Today is the one year anniversary of my blog, Treating Trauma in Chicago. I like to use anniversaries as a time to reflect on the past year and to consider my goals, plans and hopes for the year to come. I started blogging with the intention of giving something back. I wanted to share the wealth of experience and information I have gained from over 20 years of work in the trauma field. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would grow myself. I guess I should have! I do believe that when we give we get; when we teach we learn.
Blogging has opened doors for me, showing me the wealth of resources available through social media networking. I have gained knowledge, networking opportunities and most importantly meaningful connections with trauma professionals, activists and survivors (not that those categories are mutually exclusive). Everyone I have “met”, read, tweeted with and received comments from has given me a gift I very much appreciate.
Some of the highlights of the last year also included:
- Making the leap from blogging to tweeting. I was so honored when Psych Central included me among their Top Ten Psych Tweeps.
- Learning about the wealth of information available via Blog Carnivals and being allowed to participate in several. I highly recommend the carnival against child abuse, carnival against sexual violence, feminist carnival and recovery from childhood sexual abuse carnival.
- I was introduced to trauma activist-survivors running powerhouse sites of their own, Michele Rosenthal’s Heal My PTSD and Angela Shelton’s Survivor Manual. Collaborating with others towards the same goals of awareness, education and helaing helps us all have more impact. Toward that end, I was delighted to share my thoughts about grounding as part of Michele’s PTSD Professional Perspective series and to act as a contributing author to the Survivor Manual.
- Another social media loving therapist, DeeAnna Merz Nagel, got me thinking about online therapy options. Through her I learned about the The Online Therapy Institute, a cutting edge resource for all things related to the impact of technology on mental health. I am excited to have expanded my own practice to include Online Therapy options.
- I enjoy chatting/brainstorming/consulting with Dr. Keely Kolmes about the impact of social media on the therapeutic relationship. Look for some collaborations from us on this topic coming up!
- Daily I am reminded that any one of us can make a difference. Jen Dugan’s You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project, abeeliever‘s invlovement in the Out of the Darkness Overnight walk, Violence Unsilenced and Operation Beautiful are just a few of the exciting, life-changing projects I’ve been so moved to learn about.
Overall, what I value so much is how blogging continues to reaffirm what I believe and what brought me to this profession in the first place: that growth and healing are possible, that connections help us grow and heal, that those who work to connect and create something meaningful do indeed out-number those who tear down and do harm.
In my musings on this anniversary and what the year has brought I thought about my blog design. I chose as the header image a picture from the Chicago Botanical Gardens of a lotus. Gardens and nature in general are a big part of how I nurture and replenish myself, one piece of my work to prevent my own compassion fatigue. I have a whole other post full of things to say about how gardening reminds me of the lessons of therapy (growth takes time and is occurring even when we do not see it for example). I was struck by how I unwittingly (unconsciously?) chose an image for this blog as fitting as the lotus by a bit of something I heard the other today. A character on TV was repeating a quote:”the jewel is in the lotus”, described to mean “you already have within you what you need”. To me that says we, all of us, have within us the innate ability to heal, grow and blossom. You may need someone to help you find an environment that facilitates growth, but you definitely can grow and flourish.
Thank you to all I have encountered this year. I look forward to seeing how we grow together in the year to come.