Yesterday attended a workshop organised by a company called the Chrysalis Effect - http://thechrysaliseffect.org/ run by recoverers of chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia - which are different expressions of the same problem. The workshop was for Practitioners to learn about the radical new approach that they promote of online coaching for sufferers and team working guided by practitioners who really understand the problem and can take people through an individualised Program for recovery. As this is considered incurable by mainstream medicine it is very interesting to find people who not only believe that you can recover but are here to prove it!
They talk about the 6 stages of recovery from Phase I (Denial) where you have many seemingly unrelated symptoms for which you will probably be seeking medical advice (headaches, fatigue, frequent infections, etc), Stage 2 (crash) - a trigger event will force the person to stop curtail their normal life - maybe a virus, an accident or a loss - this can often be months or even a few years later. Stage 3 is where the person having tried to overcome the problem with willpower is now disheartened and very much defined by their condition - they are an 'ME sufferer' with a diagnosis and a 'treatment' regime which is largely about managing symptoms. The search for external solutions (different therapists/treatments, etc) has begun but it is very ad hoc hoppin from one therapist to the next until loss of hope sets in. This can last indefinately if you are following the conventional route 'managing' the illness with pain killers, anti-spasmodics, sleeping tablets and anti-depressants.
Phase 4 is the internal search - whereby with support and help from a trained professional you can look holistically at your lifestyle - all the elements of beliefs, values and behaviour which have got you where you are (A-type personality, driven, always giving to others, self-critical, highly sensitive but put on a good face, adrenal fatigue - stress response 'always on the go'). in this phase you are encouraged to find your connection with life again - the thing that 'akes your heart sing' and attempt to bring this back to some extent (depending of course on your capabilities), If you always wanted to write but were forced in to a desk job to pay the bills, this is a time to embark on something to do with writing - even it's only a blog or perhaps a diary. You are supported nutritionally, emotionally and physically with this gradual transition until you are able to enter Phase 5 where your symptoms have all but gone. Phase 6 - full recovery is defined as symptom free for a year.
What most impressed me about the approach is not only it's basis in holistic wellbeing not just quick fix but its multidisciplinary approach. No one practiitioner can do it all and here the model is one of collaboration with a number of related practitioners who co-refer within the framework of one leading practitioner who designs the program for the client so they know - upfront- how much it will cost, how many visits they require - who what when how much. What they get in return is a clear program that they can start from the beginning - with online training and regular support from their team of therapists to guide them on the path to recover. It's a very streamlined and targeted intervention and I am very excited byt the approach which seeks to both empower and encourage the client to heal themselves and to support the practitioners in a team rather than feeling alone and overwhelmed by the seeming impossibility of the task at hand..
To learn the full protocol I need to go on another series of training sessions lasting 6 months and costing £2500. I haven't made up my mind yet what to do but one thing is certain. This model of collaboration and wellbeing coaching is unique in my mind - perhaps there is the equivalent in cancer care but it is very much more difficult as the conventional treatment for cancer has so much more complexity. If I do choose to go this route I would be a specialist rather than a generalist - something I have been thinking about for a long time. It is no good telling people what you use (Massage, Reiki, EFT, etc) it is results that count (I relieve your pain, and enable you to recover). If by focusing on something specific you get really good at getting results then that is what truly counts to the client.
Watch this space then for my decision..