Privacy Counts

The 5 most important things you must know about privacy before Camming

With so much innovation in the tech industry it’s hardly surprising that many companies are now offering you the chance to stream from any device and location. When all you need is Wi-Fi, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping you broadcasting your cam life from anywhere, or is there?

The Law

Although the law in the UK (specifically England) states that it is not illegal to be naked in a public place, you can be prosecuted for causing another individual, alarm, or distress. Depending upon the place or circumstances, this could be termed as indecent exposure if harassment has also occurred. If it can be proved that you intentionally acted to cause upset and shock, this can become an offence.

Obviously, being naked doesn’t include acts of a sexual nature in a public place. The laws relating to this, in England and Wales, were changed in 2003. Whilst sexual activity in a public toilet is still an offence, sex in other public places is not. That is, unless it is witnessed or there is a reasonable chance at least 2 members of the public may see what’s happening.

Logos and Signs

This is an area where you are most likely to get caught out and whilst it may not involve a prison sentence, the inadvertent marketing of big brands, could land you in big trouble. The majority of large companies do not wish to see their brands associated with adult material in any way shape and form.

They have huge amounts of money at their disposal to sue and ensure convictions of anyone caught flouting these rules. If you are making money out of the broadcast, and get caught, not realising, or noticing branding in the background (or foreground) is not a defence in terms of the law. So, unless you have permission from the brand you must be extremely careful of what appears in your broadcast.

Easy enough when you are in the confines of your own space or studio but much more difficult to monitor when you are on the move, in a public place.

Location

If you decide to broadcast on your mobile device, somewhere other than the comforts of your room or studio, you should always check any local bye laws. Individual areas, such as towns, counties, or regions, may have laws specific to them.

Indeed, some properties, or areas have complete bans on photography or filming of any description and broadcasting via your cam, most likely falls into this category. You should make checks before you start broadcasting and where possible (and necessary) obtain permission beforehand. Though to be honest, you are unlikely to receive it for camming!

Background

It’s quite difficult to keep a track of everything going on in the background while you are camming as it’s normally live to air. You must however bear in mind it is your responsibility to ensure you are working within the bounds of the law. You may think it’s cool to start a cam session in front of a famous landmark (even with your clothes on) but it’s not! You need to remember that any live broadcast tells anyone watching exactly where you are, at that very moment. Any kind of privacy you may have built up for your adult profile will have been blown wide open.

For example, let’s imagine you are on a bus and you decide to have a quick cam session with one of your dedicated fans (who by the way is more than likely on his, or her smart phone). Just as the session starts the driver announces the next stop and immediately your exact location is given away.

Making a short video while you are on the bus, to post to your social media or fans site is fine but ALWAYS check the content before you post and preferably wait until you get home to do it.

Looking at your content on a big screen is always advisable and try not to focus on yourself, check out everything else in the shot. Just because you can’t see it on your smart phone, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

People

With the advent of facial recognition software, it’s even more important these days to ensure there are no random people in the background (or foreground for that matter). Identities can be located very quickly even with just a partial shot of a face. Most sites will insist that anyone in the shot is verified by them before appearing. Just because you are in a public place doesn’t mean the rules no longer apply.

If somebody comes into shot, you are going to have to either edit it or redo it, which is going to prove difficult if you are on live cam. You need to make absolutely sure that you are fully aware of what images you are broadcasting, at all times.

 

Above all, be CAREFUL, be SAFE and ALWAYS be AWARE.

Love Carla x

How to Overcome Cyberbullying as a Webcam Model by Penelope Banks

It doesn’t matter how good you are as a webcam model, some people just can’t help themselves. Some people are just mean. And we’ve all experienced it a time or two. So today I wanted to share a few things that have helped me and that you can do to overcome cyberbullying as a webcam model.

 

How to Overcome Cyberbullying

Take a Deep Breath

The first thing that I recommend doing when someone is attempting to cyberbully you, is to take a deep breath. Instead of reacting, just take a nice big deep breath. I can’t tell you the number of people who have called me names, told me I’m ugly and I shouldn’t be a webcam model, or flat out tell me that I’m disgusting.

