Image

Career Moves, What’s Next?

 

 

 

2017.png
Sunday was my 28th birthday. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions I like to reflect on what I’ve learned this past year of my life and consider the year ahead. This past year has been exciting; I’m in a place in my life and career that I wasn’t a year ago, and I wanted to share with you all some of the challenges and triumpths I’ve discovered along the way. I also want to share some goals for the upcoming 12 months that I can use help holding myself accountable for.

Sometimes we try to ignore our bodies and minds, despite clear signals communicating that something needs to change. For me, this reality was born from my learning to prioritize myself better and recognize my needs. 

Healing is valuable work. It is draining – emotionally and financially. My creativity and conviction and belief in full recovery has given me hope and inspired others to keep swimming.  For the first time in my life I became my own best advocate, I was and am on a mission. I pushed through the fears that I should just be grateful and accept myself and my life as it is. Ignore pressures to compartmentalize, repress, dissociate and “move on.” It makes others uncomfortable at times and they seem to have lost hope and think you are giving in to your past. DON’T listen to them! Healing is not linear, and these past few months have taught me so much that I would never have believed just a year ago. 

I am forever thankful for my tribe who continues to believe in me and remind me of my strength when I waver.

 

18664282_984527141649916_189347732079223065_n

⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃⭃

A fellow social worker entrepreneur, Nicole Clark, writes:

“It’s always been said that when you make a decision to play big, the Universe will rearrange itself to bring in people and opportunities that will get you closer to your dreams. When you have a big enough WHY, the HOW will always present itself.”

I am proud of how far I’ve come since I first put myself out there consulting and coaching in 2012. I remember the Omega Women’s Leadership (Omega Women’s Leadership Center) Intensive that was my launching ground. This growing circle of women who believe in their power and what it means to share power, continue to inspire me. This summer I have the chance to give back to the OWLC and I can’t wait-stay tuned for details! 

Beginning in July 2016, I began hosting a podcast called Transforming Trauma. I still have a lot to learn, but I am proud of and excited by this new opportunity to break the silence. In April 2017, I was offered the opportunity to do be in a direct service role with the coaching business I was contracted for marketing and consulting these past few years. I’m officially facilitating a monthly virtual support groups for adult survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional child abuse or neglect, bringing them together within a nurturing and supportive community. This past month, 17 survivors joined the call from around the world-one person calling in from across the world! In the Fall of 2017, in addition to completing the last leg of my Masters in Clinical Social Work @ Smith College (at a college counseling center!), I will be be providing one-on-one coaching to support survivors going through the Beyond Surviving Group virtual program.

This Spring, I’ve been developing a program for Volunteer Facebook moderators who will help maintain a safe space for survivors who seek support in the “Healing from Sexual Abuse” Facebook Community. I’m interested in how people can learn to utilize social media as a rich resource while still protecting themselves from triggers and traumatic experiences. I continue to be amazed at the ways that technology intersect with social work/therapy and how we can leverage online resources and apps to meet people where they are at in their healing. 

Finally, these past several months, I have begun collaborating with various local organizations like Beth Israel’s Center for Violence Prevention & Recovery, Survivor Theater Project, Incest Resources, Cambridge Women’s Center to design more services and spaces to support survivors. I am so energized by this work and am working on creating a scaleable web platform that will be a resource for survivors everywhere (contact me if you’re interested in getting involved.) I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Coaching

Therapy

Action Oriented Thoughts/Feelings Oriented

Tools:

Inquiry Listening
Accountability Reflecting
Requests Confronting
Goal-setting Interpreting
Strategic Planning Diagnosing
Telephone & Email Face-to-face at a
special time and place

What are some of my career goals that I want to achieve by my 29th birthday?

