‘First F2F meeting, HACP would like to thank everyone who attended for supporting the Talk and complying with the necessary Covid19 needs to keep everyone safe. We look forward to more networking and chatter next time.

A big thank you to the Cister’s speaker for sharing her professional and personal experiences, who gave us a moving and working platform (ACES) to the amazing work they do. I have known the speaker since 2006 and her dedication and knowledge working with survivors of sexual abuse is well known and her talk was a refreshing opportunity to reflect on the practices we already adopt, and maybe some that would help our current and future practice.

We looked at how technology has change the landscape of abuse and acknowledged the prevalence of child abuse. We explored Aces ( adverse child experiences) and how professionals use this to look at what is happening and how we can help with the protected factors available. She talked about a good person who can be in that child’s life when all the chaos is around can be a protecting factor and help instil resilience when needed the most. Why do some children flourish and others don’t. This can be about who is seen as a mentor or person of significance.

Looking at ACES and the way that gives a new perspective on how we then go on to work with the client. Aces takes into consideration, family dynamics, environment, social economic factors and resilience of the family. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have a tremendous impact on future potential for victimization, violence and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity issues. Working together, we can help create neighbourhoods, communities, and a world in which every child can thrive. We can when we have a strong community ACES  help to be vigilant about the vital signs of abuse and the negative impact on health as well as education, employment opportunities and relationships.

We talked about trauma and the window of tolerance which gives the opportunity for the client to see and be able to hear the therapist depending on where they are. There are two modes for trauma.

Stuck on “on” or stuck on “off”.

When you’re stuck on “ON”—your nervous system is jacked way up.

Signs of this is being hyper vigilant, anxiety/fear, stuck in anger/rage.

Or stuck on off—your system is shutting down—signs of this are depression, disassociation, low energy, feeling apathy. Our role is to help our clients to enter the window of tolerance (balanced) and to be able to hear the counsellor.

The speaker shared memories and experiences which were moving to hear and to witness of her own experience and why she feels so strongly about Cisters and the work that has helped so many people and continues to do so

Towards the end of evening, she shared an exercise with us that was thought provoking and made some feel extremely anxious. Writing down something that had happened, an event you had not told anyone. This was a powerful exercise which gave us a real insight to our own fight or flight reaction and how we then began to think about how our clients felt being asked questions. She reminded us that it’s how you ask question that’s important. Trusting in the therapist, testing the therapist throughout therapy because the client’s world has no boundary and contains the inability to trust when a person who they love and naturally trust would do what they did.. We explored how difficult this is to share, to be believed and many survivors may only begin to talk and share about what happened later in life.

Aces and other information can be found on the Cisters website www.cisters.org.uk

A big thank you to our speaker.

by Lottie Passell