And comments like those can often be discouraging at times. But what you have to realize is that a lot of the time, these people are dealing with their own problems. They are usually unhappy with themselves and are projecting this onto you. So as much as you want to, try your very best not to take it personally and just take a deep breath.

 

Don’t Fight Back

When someone is attempting to bully you, don’t fight back. Don’t give them the satisfaction and the power to control your emotions. Especially while you’re working.

If someone comments on one of your posts or comes into your chat room with any kind of negativity, don’t let yourself get sucked into it. Don’t give any attention to it. You’re better than that. You know who you are and what your goals are and that’s all that matters.

 

Block Them

One of the great things about camming sites is that you can easily block someone if they are bullying your or harassing you. Which is what I always do. The first time someone says something even slightly negative in my room, I block them. And then I move on.

Unfortunately there are times when bullying can turn into harassment and blocking someone just doesn’t work. If this is the case, there are steps you can take to ensure that you are protected. You can use GEO blocking to block countries and you can work directly with a cyber specialist to help protect your privacy.

Talk to Someone

If you’re struggling to overcome cyberbullying, you can always reach out and talk to someone who is there to listen. Pineapple Support offers free or low-cost therapy to those working in the adult industry who are in need of emotional support.

 

Written by Penelope Banks

Penelope Banks is a webcam model, blogger, and model recruiter.

Twitter: @Akapbanks

5 Things You Must Know To Help Keep Your Private Life Private!

For anyone working in the adult industry, you may have already thought about the importance of ensuring your private life is kept private. It’s so easy to create profiles on social media and then forget that most of the time you aren’t only posting your life events to your friends and family.

One of the easiest ways to make absolutely sure, that you make the most out of your professional social media, without ruining your private life, is to have separate profiles for each. Your private profile should only be accessible to your friends and family and have no associations with your work life in the adult world.

1. Understanding Your Privacy Settings
In some cases you may feel it’s too late to consider operating a separate account for your social media profiles, or perhaps feel it is impossible. If this really is the case, then do make absolutely sure that you understand how to operate the privacy settings on each of your accounts. Privacy settings generally allow you to make choices as to who sees your pictures, posts and profile. On Facebook for example, you have the option of only allowing your friends, or your friends and their friends, or anyone (known as public).
If you can’t find the information you want about the privacy settings, then it’s a good idea to check out forums as you’ll probably find the answer you need there, sometimes with useful links to the right part of the site.

2. Think About Your Main Picture Content
Whilst you may love the picture someone took of you on your family holiday, it’s not really the best idea to use it on your professional social media pages, or indeed any work associated websites. There are numerous picture recognition software packages about now which can be used to trawl sites to find picture matches. That holiday pic you thought was so good, you would use it on your adult related website, will suddenly become linked to your family holiday snaps an banter on Insta!
It doesn’t mean you can only use professional photos, it simply means decide which you’re going to use it for and stick to it.

3. What About Background Pictorial Content?
Always check the background of any pics you use for your adult related work as it’s really easy to slip up and give away key locations, or even more personal information, such as a car registration for example. You should make sure you do not include and famous landmarks, or brands as many companies could be willing to sue you for bringing their brand into disrepute and it’s extremely unlikely you would ever win such a battle.

4. Always Think First Before Pressing Enter
A huge percentage of inappropriate posts happen because the person posting does not stop to think about the consequences of their actions.
NEVER post things in anger, whilst drunk (or under the influence), or as a direct response to something you do not agree with. NEVER make rude responses to anyone online, no matter how strongly you feel.

5. Always make sure you use some virus protection on your devices (Laptop, Phone, Desk Top PC).
They not only check for viruses but also for Trojans and other sneaky things which could invade your device and your life.

NEVER click on any link without checking first with the sender (even if you know the sender). You never know if their account has already been compromised. Call them up first and ask them if they sent you something before trusting it.

It’s ALWAYS better to be SAFE rather than SORRY!