Well, I have a few:

  • Complete my college counseling internship.
  • Complete an independent research study with Smith Social Work faculty who have similar research interests. 
  • Chart a strategic plan for the open-source web platform I am creating to facilitate resource sharing and connections for the survivor community in the Greater Boston area.
  • Complete Level 2 of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training (apply for a mini-grant to make this happen!) 
  • Continue my meditation practice and meeting monthly with KM group. Go on an extended retreat.
  • Cultivate multiple (and sustaining) streams of income (by way of speaking engagements, writing, coaching, and consulting.
  • Share a story at a Live Moth Event.

51699640153__AEAC7D7A-92B7-46C9-BE90-A41E8F71BA7E-1 2

Of course, these will change slightly or significantly. The accountability of writing them out should help keep me focused. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing! 

Jack Canfield says:

“The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet landed, and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was 2 inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and keep readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye. The same is true for anything.”

Despite how scary and challenging the world can be, today I feel more hopeful than I’ve ever felt. I feel creative and energized and connected and surrounded by incredible friends and colleagues.

I wish ease and abundance for every human in my life and around the world.

Change. Hope. Possibility.

16997959_4448793493128_4809618585822818000_n

In Strength & Power,

 

 

*Self-Care & Sustainability: Why Healing is Valuable Work was first printed on Rest for Resistance https://www.restforresistance.com. Read more of Shivani’s writing at @shivaniseth05

Gallery

Post-Traumatic Growth: Transforming Pain into Power

 

IMG_0271.jpgI believe in the power of vulnerability and this means sharing my truth on  social media which is sometimes a scarily distorted version of reality. I feel inspired to share in hopes that it reaches someone needing a boost of self-compassion. You are not alone.

Jocelyn teeth gap 2.jpg Dress Up    IMG_7725-1.JPG  2017

If you’re human like me, you probably get lost in old stories about who you are. I like to remind myself on an annual basis, especially when critical voices of the past pay me a visit. This happens all the time! For instance, two people’s whose opinions I wish I didn’t care about have recently made comments that have made me feel very small and unworthy. My first response was to feel misunderstood and hurt. But now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on who I actually am and want to be. What I know about myself and how I treat myself matters most and maybe I won’t choose to be around them or discuss certain topics.

I’m obsessed with babies, quotes, puppies, ice-cream and chocolate. I’m a good listener. I can be fearless. I am open-minded. I love learning. I don’t shy away from challenging people and being challenged. I am beautiful because of my presence and spirit. Because of my intensity. Because I am thoughtful and resilient. I am dependable. I am adventurous. I can be clumsy. I love travel, hiking, playing soccer/basketball, hosting dinner parties, spending quality time with loved ones (especially my niece & nephew). I am curious & chatty. I am a seeker. I am creative. I am silly. I love flash mobs and karaoke. I am a loving & generous daughter, sister, Aunt, and friend. I am a survivor.

IMG_2214.JPG

Bolstered by the privileged parts of my life, which are never more apparent than when shit hits the fan, I feel fortunate to identify post-traumatic-growth despite surviving various violent experiences. Even though I have developed positive ways to cope with trauma, over the years the impact of it has affected my education, housing, work, and my health as is so often the case. As many survivors have stated, the aftermath of trauma is often more painful than the event itself, shared most recently by a survivor of rape quoted by Sheryl Sandberg in her new book: Option BEven though I been working to help others in their healing for a over a decade, I’m still learning how to ask for help. IT’S HARD! Trauma makes you feel helpless. It is confusing and paralyzing. It makes you doubt yourself. Plus, I was raised by someone who equates asking for help with weakness and incompetence.

quote_360.jpg

What I want to tell you, fellow survivors, is to reach out & ask for help. People will show up. In fact, people LIKE helping. You are loved and there are people in your life and people you don’t know even know who would be honored to be there. When people make you feel small, let them project their shit onto you, but don’t give them your power. They are too consumed with themselves and their own image to see or hear you. (Shout out to my dear friend, Hope!) Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Find the people who can cheer you on as you grow stronger and do the courageous work of healing. 

