I am grateful I am in a position in life to be on this adventure. I find my heart opening each time I walk down the street as little children and older women greet with me with a warm smile of curiosity. I am amazed at Nepali people’s resilience. The devastating earth quake is not the only challenge they face here. Thousands of bikes, cars, trucks and buses line up for days to get petrol. The power is off at least 10 hours a day and gas, their source of heat, is only available at high prices through the black market. Next door I watch as a family working together knocks out one whole wall of their 3 story damaged by the quake. What is disconcerting to me is that they are rebuilding with the same brick and nothing else, no frame, wood or metal to hold it together and nothing which will sustain it when the next quake occurs.
Today Sae and I met an amazing group of professional women who manage the clinical services for TPO, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization. These women provide clinical supervision to 150 psycho social staff who serve 14 of the most affected districts in Nepal. The organization envisions conflict-resolved, resilient communities where local populations have adequate access to multi-dimensional mental health and psychosocial care systems. They asked us to come and present TRE as a possible tool for their own self care, their frontline staff and for those they serve across the country.
The women listened attentively to the brief introduction, nodding their heads as they know too well, in their own lives and work, the symptoms and impact of trauma. They work with earthquake survivors, those impacted by human trafficking and refugees who are coming across the Himalayas looking for refuge in Nepal. They also spoke of their interest in the mind body connection and trauma. As psychologists and psychiatrists, they see a need to go beyond talk therapy to bring healing. Two of them shared that empathic listening is sometimes all they can provide to those who don’t speak their language and it isn’t enough.
As they tremored some laughed in amazement while others quietly shook, all exploring this strange body experience called shaking. As they debriefed their experience among themselves they were animated and engaged with each other. I was wishing I knew Nepali so I could understand what they were saying. Returning to the larger group, quiet shyness fell over the circle. So different from my experiences of the western world, yet I felt their intrigue and inner understanding of this tool called TRE.
Many of them took our brochure and asked for our email address, an indication that yes, TRE is of interest to them. We are going back in a few weeks to talk about their experience with TRE with the hope that the seeds planted today will create an opening for the energy of TRE to move throughout the country.