Stay Safe
Love All
Carla Sez x

How to maintain a healthy outlook in the industry when difficult clients get you down

Given that our work is centered in our sexual selves, it often feels easier to just ignore bad feelings and hope they go away. But few of us truly have the ability to shake off negative encounters like they never happened. Instead, hurt and insult fester, poisoning our self-esteem, rattling our minds while shutting our bodies down.  – Lola Devina

 

A tweet popped up recently that asked, how do you maintain a healthy outlook when you work day-in and day-out with entitled, toxic, and/or abusive customers. This is such a big and important question. To answer it, I looked to two of my all-time favorite go-to goddesses: Lola Devina and Brené Brown.

 

Sex worker and author, Lola Devina, gives clued-in heartfelt advice about how to cope with the emotional toll of sex work. Brené Brown’s anti-shame work is changing the way our culture thinks about shame and compassion. The following advice is chosen from their work and the work of others.

 

Separating the bad that is thrown at us from the outside world from our own unhelpful beliefs

 

  1. Ask, What is the story that I am telling myself?

 

When something happens that triggers strong emotions, we often immediately create a story to make sense of what happened. These stories are often one-sided worst-case scenarios, and they seldom contain the full truth.  Brené Brown.

 

Brené calls these stories the Stormy First Draft. “SFD is our brain’s way of making sense of something when we don’t have full information. We are a meaning-making species. In the absence of data, we make up stories because having complete information is a self-protective survival skill. But these stories often magnify our fears and anxieties.”

 

Example: A guy on Twitter tweeted some horrible things about me.

 

The story I am telling myself is: He is an asshole. Why is he being so mean? I don’t even know him. ..I must have done something wrong.. at least, I could have handled it better. If only I was (wittier, more professional, better, ______ ), then trolls like him wouldn’t target me.

 

  1. Reality check your story. Often, we fill in information gaps with details that are biased by our fears. Reality checking helps us to separate what they did from what we believe.

 

Reality check: All I know about Twitter guy is that he was being abusive. What I don’t know is if he is an asshole or that I could have done anything differently to stop his abuse.

 

Assumptions about the abusive Twitter guy, our abilities, or our self-worth create an emotional hook that can easily spiral downward. Anger, resentment, and self-criticism can send us into a black hole or exhaust us while we suppress the emotional pain.

 

 

*Helpful extra: Listen to Lola on Anger, Brenè on Stories and Brenè on Shame.

 

 

Getting to know your own emotional hooks

 

  1. Ask, how did the situation make me think about myself?

 

When something bad happens at work, it is natural to feel deflated for a while. But feelings that fester can signal that our own negative self-beliefs have been triggered. What beliefs did this encounter, situation, or bad day bring to the surface for you?

 

The story that I am telling myself: If only I were  …. It would be easier.

What it makes me think about myself: I am not good enough.

 

 

*Helpful extras: read the Science behind Inner critics and Steps to defuse inner critics.

 

 

  1. Use a reality-checking app to unhook from harmful self-beliefs

 

Upsetting self-beliefs are often based on a morsel of truth and a whole lot more of exaggerations, anxious predictions, and/or oversimplification. Use the free app Moodtools Thought Record Diary for Android or Apple.

 

 

  1. Unhook from stigma and shame

Davina explains in her book, Thriving in Sex Work,

..clients show up with all their baggage, expecting us to deal. They want to be turned on; they want to get off. They crave beauty, kink, variety, danger, and role-play.

Often, clients are ashamed of their bodies, their desires, their infidelities and/or their patronage.

Like black holes in reverse, clients bend badness and blame away from themselves. I call it “outsourcing shame.” […] Clients also wrestle with guilt. Many clients are married or partnered or come from religious backgrounds, taking a little taste of something they don’t want anyone to know about. Nobody wants to feel bad while paying to feel good, so they shunt their ick onto us..

Davina offers relief,

It is not nice to be on the receiving end of bad behavior, especially as a reward for doing our jobs so well. In the immediate aftermath of getting slimed by a client, you may well be furious: Listen to Lola on Anger. If you’re feeling ashamed, deflated, or gross: Listen to the shame exercise.

 

*Helpful extras: Read How to break the shame cycle.

 

 

Leaning on your emotional resources

 

  1. Self-care

Davina’s website offers advice from her book. Many of the important subjects, many chapters are free to read or to listen to. Here is an excerpt from, When a client makes you feel like crap.

First: Take care of your body. When we’re humiliated, that hurt has to move through our bodies somatically. Very few of us learn this as children. Instead, we’re taught to rely on our intellect to process bad emotions. But our minds can’t move what’s stored in our muscles and joints and voice boxes and bones. So, as soon as you can:

  • Get right in the shower.Wash the day away.
  • Eat moderately and mindfully, but only if you’re hungry.Don’t starve yourself as punishment or stuff yourself in an attempt to dull the pain.
  • Unless the gym is your happiest place on earth, don’t force yourself through your regular routine.That’s like piling on extra homework when you’re already failing class. You’ll either spend that time zoning out, or counting the seconds until your workout is over—neither is good. The best self-care is to be fully present, addressing your feelings directly.
  • Scream into a pillow, kick a punching bag, take a long walk or bike ride. Play loud music, dance like you don’t care, sing at the top of your lungs. Move hard and fast and long enough so that you’re breathing hard. Wear yourself out with it.
  • While moving, say what you’re feeling out loud: “Scared, scared, scared, scared.” “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.” “Pissed, pissed, pissed, pissed.” This lets you fully feel your emotions in your body, throat, and mind, allowing that energy to move through you.
  • Call a buddy, if you can—get yourself some sympathy, by all means.  For some perspective, it can help to ask the question: Am I going to still be mad about this a year from now?

 

  1. Compassion

Compassion means feeling concerned for someone’s suffering and wanting to help. The feeling itself creates mood changing brain chemicals.

Extend compassion to Twitter guy. Yep, that guy.

Davina says,

I know—it’s not fair. Why do we have to be the ones to turn the other cheek when we’re depleted and aggravated and insulted? But as the Buddha said, “You will not be punished for your anger, but by your anger.” When we fight fire with fire, the whole world turns to ash. Instead, we fight fire with water.

To extend compassion, Davina suggests,

Maybe they were in the middle of a shit day far worse than anything you can imagine. Maybe they just lost their job or their grandmother or their dog—send them a blast of unconditional love. That handsy fan with no manners? See them for what they are, someone lost in their neediness, stunted by desire for what feels just out of reach.

Muster what compassion you can manage—people with happy lives don’t act like [that]. Picture your tormentor’s face in front of you, and breathe into a simple prayer of forgiveness and acceptance.

Compassion doesn’t mean that you excuse or put up with bad behavior. Take whatever steps you need to protect yourself. Compassion enables you to let go of anger and resentment that so often leads to burn out, so that you can refocus on caring for yourself.

Extend compassion to yourself, even to your inner critics.

Our inner critics are really just bullies inside us. What is most often true about bullies is that they show anger because they are themselves scared. This is true in the outside world, and this is true in our heads.

Extending compassion to our inner critic doesn’t mean agreeing with it or allowing it to govern us. It means that we listen, understand and gently translate its destructive input into something more constructive.

 

*Helpful extra: Read for steps on How to defuse your inner critics.

 

  1. Practice Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance means that we don’t try to change anything, rather we accept ourselves exactly how we are in this moment. Perhaps the hardest part of this exercise is accepting that so much of clients’ behavior is outside of your control. You may not be able to control what is thrown at you but you can influence how you react to it.

Radical Acceptance is Reminding Yourself Every Day, You Are Fabulous. You Are Loved. You Are Doing Your Best.

Acceptance is not a one-time occurrence. We choose acceptance this moment and then we choose acceptance when we start to struggle and then we choose it again. Radical acceptance is often much harder in practice than it sounds, but it is your best bet at stopping the negative spiral and building resilience in the industry.

 

*Helpful extra: Read How to handle cam loneliness

 

  1. Supportive relationships

Tapping into a supportive relationship, even with just a short phone call, triggers the cuddle hormone, oxytocin, in our brains. It can change our mood in minutes.

Hug someone or cuddle a fur-baby. A 20-second full-body hug or cuddling a pet triggers positive feelings. Even cuddling a favorite stuffed animal can create a sense of well-being.

Get a cam buddy. Davina recommends buddying up with a colleague. Agree to call each other for emotional support or distraction when you are having an off day.

