Shocks are exceptional high impact events that can disturb and disorient a person for life. Ten examples of shock events, the impact of which can persist for years, are:-

  • difficulties at birth
  • serious accidents
  • life threatening illness
  • traumatic divorce
  • imprisonment
  • physical or sexual abuse
  • sudden job loss
  • involvement in war
  • the unexpected death of a loved one
  • even winning the lottery.

The impact produces both physical and psychological defences that assist survival but reduce capacity to feel and relate. Often the conditions necessary to allow a process of recovery are missing. Recovery stops some way short of completion or sometimes hardly begins at all.

Unresolved shock needs the continuing support and safety of a specialised helping relationship. The workshop will help you assess how necessary that might be for yourself.

Shock produces a degree of stress but ordinary stress management is insufficient for the more traumatic events that result in continuing states of shock. And dealing with the more inevitable and commonplace stressors is much more difficult where unresolved shock is already present.


Stress was defined by the originator of the concept, Hans Selye, as the rate of wear and tear caused by life. Stress accumulates through normal constraining and compelling forces and is associated with the pressure of too many (or sometimes too few) demands. Ten examples of stressors are:

  • a family argument
  • being late for work
  • sleep interrupted by a neighbour's all-night parties
  • the car breaks down in heavy traffic
  • Christmas
  • an accumulation of unanswered correspondence
  • disagreeably extreme weather
  • period pains
  • a bounced cheque
  • self-critical thoughts

Like the more traumatic shock events such more banal occurrences also have physiological effects but the difference is these usually clear by themselves or else self help methods are adequate. Thus as a rule stress can be dealt with on your own by making changes or taking avoiding action.

This Workshop

This workshop will be about establishing safety, developing body awareness and practising boundary setting. It will provide some DIY tools with which to begin stress management. A method of non-verbal life review will help with discerning pattern and meaning in what otherwise may continue to be felt and lived as a chaos of shocks and stresses. The workshop is designed as a shallow end experience to better prepare you to swim with deep end experience. By the close of the day the difference between the effects of chronic shock and the temporary stressors in your life will be clearer and this will assist you in regaining control.

Note: A requirement for attending this workshop is that you are in ongoing personal therapy at the time.