Caurel Richards making a difference through rapid transformational therapy
AS PEOPLE across the globe mark World Mental Health Day, Flair spoke with rapid transformational therapy (RTT) practitioner Caurel Richards, who has been championing a diverse approach to mental wellness.
“As an RTT practitioner, I facilitate sessions that give clients the opportunity to access those deep-rooted beliefs they have running in the subconscious mind that is determining how they perceive the outside world,” said Richards.
The practitioner uses a combination of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, neurolinguistic programming and hypnotherapy to give patients a better understanding of where symptoms began. This allows them to release and reframe their beliefs, while reinstalling new lifeaffirming perspectives aligned with a positive direction.
Born and raised by a single mother in Kingston, Richards described her formative years with one word: chaotic. She moved around a lot, which allowed her to have diverse experiences, but she lacked stability. Having aunts around made her grateful, but they could not fill the gap her father made with his departure at the age of two. Others saw her as fortunate, but it was a different case behind closed doors.
“Most people back then would say I had an exceptional childhood, since I was always provided for financially. They would even go as far as to say I was lucky because I had so many opportunities. But for a very long time, I felt unsafe, alone, and misunderstood, since my emotional needs were unmet,” the professional revealed.
As she got older, the stress continued to follow her every move. And Richards did everything she could to shake that plague. Her coping mechanisms for working long hours included partying even harder, drinking, smoking on occasion, and engaging in intimate relations. These forms of escapism would interchange based on the day.
But all they did was serve as a band-aid to a gaping wound. “All the childhood trauma that I experienced affected how I showed up in relation to others, because of the relationship I had with myself. I had a huge abandonment and trust wound that had developed because of repeated emotional neglect and sexual trauma I experienced. Subconsciously, I believed I was a bad person for a long time and that I was unworthy of love,” said Richards.
Consumed by shame and guilt, she took things personally in relationships. “I internalised a lot, and that created long-term mental stress and, subsequently, developed complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It affected how I perceived the world, and for the most part, the world was unsafe. So, sometimes I had a difficult time controlling my emotions, feeling angry and distrustful of the world.”
It wasn’t until she migrated to Canada that she was able to quiet the noise in her life. “When I say ‘noise’, what I mean is the expectations of others and the pressure to check off certain boxes before a certain age. When I got here, the change in the environment allowed me to start fresh and do things my way, especially since I had moved here by myself,” she told Flair.
Practising within her profession for over a year, the career has taught her a great deal about the patients in her care, and herself.
“In retrospect, I was living in a state of perpetual fear. Fear of disappointing others or being judged for whom I thought I was: a recipe for people-pleasing,” she said, adding that she has changed how she makes decisions. “Since then, my mind got a chance to reboot, and now I perceive things differently. Instead of making decisions based on what I fear will happen if I don’t, I make decisions based on what is in alignment with who I am at my core. I’ve created a life I want to live every day with the best support system I could ever have. I started a business that serves to help others get excited about life again and become unstuck.”
Each session with a client is catered towards their individual needs. Whether they are struggling with anxiety, depression, insomnia, or overthinking, she makes it her mission to let them know that they are not alone, and that change is possible.
“Stress is the main motivator causing emotional disruption. An event that is a close reminder of your earlier trauma can put you back into the original experiences. The memories, even if suppressed, are rooted in the symptoms we face, like anxiety, depression, and overthinking. It’s also rooted in our relationship struggles and our not-good sense of self (our self-esteem).”
Richards says one of the ways you can practise good mental health is to acknowledge your own feelings. “Your feelings give you valuable information about the story or the narrative you’re telling yourself. Your thoughts are connected to how you’re feeling. Your feelings dictate the action or inaction you take, and that determines the type of events you experience.”
Aside from biological, other environmental factors include physical, emotional and/or sexual trauma; social isolation or loneliness; bullying; early loss of a parent or sibling; unsafe or dysfunctional home environment due to divorce, mental illness, incarcerated relatives, substance abuse, maternal issues, violent encounters, cultural or social expectations, or chronic illness.
When triggered, Richards recommends having an attitude of gratitude for the awareness of the emotional wound, since it’s one step closer to healing. “What may have caused that wound to develop may not be your fault, since it can be rooted in childhood trauma. However, as an adult, it is your responsibility to do what is necessary for your own healing to break that cycle, especially if it’s no longer serving your highest good.”
To help bring awareness to the complex PTSD and mental health, Richards has been getting involved with speaking engagements with the hope that she can change the narrative to encourage more happily ever afters.