Jamaica Gleaner

Caurel Richards making a difference through rapid transforma­tional therapy

- Krysta Anderson/Staff Reporter krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com

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.

 ?? ?? To help bring awareness to issues of mental health, Richards has taken on speaking engagement­s with the hope of changing the narrative and encouragin­g action.
To help bring awareness to issues of mental health, Richards has taken on speaking engagement­s with the hope of changing the narrative and encouragin­g action.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTOS ?? Caurel Richards is happy to be stepping away from the norm and taking a diverse approach to mental health.
CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTOS Caurel Richards is happy to be stepping away from the norm and taking a diverse approach to mental health.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica