If Haiti Had Told Me
Haiti, ultimately, it is the story of a succession of painful emotions.
When Sister Fenna speaks, a smile finally escapes between tears as she says coyly “You remember things so far?”
This woman of 76 years whose beauty dazzles all the space, light blue eyes as bright as her person as she tells her country’s story — its history, its evolution, its decline and yet hopeful look. “Haitians are not people who think about suicide. We love life, we dance, music, art … but it’s not going to kill the germs that the Haitians have.”
There would have been a time when the climate was quite secure. In a laugh, she said that it had to be the time when she was too little to remember. Her father said that he climbed the hills on horseback. When night fell, he unsaddled his horse to use this seat as a pillow. He fell asleep peacefully in nature.
No later than yesterday, a man was attacked in this residential area. A gang of youths had completely stripped him. “He was lucky, he came away with his life,” which does not seem to flow naturally, even when we give everything we have. A kind of Russian roulette, or is the one that pulls the trigger, the toss of a multi-traumatized people including a large part of the population is separated, cut entirely from their emotions.
From this point of view, death is a state that opposes the state of living. But under these conditions, where every day is a question, a struggle for survival, eventually death may seem a relaxing alternative.
That would be the key to everything here in Haiti and elsewhere. Physical health, but also mental health, she tells us. Here, you have a lot of work to do. A transmission job, but also for sustainability, a way to give truly without promise superfluous given the means to get better, to bring a bit of humanity in this country marked both by successive political events that have economically devastated Haiti and disasters that tackle the country when it attempts a weak draft to rise.
Modestly, I come to believe in listening: and if we were in the right pass, EFT, the transmit and Remap … Just let it go. Because she says, “we would find guilt to believe that thinking holds the solutions for Haiti.”
It would be demeaning and unsuitable, disempowering.
Live from Haiti Friday, June 28 morning
We return to the main hospital in Port-au-Prince. Twenty nurses and doctors waiting for us to take the training in EFT / Remap.
It’s time that things fall into place … we expect in the corridors of service a new birth, in which we conducted treatment sessions yesterday.
The mom that Yves Wauthier and I saw yesterday in consultation walks by in the hallway. She is unrecognizable. Yesterday, she was dejected, a lack of care made her look like her body folded on itself. But today, her body has a girlish voice, an almost inaudible questioned about her mental state. Today, this mom’s hair was combed and her outfit betrayed that something had changed in her determination not to let go. Her approach was more safe and voluntary, her smile was not wrong when she saw me in the hallways. We exchanged a few words in which she talked about her baby in terms of hope.
This is a mom like any moms in front of me. I’m terribly excited.
We arrive in the breakfast room for training.
Obviously, in this ongoing emergency, time is running out: we monopolize many caregivers and the long hours jeopardize the conduct of their service. Jean-Michel and Yves have a plan very suited to their practice and the nature of the stress they face in the hospital service training.
The interest is palpable. The training began with the viewing of the film directed by IFPEC associations and Psy Energy Without Borders after our first training mission. Buy in is immediate. Undoubtedly these caregivers are precursors in Haiti to adopt these easy techniques to use. In this sense, they will swell the ranks of caregivers in the world who look at the whole person and relieve pain by relying on individual inner resources to unpack the traumatic impact.
By Yves Wauthier (Acep’s Belgium coordinator and chairman of the APEC www.energypsy.eu)
First day quite emotional:
I arrived this morning at the General Hospital of Haiti in the neonatal ward. We accompanied several people whose story is very touching. Then we went to meet a lady who takes care of an orphanage to collect her testimony (Sister Fenna). Tomorrow, we will give training in stress management to deal with emergency situations for the hospital staff, the babies or their families. There are clearly situations where working on inner resources makes no sense in taking people’s faith themselves or their fierce determination to fight for them and not for poor children.
I have personally followed, with Claudie Caufour, a lady suffering from syphilis who has five children to feed (three from her late husband and two of her own). She has to choose either to pay for the neonatal medicine her baby needs (28 weeks), or to pay for her own medicine (which she needs if she is to sell used clothes to earn money to feed her children), or to pay rent (rented land on which she could build a hut made of recovered carpets, fabrics, etc.) so she won’t fear for their life or health when it rains.
Her ultimate fear is survival and the question of what would happen to the children if she disappeared.
This is far from unique, but it gives meaning to the request made by a training institution caring for students studying psychology or that this service neonatal and pediatric.
