I’ve recently been published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services (JPN), August 2014, for the article “Channeling Jane Austen: How It Helped Me Become a Better Psychotherapist”.
The influences on a therapist are many. This article illustrates how a 19th-century novelist, Jane Austen, informs the work of a nurse therapist in the 21st century. The characters in a Jane Austen novel provide perspectives from setting boundaries to handling feelings. Austen’s characters promote an acceptance of less attractive qualities in others and in oneself that can benefit the therapy.
A link to on-line access to this article is: JPN, Volume 52, Number 8, August 2014
Access to the article itself, for those with subscriptions to JPN, can follow this link: Christi Carver Jane Austen Article
I often recommend yoga as a tool to help manage anxiety. We are fortunate to have several places to learn and practice yoga in Fredericksburg. There are classes for everyone; from the beginner to the advanced yoga. A good yoga teacher will accommodate you. As my favorite yoga teacher says; “It is your personal journey. Let go of expectations. Let go of competition.” That was particularly helpful for me when I started yoga classes because I was going through a rough patch and I spent a lot of time in Childs Pose. Child’s pose is a posture of being comfortably curled like a shell, in a way that feels good on the back. It was OK for me to stay curled up. There was no judgment. When I was ready to join the class and stretch I did.
Learning not to judge, particularly oneself is one of the great lessons of yoga. The classes will also help you hone relaxation breathing. It will improve your ability to release stress and muscle tension. It is a practice that will help you stay in the moment. The yoga poses help you stretch muscles and improve balance. Often I leave feeling like I just had a massage.
So if you have never tried yoga, where to start? The city and the county Parks and Recreation departments offer classes for every level. It cost $7.00 to drop in. No reservation required but you can also sign up for a series. Most gyms and the YMCA offer yoga classes. The Healing Arts Center has been around a long time and it offers yoga classes to fit anyone’s schedule. And finally, we have not one but two new yoga studios in town. I have been to classes at both and have felt welcomed when I arrived and I left afterwards feeling in a much better place physically and mentally.
Both studios are on Caroline Street. Dragonfly studio offers a range of classes from Gentle yoga for the beginner to Power yoga for folks who are all about fitness. They also offer Hot yoga. That is a class that had not been in town for awhile and had been sorely missed. Pitaiyo Studio also offers a range of classes. Pitaiyo means Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga. The owner combines the three disciplines in a way that is accessible to everyone. The studio also offers a variety of classes including classes for children, plus sized women and couples. The various classes are explained on the web site and you can register on the website too.
I encourage you to try yoga. You can do it. It will improve your balance and flexibility. If you can’t get down on the floor there is chair yoga. Learning to follow your breath and stretch will help you feel calmer. Yoga is a wonderful adjunct for the treatment of anxiety. It has been helpful to me and to my clients as a tool to keep balanced when the terrain of life is rough.
Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy
Q: Accelerated? Does that mean I’ll need a session or two and that is it?
A: Not exactly. The idea is that if the patient feels comfortable and understood they will be able to access deep feelings more quickly and that will speed the process of therapy. The theory is that when deep feelings are accessed and shared with an empathetic other, healing occurs, not just emotionally but physically when neural circuitry in the brain is actually changed for the better.
A: As you may know from your own life, we are more likely to be changed by experiences and not explanations. Your therapist is not some wise guru with answers for you. The role of the AEDP therapist is to help you help you have a different experience. It is a difference you feel, not something that is brought about by interpretations or lectures.
Q: Why is it called Dynamic Psychotherapy?
A: This type of therapy recognizes that past experiences can play a role in current behaviors and problems. Therapy also relies on the relationship between the therapist and the patient to help identify patterns in other relationships. A difference between AEDP and more traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy is that in AEDP the therapist is open and communicative about reactions and feelings during the session.
Q: Isn’t therapy supposed to be all about me?
A: It is about healing. Healing doesn’t just occur in isolation. Relationships can encourage and support your natural tendency to heal. By sharing your feelings with a compassionate other, you are not overwhelmed by emotional experience. You are stronger for it.
A few final words: Part of what drew me to this particular type of therapy was the healing orientation. So much of psychiatric treatment is based on what is wrong. Focusing on what is right and risks you are taking right now is exciting and life changing.