One dear friend of mine is the best at this — whenever I’m in crisis, she doesn’t try to be a mind reader. She simply asks, ‘What do you need from me right now?’ A reality check? Reassurance? Advice? A shoulder to cry on? Active, loving listening? The best way to get the help you crave is to tell people what you need. Don’t assume they know, don’t make them guess.

Be someone’s super awesome support. Or reach out whenever you are feeling low. As well as psychotherapy and coaching, Pineapple Support offers emotional support in the form of 24-hour peer-to-peer chat. You can volunteer any hours that are convenient for you and be an awesome support to your peers.

Connect with your peers and tap into that network of super awesome Pineapple Support just for you. Remember, if you feel overwhelmed or just need to connect with someone, Pineapple Support is here for you. Contact us at PineappleSupport.com.

The Benefits of Group Therapy

Have you ever wondered what group therapy is, or what the point of group treatment would be for you? Depending on the issue, joining a group can be a helpful choice for making positive life changes.
Group therapy is a form of therapy where a small, selected group of people meet with a therapist, usually weekly. The purpose of group therapy is to help each person with emotional growth and problem solving. Sometimes a person can do both individual and group therapy, while others may only do a group.
According to Dr. Irvin Yalom in his book The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy identified 11 curative factors that are the “primary agents of change” in group therapy:

1. Installation of Hope: People come to a group to improve their lives. Each person in the group is at a different place in their emotional growth and can offer hope and inspiration to others by showing what they have learned and overcome.

2. Universality: Many who begin group therapy may feel isolated and alone. Being part of a group can help people feel understood and have a sense of belonging. Especially if you are apart of a small niche population such as sex work.

3. Information Giving: A big part of many therapy groups is increasing knowledge of a common problem. This helps members help themselves and others with the same or similar problems.

4. Altruism: The ability to help others in the group is a source of self esteem and increases self worth, especially in those that do not think they have anything to offer others.

5. Corrective recapitulation of the primary family: Some people in group therapy may have stress or conflict in their family. The group can become a form of a family that can offer support and acceptance.

6. Improved Social Skills: Social learning, or the development of social skills, is something that occurs in therapy groups. Members offer feedback to each other about their behavior in ways that can improve relationships both in and outside of group.

7. Imitative Behavior: The therapist models appropriate prosocial behaviors such as active listening, non-judgemental feedback, and support. Over the course of the group the members can pick up on these behaviors and integrate them into their own behaviors. This can lead to improved social skills and self esteem.

8. Interpersonal Learning: Being a group can be an opportunity for members to work on their ability to relate to others and improve relationships.

9. Group cohesiveness: Wanting to belong to a group a main motivation for human behavior. Group therapy can help people feel accepted and valued. This is an important healing factor if members have felt isolated.

10. Catharsis: The release of conscious or unconscious feelings gives members a great sense of relief. Yalom states that it is a type of emotional learning, as opposed to intellectual understanding, that can lead to immediate and long lasting change.

11. Existential Factors: Groups can explore and process issues such as death, isolation, and meaninglessness and help them accept difficult realities.

Joining a group of strangers can seem intimidating at first, however, joining a group can provide benefits that individual therapy alone may not, such as providing a support network. Other group members can help formulate solutions and hold each member accountable for change. Also talking with and listening to others can help put problems in perspective. Others may share similar struggles and give each member the experience that they are not alone. Diverse feedback is another benefit of participating in a group. Each members’ personality and background can help examine problems in different ways. Members can learn many different strategies for tackling issues.

By Nicki Line LMHC, LAPC, CST

The list of Pineapple Support support groups can be found by clicking here

Protect Your Pineapples – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Whatever size fruit you have in your basket – Remember to perform a self-exam once a month.

October is breast cancer awareness month, that doesn’t just mean turning half your wardrobe pink, changing your company logo (oh the irony) and proudly pinning a pink ribbon to every outfit.

Breast cancer awareness is about remembering to give yourself a self-exam once a month, it means supporting women affected by it and it means being grateful for your own health.

Each year 1.4 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer, which includes 1 in every 8 women in the USA. But early detection can make a huge difference to beating breast cancer and we think that’s something worth raising awareness about!

So whether your mammaries are like melons or your chesticles are more like cherries we would like to help you get to know your breasts and detect if there is a possible problem.

