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Bringing Vulnerability In From The Cold: An End Of Year Reflection

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Our work as psychologists and our personal experience of pain has brought a certain 'way' of being, and working, to light here at in2gr8mentalhealth. We have worked with, and 'experienced as patient', models such as psychoanalysis, EMDR, cognitive analytic therapy, internal family systems therapy (and so forth), and we understand the importance and abundance brought from the painful integration of hurt parts of the self.

These hurt parts carry the knowledge of an experience that unlocks meaning within our whole body-mind system. Meaning leads to sense-making, sense-making leads to various ways of being able to hold and grieve that pain, grieving leads to integration, integration is a peace or laying of pain to rest. When hurt parts are heard, understood, cared for, even cherished in time, we become stronger and wiser and can act in the world with our fullest power, we can become unhindered in doing what we love the most.

As a community that carries pain, both a myriad of different personal pains and a humming chorus of singular pain experienced by all of us who have felt stigmatised for carrying pain whilst in the mental health scene, we must operate in our organisation here to mirror the powerful process of this integration. We must welcome, hold, understand, and cherish the value of the pain that our community brings us, in the hope that we can do our part in supporting healing to integration, both individually and systemically.

We know many of our community are engaged in the warriorship of integrating the darker, shadow, sometimes exiled parts of their internal worlds in personal therapy, in spiritual work with religious leaders and vaunted Elders, in conversations with family, friends, and at work in their teams or in speaking out wider. We hold this valiant vulnerability, tenderness, strength and fire in mind as standard in those we meet. People are in different places on their path and we welcome it all. We hope that what we do alongside this in our work here, is to scaffold this core and sometimes raw, powerful energy of our community. We offer a place for the work and additional good, binding mud to the foundations they are laying for themselves. We help to divest the self of carrying projected burdens of hate for the system and experience a 'freedom from'. We offer understanding and solidarity in the work, humility in how we learn to operationalise as an organisation around it, and a platform and connections into further interrupting toxic signals about vulnerability within the mental health systems around us.

We have experienced the painful gaps in our mental health professional systems, and wider mental health services. We do our best to guide and advise, whilst building relationships with that same system to guide and advise them as to how we can be understood and met. Building relationships with systems that have hurt is a job requiring fortitude, grounding, wisdom, compassion, heart advocacy, allyship and community. If this change-maker were drawn, it would have many heads and many bodies coalesced into one. It would speak from many allied hearts, and be propelled by a central furnace of energy fed into by many fires for change.

The two quotes above came into my life recently and hold the essence of these efforts at writing. As we look ahead to 2022 for in2gr8mentalhealth, it will be a time of increased communal gathering and ways into pooling our gold and wielding it in the true meaning of the strength of the experience that is 'compassion', both to protect, nourish, heal and to change. We will continue to build our peer guiding capacity, whilst honing our chiropractic moves on the mental health scene towards valuing more integrated, more human, and therefore more strengthened ways of being in the world as organisations. Just imagine what it would look like to accept, move with and be taught by vulnerability as a necessary part of work? It requires transectional shifts through attitude, through culture, through policy, and through operations; it requires not doing things as they have been done (especially if it's just because they have 'always been done that way'); it is upending and rubbling of some of what has gone before; it requires lateral, farsighted and past-informed vision: this is our community's starting point, may our powerful integrating energy together evoke a wider healing reality.


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