Our application is to teach them how to use simple EFT techniques as integrative relief tools. The mother told us after the session she felt more courage. Coming from a person who is certainly not lacking in courage in light of the conditions of life there, we must salute her. It makes us feel very small and well off when we complain about trifles. This day dedicated to the training of the personnel of the department of neonatology helped me to put our “worries” in perspective. Beautiful late evening or early night!
The day ended for us with intact emotions.
We first gave an approach to EFT and REMAP to a team of 20 people from the general hospital in Point-a-Pitre service neonatal and pediatric (doctors, nurses) and we continued with a speech and tapping with orphans. Their need for love was so great that we literally had clusters of children surrounding us. Children who simply needed to be touched, heard and watched. Our hearts exploded with how they needed love. We could also facilitate this link using the Tapping Bear as facilitator and transference object. The smiles of the children were so beautiful and so spontaneous that we more or less transmit this energy of love, even though I’m sure you feel it deep inside you!
Tomorrow we’ll be back because some of these children had not spoken since the earthquake three years ago! and we want to continue this work to reconnect. So fruitful and useful, I got my suitcase and finally wondered if they will allow me to give these various teams the teaching materials I had brought for them. These are, therefore, not easy days but they are unforgettable days!
I hope that you can engage with us, volunteer to come participate. In my eyes, it is not only the culmination of a dream, where some live a nightmare, but also a necessity, solidarity, an expression of humanism that moves us forward in life. Because, unlike those hearts that we help, we can personally make a difference in less than 5 days, and then we go back to Europe!
This may seem to be a cliché, but I think you might just realize that this investment of time and heart is one of the greatest gifts we can give to you all. See you tomorrow!
It’s the first of four days of training for the psychology students. Rarely have I seen a group of students as eager to gain knowledge and learning. Nearly 90 people were present and hyper motivated. All subjects were obviously sensitive and we were quickly confronted with that reality. How to teach a tool in its depths while avoiding the pitfalls of reality. Nothing is simple in Haiti. Their trauma is daily. During the first year, a student called me because the caregiver was a bit blocked.
We had just to show the points and said something to the day staff. The staff tells me that the morning after the training he saw someone get shot. I think he attended a performance and I realized that it does not hold water.
I asked him if he saw someone being gunned down by the government or if he saw bandits. They were bandits who carried a person in front of him in the street. The tone was set … a few rounds of tapping to calm everything and reconnect the person with his resources and that incident was retired.
Right after that, another student called me and I realized that she was nearly burned alive with gasoline by her schizophrenic mother 7 years ago.
We realize that we need to change our training plan to help stabilize quickly and in good working order which inevitably brings exchanges and questions that are very relevant and show an understanding and integration of elements to take into account to make a good therapy. I feel personally very excited because this is clearly one of the best groups I have been training.
Nothing trivial, nothing played.
Pure and harsh reality and the equally strong need to learn to do more than survive, but to live and to help others. It is simply magical moments.
Thanks to Claude, Anne and Jean-Michel but above all these students for their total commitment. Tomorrow we will start working with children aged 4 and 8 years who lost their fathers during the earthquake and who have developed a range of behavioral disorders (OCD and tic) because tomorrow is Father’s Day in Haiti!
Second Day of Training: Still With 90 Psychologists from Haiti
We gave training that recalls concepts taught the previous day. We prepared targets and began to put them to work with EFT. We first recall that all that happens during training must remain internal training and we also remember that it is better that they choose medium targets.
In Haiti, it is certainly not the easiest!
I return to work in a demonstration with a little princess 9 years old creating a bond with her gently and respectfully, causing her to speak with one of the activation topics: trouble she has had in school with some students. But beyond that, the real subject is the death of her father during the earthquake and the inability of her mother to even talk just yet about the father.
The link is so important that I take the opportunity to juggle an imitation of Donald Duck as a joke to defuse the non reaction when the teacher does not intervene, and the guilt she feels when children cry. It is clear that this only hides suffering, and we need to link this and recognize that it is in the child victim or executioner. IL is suffering and I recognized that free fall of negative emotions and blockages of the little princess!
This session addresses this activation and allowed Jean-Michel Gurret to string thereafter (and special) session on the real problem. This session also allowed me to make a treatment plan for children and to answer a series of questions on the management of children in domestic service! Children in domestic service are children abducted from their family or have no family, and they serve as slaves in their “adoptive” families.
They spend their days washing, cleaning, ironing so much so that one of our participants said that they did not even know how to play. They do not know any games and it is very difficult to reintegrate them into the education system because they have a lack of confidence and a totally devalued self-image and no resources!
I spend time explaining the brain gym routine and energy to restore databases to their ability to learn what will work on their Self and self-esteem before we can address the trauma and repeated rape and abuse. Heavy!
Besides that, we continue to review how to establish a treatment plan, a planned session and ultimately how to work effectively on a single trauma and complex trauma. I will also explain the basics of stabilization and therapies ego state which is a gateway to the reprocessing complex traumas. The explanation of the first four REMAP points and reframing consolidates all 5 points. Tomorrow, July 1, we start with a demo showing all these notions.
Targeting the Session EFT and REMAP
One of the issues also fell on how to manage people strongly in the mind. Classic questioning brings us back to the importance of the therapeutic relationship and the therapeutic alliance. I took the opportunity to do two demos for 15 minutes about EFT, the results follow and everyone observed the phase connection to emotions and sensations (caused by acceleration of tapping and verbalization – with mounted in one patient with a “but … stop!” angry enough, a second phase of desensitization juggling the pace of tapping into the slowing while cropping in 5 points and finally yet another round of resources.
Result: The patient himself admits spontaneously that he no longer feels able to store and easy to see even.
Demonstration made reprocessing information…
In short, a long day that perfectly illustrated that he can quickly change a belief system and free himself for a better quality of life. A lot of emotions and then tomorrow we will take all this with a more specific work on resources, the Self and the reconstruction of our internal quality.
Thanks to all and see you tomorrow!
Third Day of Training
The day began with a demonstration showing the theoretical elements seen in previous days: Targeting, treatment plan and session.
The patient has a phobia that she says was born from a recurring nightmare that began six months ago. It is a dream that comes every two to three weeks and involves an accident of a blue bus that she lives through (public transportation in Haiti with tap tap also). I ask her if something special happened in the previous release of the first year these nightmares, the patient immediately returns to a narrowly averted bus accident. So we start with words and recall the words of the patient.
I take this opportunity to explain that we can bind to both the event and the nightmares while making the rounds of tapping.
During the round, it appears that since this event was narrowly avoided by this young woman we dare not take the bus alone, but as if it is accompanied by friends. We insert this new aspect in the rounds of tapping, while continuing to stimulate points on the roots out. In 40 minutes, we eliminate her phobia and also take the opportunity to stabilize another event that resurfaced during desensitation!
Namely, an attack she suffered last week when she was attacked by two armed men. So there was a common link between these two events: the insecurity and having narrowly escaped death in both incidents. I simply stabilized by stimulating the first four points REMAP and pacification in silence. I suggest to the patient to leave it in a container until she’s more at ease before doing another session. This new incident is different from a phobia of buses.
After a few clarifying questions on the session, we kick off with the installation of REMAP resources to help them prepare for, at least, stabilizing the complex trauma and to prepare the restatement. In fact, we had to adapt our training plan in Haiti because there is almost no single trauma!
Guerda comes with hypersensitivity and explained that she cries when she is rebuffed, frustrated, experiences injustice, etc. In search of basic events, I notice that we are dealing with a child who has not had a father, had a hyper protective mother and brothers and sisters who “hunted” as soon as she bothered them. We clearly have a big attachment disorder on a hypersensitive child. I take this opportunity to explain the tilting and actually locate useful to counteract the blocking belief and negative cognition resource.
The lack of self-confidence and especially the injustice she felt … We found a time when she was able to hold her emotions at bay because she knew she had given everything she could in the event in question despite criticism! We strengthen this resource and move to trigger this (which was an incident where a manager told her to go get something to eat in another room and another had denied her entry claiming that it was now reserved for children.
Instantaneous tripping with tears at the thought! We calmed her by stimulating dots and REMAP repassons strengthening the resource stage and vice versa and so on. In 25 minutes, Guerda laughs and thinking back to the various events, she remains calm and smiling. So we were able to start and strengthen a useful resource for power, once we had verified that it holds well, back in the past to disable all events that could still obstruct its release.
We continue the day with the implementation of this system resources and tilting. Tomorrow, we will show the staff how to handle this group because many of our participants have follow up groups as children as domestic servants.
For the record, these are children who have experienced trauma in addition to virtual slavery for many years and are often illiterate and completely unable to remember or even play because they have never done so!