17991941_760304127495627_8160641111814479305_n.jpg

These past few months have been difficult & triggering for me personally, to say the least. What’s helped fuel me, in addition to ramping up the “self-care,” having good boundaries and supports, are the encouraging messages (excerpted below) I’ve received in response to my survivor advocacy work (podcasts, workshops, social media campaign). Note to Self: Use your voice! Do what you Love! Share what’s on your mind! 

74509_1418471856981_4987254_n.jpg

Introducing Voices Raised in Power @ The Fred in college.

I am sharing these words because I am moved, inspired and emboldened by the badass, brave survivors I connect with every day. Whether I’m leading a therapeutic group or getting my hair cut or my car repaired, I hear your hopefulness and strength in how you live your lives. I see your pain, your grief, your loss. You are so beautiful and brave. 

IMG_1168.JPG

Ubuntu, originating in South Africa, means that a person is a person through another person, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. You are me and I am you. I am you and you are me.

These are my wishes for myself and for you, and for beings everywhere: I deserve to be at home in my body and mind. I am worthy. I am forgivable. I am enough. I am safe. I am loved. I am powerful. I am allowed to make mistakes. Healing is not linear. 

2209_1121415910768_961_n.jpg

At a rally shouting.

Thank you for the encouragement to keep sharing and doing what I love. I am lucky to have such a powerful community of colleagues, survivors, friends and family. Thank you for the laughs, invitations, blog comments, texts, calls, cards, visits. The most difficult experiences of our lives seem to clarify what matters most.

17904317_4504940936779_8597742225283358514_n.jpg

Facilitating a therapeutic writing workshop for survivors about self-compassion

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”
“i saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…and i’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. thanks again for sharing. It made an impact on me and i was very proud of you.”

Great resources, thanks for sharing.  This gives greater awareness to the global phenomenon of sexual abuse as New Zealand has a high proportion of victims compared to most developed countries.  It was encouraging to see the openness and willingness to speak on this topic as it is very taboo here in New Zealand still and met with great resistance.”

“You just have a very profound way of being so real and sharing. You have so much to offer.”

Thank you Jocelyn for sharing your podcasts with me. I listened today. I appreciated all the different information shared and definitely could relate with all the topics mentioned. What touched me most was hearing your heart and experience and voice of care for other survivors. I heard your voice of your own divinity coming through within it and it was beautiful and touching. Thank you again for sharing so many resources and your experience and well wishes for all. The birds are singing here. Such beautiful nectar :)”

IMG_5576.jpg

IMG_7731.JPG

@ Vessel Van Der Kolk’s incredible Trauma Center enjoying some healing energy.

   If you or someone you love would like help connecting with local resources and services to begin or continue your healing, please don’t hesitate to reach out! 

 

 

Celebrating a decade of advocacy work.

“…I saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave [in college] (i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…) and I’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. You explained how you felt so eloquently. Thanks again for telling your story back then – it made an impact on me and I was very proud of you.”

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”

-Healing Arts Workshop Coordinator, Survivor Theater Workshop & Teacher tumblr_oir0pxQGPh1sz0omqo1_1280.jpg

This past week, I led a healing- arts writing workshop for survivors through the Survivor Theater Workshop @ the Cambridge Women Center.17309460_4460534826654_7108000988534932529_n.jpg

At my first American Group Psychotherapy conference in New York meeting new inspiring colleagues. March 2017. 13406756_4062022864104_6612211373539402086_n.jpg

With my mentor at MASOC’s annual conference in April 2016. I am grateful for her example and showing me the power of writing groups.

Gallery

Phoenix Rising. Onbeing27.

77284eaa-2c07-4cb8-8f8b-e7e0ccf678c8

Writing is medicine and has always been the only way for me to reflect and understand the passage of time. This year, I am honoring many transitions and transformations. I know writing this letter will help navigate the tough feelings that accompany this birthday that I’ll celebrate without certain people. This letter is also a gift to myself.

I hold memories of the three of the biggest hearted individuals, men I deeply admired and who we lost this past Fall/Winter. Each of them brought healing to countless individuals and I will never forget what it was like to be in their presence. I know I will continue to learn from them. 