To show your support and raise awareness we would like to ask you to join our competition. After your self-exam, take a photograph of yourself , covering your credentials with your choice of fruit and post in on social media. Remembering to tag @PineappleYSW #ProtectYourPineapples and link back to this blog to ensure as many women as possible join us and protect their pineapples.

Breast cancer is not always detectable by a lump or hard mass, sometimes the symptoms are visual.

Some changes in your breasts are perfectly normal, but if you are worried, it is always best to visit your doctor.

What is it that you are feeling for?

When feeling for a lump, check from your armpit, to your collarbone, down to the bottom of your rib cage. A cancerous lump feels different from a normal breast lump, it often feels hard and immovable and can be any shape or size.

Getting to know your breasts is really important and the best time to give yourself a self-exam is just after your period when things are most normal.

Remember, when breast cancer is found early, survival rates are incredibly high.

Be proactive in caring for our health, self-exam once a month, eat well, exercise regularly and help raise awareness #ProtectYourPineapples

Safety First

Unless you are one of the very few people in the adult industry to be known by your real name, ensuring the safety of your identity is a crucial part of your life. Trusting relative strangers can result in horrendous consequences for not just yourself but also your family!

It has been announced recently that ‘Revenge Porn’ has risen considerably during the first part of this year, with the number of cases already higher than the whole of last year. One government funded helpline has seen an increase of more than 22% from last year and a recent report by Refuge has found that 1 in 7 women have received threats that intimate photos will be shared without their consent.

This year, no doubt due to the coronavirus and the consequent lockdowns has also seen a rise in domestic abuse and whilst it is not only women that are suffering, they are in the majority.

So how do you maintain your job in the adult world and ensure you stay safe now and in the future?

Starting off as you mean to go on is an absolutely crucial part of starting out in the adult industry. Always expecting the worst, utilizing every piece of security available and ensuring you always think first is the best advice you can receive and utilize.

For some though, it’s too late to act as the division between your public and private life has already become compromised. For those people, it seems that their whole world has crashed around them. This is especially pertinent for those working in the adult industry as it still causes upset to family and friends and the level of contempt is disturbingly high.

This can produce an enormous amount of distress to the person concerned and being ostracised for simply earning a living in the adult industry, can be the trigger for depression, melancholy and for some, alarmingly, suicidal thoughts ensue.

Not having any confidential routes to relay and discuss your concerns has been a huge issue for all adult workers, whether or not they work in sex or glamour. This is one of the main reasons that Leya Tanit set up Pineapple Support. Anyone in the adult industry can access their services for support, advice and counselling if required.

They have already provided help and support to lots of people and rely on donations to carry out this amazing work. If you have any interest in helping Pineapple Support, whether it’s with a much needed donation or if you are able to provide time, support or any kind of help, however small, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

https://pineapplesupport.org/

Carla Sez will back soon with more guidance on how to keep your work life safe and your private life secure and protected.

For now, think before you post!

Love All

Carla Sez x

Should you share your Life on Social Media?

Reaching out and providing support at anytime is important but even more so now.

Working from home has never felt so isolating and for most of us, admitting we are lonely and perhaps need help is one of the last things on our mind. For some unknown reason, that feeling of self-worth gets all screwed up in our head and finds its way out somewhat bitter and twisted. Sometimes we believe that everyone else should know how we are feeling, even though they don’t actually live inside our head!

Social media has a big part to play in todays world as we assume that once we have pressed ‘Enter’, all of our friends and all of the friends of those friends will see our post and come rushing to the rescue. The truth is that very few people actually see your latest ‘out-pouring’, and those that do find it hard to accept and respond to such an open form of counselling.

It is also increasingly difficult as you get older to accept help, we seem to revert back to those teenage years where we believed that nobody understood us and everyone was in fact out to make our lives difficult. Being independent is fine (up to a point) but at some time in our lives we all need a little bit of help, or a shoulder to cry on.

Knowing who you can trust and speak to about such personal matters is the first key to being able to cope with any kind of pressure. You shouldn’t wait until you need the help either. Find out who your real friends are by really thinking about your relationship with them.

You may share all the positive things in your life with a group of people or one person in particular and all the negative issues with another. You may even be the type of person who doesn’t ever share anything about their private life with friends ever.

