Jane McDonald*, Trauma Therapy

Melbourne, VIC | March 2019

What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
I think I was doing it 10 years before I took it seriously as a business. Last year I participated in the Money for Jam program and that’s how I met Gina. And it was since doing Money for Jam that I took the business side of my work more seriously. I looked at it as a business. But I’ve recently cut down from three days to two. I was finding I’d finish work and spend the next day exhausted in bed.

I work in trauma therapy. It’s not counselling though. I use psychosensory therapy to target trauma in the body where it lives, which is the electrochemical system. It repairs the disconnect between different parts of the brain that stopped communicating with each other due to trauma and restores the proper function of the hippocampus and amygdala.

During trauma a brainwave of one hundred megahertz sweeps through the brain causing trauma receptors to come out onto the surface of the Amygdala, which is the fear centre of the brain. At the same time the brain releases an enzyme that glues the trauma receptors onto the fear centre, essentially making the fear centre bigger. As a result of trauma the part of the Hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for processing sensory information and turning it into narrative memory) freezes and we never get to fully process the traumatic events, which then play 24/7 in the implicit or sensory memory, which feels like we are experiencing the trauma constantly. And so the traumatic memories never properly get “filed” in the filing cabinet of the mind.

So my story, I spent my twenties in and out of psychiatric hospitals, was on anti psychotics and Deep Sleep Treatment. I was on anti depressants for a total of 45 years. I had psychotherapy for 35 years, much of it very good and helpful, but it never changed the felt sense of burden and chaos in my body, my life.  Then I had severe heart failure and wasn’t supposed to live very long. So I got desperate and finally found a therapist who specialised in electrochemical therapies, beginning with ‘EFT’ (Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as Tapping and a form of Energy work). This has been proven in a multitude of scientific studies to be the most effective therapy available.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
So I had to resign from my lecturing position at university because my heart was failing but I still tried to finish my PhD in trauma and it’s relationship to creativity. I was seeing this extraordinary EFT therapist and began to get better. My cardiologist began reducing my medications. One day my EFT therapist said “You need to go and learn this”. So I thought “Bugger the PHD, I just want to be well”. So That’s how I got into trauma therapy.

I’ve studied 6 different types of EFT and have qualified in 4 of them, including Clinical EFT, EFT for Trauma and the astonishing Matrix ReImprinting (excellent for childhood trauma). The hands-on training happens over several weekends and then there is all the reading, clinical supervision and case studies and exams to pass. With the ongoing training it takes about a year or two to qualify in each method. Since then I’ve trained in specialist hypnosis for trauma: The Richards Trauma Process (TRTP) and in Havening, which s the newest version of EFT.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
The Money for Jam mentor program last year.

Why did you want to go into business?
I think because I’d just studied the new therapy called ‘Havening’ and results were spectacular. People with childhood sexual abuse, 3 sessions and they were done. The results were so fantastic I thought ‘I’ve got to go for this’. I needed to take this business seriously.

What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
Oh I’m a complete disaster…I can’t even add up! They gave me a profit/loss book and I’ve probably redone the totals 7-10 times. And even then I find things I’ve forgotten or left out and have to do it all over again. When it comes to financial stuff I’m a disaster on legs. Gina tries to set targets with me and occasionally I do them. No, most of the time I do them. But things happen.

A few weeks ago the centre that I worked from closed down. And then my cat passed away. I said to Gina, “I can’t do this this week, holding my head up is enough.” She said “that’s ok” and just offered emotional support.

It’s more than just support. If you’re trying to make a massive change in your life you can’t do it in isolation. You need to make sure you’re supported and Gina has been that support for me. Society is so atomised and you get so isolated. And if you’ve had trauma you feel even more alone. You need supportive people with you to guide you through the big changes and huge learning curves.

What did you find the most useful about the assistance from Many Rivers?
It’s that constant support. The constant checking in and accountability. She keeps me on track.

Did you get a loan from MR? How did you use the loan?
No, it wasn’t about the financial help, it was the support that I needed.

What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Biggest challenge is actually sitting and writing up the profit and loss book and getting it right.

What has been the biggest success to date?
Paying my website off. Paying off the filming for the website. Getting on the first page of Google. Having a steady stream of clients. This type of therapy means I have a high turn over of clients, they don’t need dozens of sessions. So having that ongoing stream of new clients has been really important and marketing helps with that.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I’m due to go on the aged pension next year and while my health has improved vastly I am aging and I’m not in a position to work full-time. What I want to do is keep the business going because I love it and because it pays for my training and it’s doing a bloody good job in the community. But the work is too intense to go full time and I don’t want to put my prices up so only the elite can afford me. So I’m in a bit of a never-world regarding income and work hours.

It’s a service that gets out there and helps a lot of people. The business enables me to keep my training up.

In about 20 years, every one will be tapping every day. It’s really taking off. While talk therapy can provide understanding, insight and even wisdom, it can’t remove the felt sense of burden in the body, the chaos, the deep embedded distress.  I’m blessed to be in 3 professional associations and working together with some of the most esteemed therapists in the country.

*Real name has not been used.

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