Dear 27 Year Old Me,

This year I know your birthday will remind you of the people who can’t be there to celebrate. You’re missing them. These memories are to remind you of the many gifts this year brought. This is the birthday card, only YOU could write yourself.

It’s time to celebrate your willingness to grow rather than shrink in the face of suffering. Sometimes you take the road less traveled and thought at times it’s easy to doubt yourself, try and remember how many have admired your commitment to yourself and your truth. Here’s to making the hard decision and for your ability to make meaning of life’s detours.

img_3644.jpg

Two years ago, my life brought me to Smith School for Social Work. The plan was to move across the country with my roommate and longtime love. We broke up the week of my 25th birthday, and a few days later I started my 2.5 year Masters program. I learned about Freud and Melancholia, counter-transference, and parallel process.  I met lots of inspiring friends. Connected with The Icarus Project. Then, I completed a rigorous and intense first year field placement working in community mental health (Shout out to any Waysiders reading this!). As a home-based worker, I faced the devastation of losing a client. He was only a child. I worked with his mother before, during, and after the tragedy. I will never forget her resiliency. I discovered what it means to bare witness and hold space for another’s suffering. I adored my clients and learned everything I need to know about building relationships from them.  I practice self-care like it was a part time job. I mastered the art of The Bubble Bath, healthy eating, afro flow yoga, cultivating community, and therapy (ice cream therapy, that is). I was awarded a JUNO retreat at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies to reflect, integrate, and reset for Year 2. It was an honor I’ll never forget.

img_4041.jpg

My second summer, I’ll remember as a celebration of a year’s hard work and bringing together Smith friends at my home in Northampton, as well as advocating for more support for students in the program. I was nominated and accepted a leadership position: Field Representative to serve as a liaison between students and the field office/administration.

img_3881.jpg

A short time later, our community was devastated by a tragedy when a friend and recent graduate died by suicide. My friend’s suicide proved to me just how serious the stigma of being in this field and struggling with one’s mental health can be. It can be even harder to ask for help when you are a professional or trainee with extensive knowledge of mental health issues. You might think you SHOULD know better or you SHOULD be able to figure it out. This is not the case. A study conducted by my classmates found how few students felt comfortable disclosing this personal information to supervisors, advisers, or even professors. This pervasive culture of other-izing and mental health stigma is hypocritical and students must demand change to receive the support and education needed to be effective and safe in this field. More on how this impacted me further down..img_5622.jpg

In the Fall, I journeyed to my second field placement. I was put in a situation that required me to perform far beyond the scope of a trainee. This was guised in a vague terms: a “hybrid” internship for a “highly independent” student. Despite, my confidence having worked in extremely stressful/high trauma situation, I felt physically and psychologically unsafe and unsupported. I can only imagine how I would have suffered remaining in my assigned field placement. The words of the student previously placed there still haunt me: “I prayed everyday for April to come.” My concerns were not taken seriously or acted on for me to maintain any hope that I could make it work despite my best efforts.  After a series of challenging events, I terminated my placement within the first 2 weeks. Months later, I am so grateful for my intuition , integrity, and proud of my courage to speak truth to power. The shame and despair I felt at the time cannot be put into words. I don’t regret my decision and I continue to feel disappointed by the institution for not supporting me. The school teaches trainees to advocate for clients and help empower themselves. I am left wondering how could the school support supports and help them figure out what they need to be successful? I hope that my experience will at the very least inform future decisions to place students at this field site. I will deeply miss spending the summer learning and celebrating together. I appreciate the support I received, especially those who shared their admiration for my taking care of myself inspite of the pressure to “suffer through.” Look forward to being at graduation and cheering on Carmen Leah together!!