Whichever group you belong to and especially if you are on your own, you do need support from time to time.

Pineapple Support have made it their mission to provide free support and therapy for all persons working in the online adult industry. It doesn’t matter about your gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, social status or age. They provide support 24/7 and their team of sex-worker friendly therapists offer face to face, or online therapy to anyone who needs it.

Their ever-growing team are always looking for ways to raise extra funds so that they can provide even more help for professional coaching, therapy and counselling for those who require help and support.

Do what you can to help this amazing cause.

Love to you ALL

Carla Sez x

Addiction & Recovery – Family

Tips and coping strategies from week 5 of the Addiction Recovery workshop with therapist Nicki Line.

Family

Here are a few concepts that may be relevant to some of your experiences.

 

Differentiation of Self v Fusion

Differentiation of self– The ability to be in emotional contact with others yet still remain independent in your thoughts, feelings, and emotional functioning. People who are well differentiated from others are able to face difficult, emotionally charged problems, and not feel compelled to preach about what others should think, feel, not rush in to smooth the problem over immediately, and not pretend to be attached emotionally.

Fusion– This is essentially the opposite of a well differentiated self.  People who lack differentiation typically set aside individual choices, thoughts and feelings in order to achieve or maintain harmony in the relationship system (this can be a family system, friend system, etc). Fusion occurs when people form intense relationships with others, and their actions depend largely on the condition of this relationship at any given time. When experiencing fusion, an individual’s decisions largely depend on what others will think and how others will react, and if the decision will upset the intense bond of the relationship. People who are not well differentiated may feel that everyone in a relationship system needs to think and feel the same way or else the bonds will be broken. So either they must mold themselves to fit others, or pressure others to think feel and act the same way they do.

 

Transgenerational Trauma

We briefly discussed how trauma can be passed down through our families. Here is a brief overview of transgenerational trauma in families if this feels relevant to you, or you’d like to look more into it.

Transgenerational trauma refers to trauma that passes through generations. The idea is that not only can someone experience trauma, they can then pass the symptoms and behaviors of trauma survival to the next generation, who then might further pass these along the family line.

Transgenerational trauma can negatively impact families as a result of:

  1. Unresolved emotions and thoughts about a traumatic event
  2. Negative repeated patterns of behavior including beliefs about parenting
  3. Untreated or poorly treated substance abuse or severe mental illness
  4. Poor parent-child relationships and emotional attachment
  5. Complicated personality traits or personality disorders
  6. Content attitude with the ways things are within the family

 

Family Genograms

We discussed that not only trauma, but certain patterns of behavior and interaction can pass through families and influence families. One way to take a closer look at patterns in your own family is to construct a family genogram.  A family genogram is structurally similar to a family tree, but it includes information about relationships, interactions between family members, mental illness, substance usage, and more information.  We typically take a look at three generations using a genogram.

 

Here is a guide on family genograms:

https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-guide/genograms

Addiction & Recovery – Daily Gratitude & Positivity

Tips and coping strategies from week 4 of the Addiction Recovery workshop with therapist Nicki Line.

Our brains are hardwired to find the negative in our lives. It is a survival mechanism to find the threats. But we can do a few small things daily to help rewire the brain to find more balance.  We can do this by taking note of some positive things in our daily lives and practicing gratitude daily.

Here are some prompt ideas for positivity and gratitude. We can practice by daily journaling, acknowledging these things with another person, or simply answering these prompts to ourselves!

What made you smile today?

What went well for you today?

What made you laugh today?

Did you accomplish something today?

Did something go better today than it did yesterday?

What are things you are grateful for?

Did you see someone else do something good for someone today?

What gave you hope today?

Did you have a moment of peace today?

What made you feel good about yourself?

Who is someone you are happy to have in your life?

What do you enjoy about your work?

What is something that makes your life easier?

What is a part of your daily routine that you enjoy?

