy-library/carers-at-breaking-point-report). It says that six in ten caring for an older, disabled or seriously ill loved one have reached breaking point. A quarter of these people need medical treatment. Depression and anxiety being experienced in varying degrees by nearly one hundred percent of them! Depression and anxiety often occur together and oftentimes are worse when we are feeling alone. Nausea, breathlessness and headaches are signs that it may be the time to get help!
As a Registered Movement Psychotherapist, my sessions work with the dilemmas that people like you are facing in an informal, non-threatening fun environment through movement, dance and play. Some of the benefits would be the:
- Alleviating of mental suffering
- Easing of the emotional strains
- Softening of the physical pains
Just these alone would bring wellbeing back into your life.
When we suffer stress due to lack of sleep our homeostasis is put out of balance, we do not know how to rest or indeed move around. Movement Psychotherapy can restore the resting, parasympathetic nervous system through simple daily life exercises. This will naturally help people with hypertension, back problems, anxiety, and depression. I like to think of it as a therapy session with the added bonus of exercising your body where the natural opiates and feel good hormones are released and produce wonderful results!
Reconnect to your body:
Through these Movement Psychotherapy sessions, you have the opportunity to reconnect to the language of your body. To renew your mind, body and spirit in a group, where affection, sensitivity and acceptance can become a key to regaining your health, your sanity and dreams again. The members in the group propose various activities. The group being a safe container able to hold you and allow you to be creative, curious and confident enough to make your own choices. Through my Dance Movement Psychotherapy Programme for Carers, you will be gently invited to move, play, dance, or not! – Anything can happen!
Moving in a controlled way in exercises which are similar to Pilates and Yoga but are more simple connected to daily life that help one find their strength and confidence with a renewed energy for example. Movements of resistance allow the healthy boundaries to be exercised thus being able to feel in control again. Dancing too! Whatever empowers you and guides you to recover the healthy body sensations. If you want to waltz, tango, jive, burlesque you can! I love the following quote:
“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.”
Ruth St Denis (1997) Wisdom Comes Dancing
Financial struggles cause the carer to sacrifice her / his own food, heating and livelihood (Carers UK (2015) Alone and Caring) that in turn has a massive impact on her / his wellbeing. However, some good positive practice is happening too from the employers who seem to be taking steps to support their staff. They know the business benefits exponentially by doing so and carers UK are themselves recommending that employers make sure the caring role is supported suggesting that access to counselling services and support be available (Carers UK (2015) Alone and Caring)
The Movement Psychotherapy Group:
The group will be a safe space to share and be yourself connected to your inner sensations moment to moment and give you the opportunity to just be yourself mindful of your needs with having the choice to join in, to create and be spontaneous without having to accomplish or do anything. This form of Movement Psychotherapy is a gentle invitation for you to explore being yourself with others.
A safe place, where creativity and curiosity, encourage you to make choices for yourself and for the group. The Movement Psychotherapist herself allows this space to be created and she trusts what needs to happen within it.
Another way to explain the safe place is as a holding environment or safe container. This place depends upon experiences that lead to trust and comes from the nurturing emotional environment that the mother provides for her child, attuned and attentive to his/her needs in order that the baby can grow with love.
The majority of psychotherapists would say that the therapeutic holding environment is crucial!
“It is a sacred place as it is here that the person experiences creative living.”
D.W. Winnicott (1971) Playing and Reality.