The Problem is not the Problem but a Solution to another Problem: The role of self-harm, addiction and other ‘apparently’ sabotaging behaviour
“Is your foot sore?”, I innocently asked. Part way through a session I noticed my client pressing her foot into the floor. Her face froze. She looked like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Her expression was a combination of shock (at my noticing) and shame (for something of which I had no idea). I was perplexed by her reaction. I sat quietly and waited. After a few seconds she replied, “No. I have a thumb-tack in my shoe and I’m pressing my foot down on it.”
“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily but not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet” Rachel Naomi Ramen.
Mental and allied health professionals, lawyers, the judiciary, and corrective services staff intersect the lives of others at critical and often traumatic junctures. These professions are frequently indirectly exposed to trauma through listening to accounts of traumatic events, exposure to distressing images, reading police, psychological and medical reports and victim impact statements.
On 3 February 2023, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced approval of the psychedelic substances in magic mushrooms and MDMA for use by people with certain mental health conditions, specifically PTSD and treatment resistant depression. This makes Australia the first country in the world to recognise psychedelics as medicines. In this interview, I explore the current psychedelic research in Australia with Martin Williams, PhD.
In this article, the authors reflect on the VT experience of lawyers and mental health professionals working with victim-survivors of sexual abuse, harassment, assault and rape. Josh Bornstein is Principal lawyer in Industrial Relations and Employment Law at Maurice Blackburn, practicing in this field for over 20 years. Naomi Halpern is director of Delphi Training and Consulting. She has over 30 years’ experience working with victim-survivors of trauma and abuse.