Notes from your Therapist

Notes from your Therapist jumped off the shelf on a recent trip to the bookshop. Beautifully written notes on scraps of paper about emotional reactions to grief, relationships, wisdom, how you make sense, how to know how you feel, and how to take good care of yourself.

The author experienced the unexpected and traumatic deaths of her mother in a plane crash at a young age and her husband from an accident after the birth of their baby. Her wisdom and vulnerabilities are revealed throughout the book.  

Her words on grief are compelling – not only the grief of a death but of non-death experiences. As William Bridges writes in his books on navigating life transitions where change starts with an ending, there is a neutral zone between no longer and not yet, and new beginnings when the individual has adjusted to the change.

Allyson Dinneen writes “We don’t have to associate grief only with endings. When grief comes to sweep you away, tear you down, and reshape you… know it’s just the beginning – of a life reprioritised around more fully living” (p. 132). Grief offers a new growth perspective if we are open to the transformation.

Lois Tonkin provided a theory on grief ‘growing around grief.’ Grief does not shrink over time more that we grow around the grief. It may not seem like it will dissipate over time when you are in it, but the passing of time brings with it new experiences as we grow in our relationships with ourselves, others and the world around us.

Notes from Your Therapist is a compassionate, gentle, beautifully presented book. It is a gentle reminder that feelings are the gateway to our soul. The simplicity of how to feel your feelings in five steps – 1. Slow down, 2. Tune in, 3. Just notice, 4. Give a minute, 5. Know feelings come and go (pp. 74-75). Noticing and accepting that feelings that show up help you to honour and live an authenticate and self-compassionate life.

In my opinion, the book normalises and validates experiencing the full gamut of emotions. It is part of living with our self, others and the situations we find ourselves in. It is the perfect book to journal from, to dip into, to gain some wisdom and to make sense of our own experiences.

References:

Bridges, W. (2001). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes. London, UK: Nicholas Brealey.
Dinneen, A. (2021). Notes from your therapist. London, UK: Bluebird.
Tonkin, L. (1996). ‘Growing around grief—another way of looking at grief and recovery.’ Bereavement Care, 15(1), p.10, DOI: 10.1080/02682629608657376

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