While I was staying home to recover from COVID-19, it dawned on me that we are at the tail end of 2023. I just returned from the EMDR Asia Conference in Cambodia, where I had such a good time learning from experts like Dr Dolores Mosquera (the expert on dissociation), Dr Derrek Farrell (an expert on moral injury), Dr Mark Nickerson (a social and culturally related trauma). The conference provides an opportunity to build connections with EMDR therapists from other countries and to deepen connections with fellow Singapore-based EMDR therapists. It was an enjoyable trip.
The EMDR Asia Conference is the second conference that I attended this year. I went to Oxford, UK, to attend a trauma conference in August. It was an exciting experience to meet Dr Richard Schwaltz (The founder of Internal Family System), Dr Janina Fisher (Healing the fragmented self), Dr Stephen Porges and Deb Dana (Polyvagal Theory) and Dr Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) in person. I build connections with many therapists from all over the world for the trauma conference. It was not just a conference but a healing and affirming time.
I grew up with messages of being "not good enough". It has reduced now, but I overheard a recent comment, "It was an innocent question, but it's stupid; how does she attend to her clients?". I felt triggered, but I applied what I taught my client. I breathed and stayed present. I couldn't catch the rest of the remarks. However, I knew they were talking about me because I was trying to clarify something during a meal when someone laughed and made the comments. It could be a foolish question. But it doesn't justify the person making unjust comments about my work. She has never sat in my therapy room. I am competent in the therapy room. My clients can testify to that. They have been coming as well as referring their friends who need help with psychological challenges.
Unfortunately, we can never stop someone from making unjust comments about us. We can only heal and stay confident in ourselves. In the past, I would been losing sleep over that comment. But this time, I let it pass. It is not worth pursuing it because there are many more important matters.
A new travel buddy commented last year that I would not survive a solo trip because I had difficulty reading maps and tend to find my way based on intuition and memory. I find looking at Google Maps all the time while walking annoying. I prefer to look at the surroundings. But to test if her comment was valid, I took a solo one-month trip to the UK in August. I did lose my way sometimes, but it was a good experience and an enjoyable trip. I gained new knowledge and made new connections. Indeed, 2023 has been a good year for me, even though it started on a sombre note.
Last year, 2022, was an eventful year. There were also many moments when I almost lost clients who tried to take their lives. 2022 marked the highest number of suicidal attempts I have seen compared to the other eleven years put together. Fortunately, all my clients survive and are healing. However, I lost two friends: One of them to a long battle with cancer, and the other one to a depression, which none of us were aware of. It is sad indeed. I hope no one else will resort to such a measure.
So, 2023 started on a sombre note. But I am thankful it didn't stay that way. Two clients who almost gave up last year have recently completed their degrees. I am so proud that they came this far. I am honoured to be their healing companion, especially since some of these journeys took ten years to reach. I can't name them, but they know who they are. Seeing them completing their degrees is my Christmas gift for 2023. It reminds me of why I do what I do and will continue to do.
Restoring Peace's vision is to help those struggling mentally and psychologically. As a self-funded, private-run centre, we cannot afford to provide pro-bono services. However, we will continue to offer subsidies to those with limited means. Our stance is that those who can afford the full fee pay the full fee, so we can offer a discounted rate to financially disadvantaged people.
Staying home to recover from COVID-19 on Christmas Eve, I permitted myself to binge on Netflix as a rare treat. Yet, it reminds me that some people may feel lonely and dreading this festive season at home. Amid all the festive cheer and laughter, some people are sad and depressed as they read social media postings of their friends or families having fun. Besides, not every happy posting showed genuine emotions. My friend often posted photos of him having fun, but no one knew about his struggle with depression. There might be others like him out there who need a listening ear.
In honour of my friend's memory and in celebrating my clients' success in completing their respective degrees, despite almost giving it up last year, Restoring Peace will be offering complimentary sessions consultation with our trainee counsellors and discounted rate for sessions with our clinical counsellors, during the twelve days of Christmas*. Please email us with a code "RP Christmas" for more information.
By the way, I started typing this post last night while still positive for COVID-19. I didn't finish typing and went to sleep. This morning, I am finishing the last part of this post with a negative COVID-19. I am thankful for this Christmas gift of good health.
To all my clients and supervisees. Thank you for allowing my team and me to be part of your healing journey. To everyone else, I wish you a significant Christmas and a healthy new beginning in 2024.
Founder / Clinical Director / Trauma Psychotherapist
Restoring Peace Counselling and Consultancy Pte Ltd
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