 

Here’s a bit of information on the benefits of gratitude incase you’re interested:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#30cf8fb7183c

https://time.com/5026174/health-benefits-of-gratitude/

If you are interested in a daily guided journal for gratitude here are some options from amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Gratitude-Journal-gratitude-mindfulness-productivity/dp/108063133X/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=daily+gratitude+journal&qid=1586183145&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzSzIxU0xQNkhCWFlJJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTQ2MDEwMzdNQ0YyVURZS05YTyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwOTE0MzgwMUtQT0s0TU5aOFkyQiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Days-Start-Gratitude-Cultivate/dp/1976436184/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=daily+gratitude+journal&qid=1586183159&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE3TFZWWVFQMTE3OFgmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MDg5MjgyRzRSVzhMMFNXWldaJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAzOTM1NzUyMUk5QlpFVlM1VklIJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

 

ROLES IN THE ADDICT FAMILY

The addict

The Enabler- The enabler is the family member who steps in and protects the addict from the consequences of their behavior. The motivation for this may be to protect the addict, or to reduce anxiety, or avoid conflict within the family system.

The Hero- The hero is the family member who attempts to draw attention away from the addict by excelling and being exceptionally “good”. Through their own achievements, the hero tries to bring the family together and create a sense of normalcy. This role is usually taken on by the eldest child, as they seek to give hope to the rest of the family. Unfortunately, a driving need to “do everything right” tends to put an extreme amount of pressure on the hero, leaving them highly anxious and susceptible to stress-related illnesses later in life.

The Scapegoat- The scapegoat is just what you would expect: the one person who gets blamed for the whole family’s problems. This role tends to be taken on by the second oldest child; they offer the family a sense of purpose by providing someone else to blame. They voice the family’s collective anger, while shielding the addicted parent from a lot of blame and resentment.

The Mascot- The mascot tries to deflect the stress of the situation by supplying humor. This role is usually taken on by the youngest child. Providing comic relief is also the mascot’s defense against feeling pain and fear himself.

The lost child- The lost child role is usually taken on by the middle or youngest child. They’re shy, withdrawn, and sometimes thought of as “invisible” to the rest of the family. They don’t seek (or get) a lot of attention from other family member. Lost children generally may put off making decisions, have trouble with forming intimate relationships, and choose to spend time on solitary activities as a way to cope.

 

GROUNDING TECHNIQUES

Here are some ideas for grounding techniques:

  • Hold a piece of ice and focus on the sensations
  • Put a handful of salt in your mouth
  • Sour candy such as war heads, sour patch kids, etc.
  • Place your head in a bowl of cold water.
  • Rub some scented lotion on your hands, focusing on the way it feels and smells as you work it into your skin.
  • Use a water mister to spray your face and/or chest.
  • Pick a hand and tap each finger with your thumb, starting with your index finger and continuing down. Go back and forth until you feel grounded.
  • Keep a bead, pebble, stress ball, a small piece of cloth, or another object of your choice in your pocket and roll it around in your hand(s) when you need to get grounded. You can also use a bracelet or necklace.
  • Run your hand slowly and gently over the carpet or the fabric of a piece of furniture or clothing and notice how it feels when you rub it in one direction versus the other.
  • Put a piece of chocolate in your mouth. Experience the texture, flavor, and feel as it slowly melts.
  • Stretch your arms up over your head as high as you can, then out to your sides, finally pulling your elbows back as far as you can behind your back. Repeat. Think about your muscles flexing and feel their strength.
  • Hug your favorite stuffed animal, a comfy blanket, or a pillow.
  • Take off your shoes and push your toes into the floor or ground.
  • Bite into a lemon or take a sip of lemon juice.
  • Find something in the room that starts with A, then B, then C, and so on.
  • Count backward from 100.
  • Put on your favorite song and really concentrate on the words, the music, and the way it all makes you feel.
  • Write how you’re feeling in a journal that’s designated for grounding and use your favorite pen. Notice how the pen feels in your hand and the smoothness of how it writes on the paper.
  • Play a game on your phone or computer.
  • Breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply until your lungs are full. Slowly exhale through your mouth until your lungs are empty. Repeat, concentrating on the feeling of your lungs expanding and contracting.
  • Pull a mental picture into your mind of your favorite place and imagine you’re there. Think about what you’d be doing if you were really there.
  • Go outside and smell the air or the flowers, trees, or leaves.
  • Jump up and down.