Helena witnessed a horrific fatal crime escaping death herself. She later developed severe asthma which was often so severe she was unable to breathe.
She says, ‘I want to thank you for your kind professional help in recent months. You gently urged me to reveal my fears and embarrassments without bruising my pride or dignity then taught me how to overcome memories I would rather not recall.
You also taught me how to overcome sudden, inexplicable panic attacks that were dominating my life and preventing me from enjoying all the blessings I have in and around me, for which I am more grateful than I can express.
Most of all, at no time did I feel I was being ‘analysed’ and your advice and tuition was practical as well as emotional, especially the EMDR therapy.
Thank you for knowing when to draw our sessions to a close but still leaving the door open if I feel the need to come again. This boosted my confidence in my own ability to cope.’
Helena Smith (Chaplain/JP)
When I first came to Gnadenfrei I was suffering from a traumatic stress breakdown and could barely speak. I had been seeing a Psychiatrist for 18 months and had nearly every drug under the sun prescribed to support me medically. I had also had shock treatment that affected my memory. None of this, however, helped me deal with the actual trauma which caused the breakdown or helped me to develop strategies to recover.
The understanding and help I was given was the definitive turning point that gave my life back to me and put me in control. Following 9 months of regular sessions, I was off all medication and able to the begin a graded return to teaching full time and despite having been given one of the most difficult classes in the school, I am thriving.
When he finished school, Kyle started an apprenticeship to learn a trade. During his first year, he was physically assaulted by a group of workmates as part of an apprenticeship bastardisation ritual.
Kyle was left traumatised and angry. He became very reactive and when provoked, would take his anger out on his surroundings and others around him. He often drank more alcohol than he knew he should, using it to medicate his pain. Years later when his wife left him he came for help. He didn’t like being the way he was and wanted to change.
Over time Kyle recognised the impact his early trauma had on his ability to relate to others and that this lead to his marriage ultimately breaking down. With therapy for his traumas and with new skills in communicating and relating, Kyle was able to rebuild a relationship with his wife after the divorce and able to have a significant role in raising his children. Kyle has been able to go on and achieve far more than he thought possible and hopes to help others in the future.
When Lindy Chamberlain’s second baby daughter was taken away from her I didn’t sleep for 5 days. I became so agitated that I couldn’t settle to anything and gradually became depressed and suicidal. With the help of a Christian psychologist I gradually began to work through my past trauma and sort out the hard questions of injustice and why bad things happen to seemingly good people.
I wanted to know more and went to university to study. There I learned about Post Traumatic Stress and recognised that this is what I was suffering. I gradually came to understand that Lindy’s experience had triggered my own response to having to place my baby in care while I attended Theological College as well as having decisions for my children taken over by College Staff. A later experience also helped me realise I was one of twins, the only one to survive.
Having developed the knowledge and resources to recover myself, I want to help others recover to lead fulfilling, productive lives, free from trauma.