DIG YOUR WELL
by Hayne Steen, LMHC
People typically come into therapy when a circumstance, relationship or mental health issue activates an uncomfortable amount of pain and distress. It tends to be more of a reactive relationship with counseling.
The best time to get a mental health resource in place is before tragedy strikes. A trusted friend of mine calls this “digging your well before you’re thirsty.” Getting established with a mental health counselor at Elbow Tree who you trust could be one critical way you prepare for trouble ahead.
Let’s face it. Life throws us some menacing curve balls.
In a world full of so much trouble, we can become jaded believing that world is ONLY trouble. Sometimes we just need some help leaning into the trouble as we learn how to hunt for the good. (good, beautiful and true) in the midst of our devastation.
Counseling is a space completely dedicated to promoting human resilience where we (1) can name the trouble we've known, (3) begin to hunt for the good and (3) grow in our ability to determine for ourselves what kinds of things are helpful to us and what things (practices, people, priorities) are actually quite harmful to us.
Did you know that the severity of the impact of trauma is determined by two things? Frequency and duration. The greater the frequency and longer the duration of the trauma exposure, the more dynamic the emotional and psychological injury will be.
Your job serving in fire rescue guarantees you will experience both frequent and enduring vicarious (nearby) and direct (head on) exposures to trauma. Your years of dedicated and faithful service to the fire rescue service will leave a harmful impression.
Not everyone wants to go to counseling. You are not alone if you experience a noticeable inner resistance to meeting with a counselor. We get it! It’s a massively vulnerable step to take. Firefighters are not the only ones who experience resistance. Here are a handful of "Reasons why people refuse to see a counselor."
Do any of these feel familiar?
Each of the reasons to refuse counseling listed above are honest and legitimate expressions of resistance to pursuing therapy. Here's what I'd like for you to consider.
If you think you'd like to explore having a regular space like this, don't hesitate to reach out and set up your first session, You can call our live operator 24/7 at (904) 877-4750 and we will be in touch within 24 hours and get you scheduled for your first appointment within 7-10 days.
WHAT MAKES A FIRE BURN?
by Hayne Steen
"What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space. Too much of a good thing, too many logs packed in too tight can douse the flames almost as surely as a pail of water would. So building fires requires attention to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood." –by Judy Brown
If you observed my life over the last couple months, you would quickly discover that I've been living with too many logs on the fire for far too long. I've desperately needed, as the poet suggests, a breathing space.
During a typical week, if you looked at my iPhone around 5:00pm, you would notice that my phone has been on "Airplane Mode" for most of the day in order to be fully present with clients. The second I take my phone off of silent mode, a digital flurry begins. My phone screen lights up with an overwhelming number of of buzzes and dings which signify incoming texts, emails, and voicemails. My body simultaneously registers each and every digital message as extremely urgent.
My automatic thoughts? Too many people are attempting to get my undivided attention, asking me for too many things, too fast, too soon. It can sometimes overwhelm my nervous system. When I can remember to take a breath, I can investigate my own pile of logs and begin to slowly dig my way out. Sometimes I am able to do that alone. More often it looks like having someone help me.
Do you need space to breath? Our counseling team at Elbow Tree would love to help you carve out space for slowing down and paying attention to your inner and outer life.
Psychotherapist, Phil Stutz, describes three distinct layers that need attending to. He calls these our "inner fire".
1. Take care of your body (sleep, eating, and exercise rhythms).
2. Take care of your relationships (with yourself, others and God).
3. Take time to allow the unconscious to become conscious (therapy, journaling, reading, listening to your life).
If you think you'd like to explore having a regular space like this where you can pay attention to places where the logs are packed in too tight, don't hesitate to reach out and set up your first session, You can call our live operator 24/7 at (904) 877-4750 and we will be in touch within 24 hours and get you scheduled for your first appointment within 7-10 days.
We look forward to helping you attend to your own inner fire!
"Firefighters and counselors share a very similar orientation. We don't want bad things to happen to people, but when they do, we want to be there." –Saint Johns County Firefighter
These words capture our heartbeat. As our work with local fire rescue personnel deepens, we are committed to "being there". We look forward to cultivating a deeply held trust with Saint Johns County Fire Rescue. Thank you for the opportunity to enter into the devastation and disorientation. We are committed to earn the right to be trusted.
Being there. That's step one. We'll see you soon.
Elbow Tree Co-Op Founder
If you need to schedule an appointment with an Elbow Tree Co-Op counselor, don't hesitate to call us 24/7 at 904.877.4750. We'll gather some basic information and the appropriate team member will reach back out.
Reflections for Rescuers