img_5515.jpg

Last Spring I met a Smith alum at an anti racism event and this meeting helped lead me to the opportunity to work at Project Place. I love my new job where I  continue to work with a traumatized and marginalized community. I feel supported and engaged and humbled and inspired everyday. Many other unexpected opportunities have been offered that helped me make peace with the issues at school. I received scholarships that have afforded me the opportunity to study Play Therapy course at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and at the ARC Training at the Trauma Center ( Fostering Resilience in Trauma-Impacted Youth and Families: The Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment Framework). Lastly, I recently took Level 1 Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training. In June, I will begin leading workshops for survivors at the Cambridge Women’s Center. I feel such gratitude to be connecting with so many influential leaders in the field.

img_5515

When I reflect back on the year I think about the fragility of our lives and the power we have and the power we don’t have to control our futures. Losing 3 friends/colleagues in the span of 3 months, I continue thinking about love and life. I wish I could have told my friend David I am here for you. I wish he could have told me how he was suffering. Thich Nhat Hanh writes:

Many people are reluctant to talk because they fear that what they will say will be misunderstood. There are people who suffer so much; they’re not capable of telling us about the suffering inside. And we have the impression that nothing is wrong-until it is too late.

I want to tell him: I want to understand his difficulties and his suffering. I want to listen to him because I want to love him. As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, the language of love is asking a person whether you have understood the other person. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to ask people I care about to share more about themselves. I wish I’d told him his presence was a gift to me and to the world. To love someone is to be there for them.

 

As I’m turning 27, I reflect on a long year! I learned to love again, to trust my intuition, to ask for what I need, to surround myself by people who support and inspire me, and to be grateful for so many blessings and  teachers (known & unknown). Thank you for reading and being part of my life (even if we haven’t spoken in years, I’d love to hear from you!)

 

“Stop Sexualizing Us.”

Today I met with my teenaged female client for our third to last session. We are wrapping up a project (Dear Me Campaign) we’ve been working on for the past several weeks. I was already tearing up because she wrote the most inspiring letter to her future self. The themes were: remembering how loved she is, the importance of being herself, recognizing her resiliency, and a declaration of her strength and power without a man. I nearly balled my eyes out-I am so proud of her and in awe of her wisdom and perspective at such a young age AND in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances.

tumblr_mbffz2ntyg1rtheg4o1_400

Just this week she returned to her middle school after almost two months at another school and hospitalizations. Bored in the library with her best friend, she decided to finally make the flyers about dress code that she’d been talking about for months. The poster is of an image of a girl’s body with marker writing: Stop censoring my body. 

Stop Sexualizing Us!

We want the freedom to wear what we want! Tank tops, shorts, etc. should be allowed! Stop sexualizing us women for what we wear. I will fight for my women! I don’t care if I get detention or not, I will stick up for our rights. And if you have a problem with that, then so be it!

She went on to tell me that when she showed her older sister, she gave her a high five and was proud of her. However, when she showed her mom (who is from Pakistan) she gave her a “mean look.” My client said she didn’t care and wasn’t going to let that stop her. We went on to talk about her plan of action and she mentioned she knows the counselor at the school is into feminism and perhaps could be an advisor to a club she might start.

I hope as I reflect on my last few sessions that I find the words to describe how much I’ve learned from her. I know that her Dear Me video WILL change lives and I am so grateful to have had the privilege to work with her these past 9 months. About a year ago she courageously sought support by creating a video about how bullying was making her feel suicidal. Now, she’s on mission to inspire others to accept themselves.

Inspiring Quotes from my first AAPCSW Conference 2015

Inspiring Quotes from my first AAPCSW Conference 2015 (Click Here for Inspiring Quotes!)

The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW) Aims & Purposes:

  • To represent and protect the standing and advancement of psychoanalytic social work practitioners and educators.
  • To provide an organizational identity for social work professionals engaged in psychoanalytically informed practice.
  • To promote and disseminate the understanding of psychoanalytic theory and knowledge within the social work profession and the public.
  • To affect liaisons with other organizations and professions who share common objectives for social work and the advancement of psychoanalytic theory and practice.
  • To advocate for the highest standards of practice and for quality mental health care for the public.
  • To bridge social work and psychoanalytic discourses by integrating concerns for social justice with clinical practice, and to conceptualize psychoanalytic theory and practice within its broader social-political context.