[Case Study] Healing the past to create a better future

Many of us have been in an unhappy relationship, feeling stuck in life, and left wondering why it all just seems too hard. This happened to Dhana McKeown, mother of two boys and contract consultant to the government.

Dhana’s main aim in life was to create a loving family home for her boys, and to be in a relationship with the man of her dreams. Unfortunately for her, Dhana’s marriage broke down, and she was left to raise her boys as a single mum with limited support. She was left feeling angry, betrayed, lost, and in financial hardship.

Dhana had always put her sons and parents before herself. She was focused on trying to control her external circumstances, caring for everybody else, without any care or attention for herself or her feelings.

“I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I knew that I was avoiding dealing with my past by shutting down any sense of pain that I felt inside. But I just didn’t know where to even start, so I just tried to focus on being a mum and becoming financially independent.”

Uncovering past trauma and healing unconscious emotions

Dhana’s childhood was a turbulent one to say the least. She experienced extreme hostility and abuse from her parents and others. She even ended up living on the streets for a short time as an adolescent, and had to learn how to fend for herself from a young age.

When Dhana started having sessions with me, she was extremely disconnected from her body, which is an adaptive, survival response that so many people with histories of trauma and neglect experience. This dissociation from the body leaves traumatised people feeling unsafe in their own bodies.

“I had rejected myself and my body which left me feeling dead inside and struggling with my health and weight. It was a challenge to become comfortable with my body sensations and to trust my body, my feelings and myself again.”

Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health and is fundamental to a meaningful and satisfying life. In trauma survivors, the part of the brain that monitors for danger remains over-activated, triggering the stress response and intense unpleasant feelings chronically. Many traumatised individuals are too hypervigilant to enjoy the ordinary pleasures that life has to offer, while others are too numb to absorb new experiences.

My professional training as a body-centred psychotherapist included many hours of personal work to heal myself, so that I can now create a sense of safety, and a growth-facilitating environment for my clients. This allowed me to develop a working alliance and emotional relationship with Dhana so that she could let down her defences and begin to surrender, and I could be present with her no matter what intense emotions and memories she was experiencing.

“Brendan provided me with a safe, non-judgemental space that was supportive to fall apart in. It was also safe for me to take the time required to put myself back together slowly and in a gentle way, so I could truly heal on the deepest of levels.”

Making inner changes results in outer changes

Over the months that followed, the anger, pain and fear that emerged, and the memories of a traumatic childhood was at times very intense. Dhana worked on putting herself first, and creating boundaries with family and friends to give herself the space she needed to heal.

One of the most significant realisations was Dhana’s deep longing to be loved, but her feelings of deep shame and unworthiness were preventing her from allowing in love and support from others.

“I would often wish that it could all be over and that I didn’t have to feel the heaviness of the pain that was coming out of me after all these years. But it happened naturally in a way that I was able to face it one piece at a time.”

In addition to therapy sessions, Dhana downloaded my Guided Mindfulness Meditations Program which she could use regularly to help her relax, be present and embodied, and allow her body’s wisdom to continue to process unconscious emotional blocks standing in the way of achieving her goals.

She was able to find the strength and courage to get through this difficult time in her life, and to face her past so that she could let it go and heal. Her outer life began to reflect this growing sense of inner peace and self-worth. An amazing career opportunity came through which allows her the flexibility to do consultancy work around her family commitments.

“I feel more alive than I ever remember. I feel more in control of my emotions, my personal boundaries with my family, and my life in general. I have more of a sense of compassion for myself and connection with my body. I’m now ready for this new phase of my life where I can enjoy financial prosperity and achieve my dreams.”

Click below to find out how you can benefit from this powerful emotional healing work too. Get free access to my Guided Meditations Audio Program, and learn more about how to heal trauma and the unconscious root cause of all forms of emotional problems.



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