Redeemer Counseling Newsletter

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Managing Ongoing Overwhelm and Exhaustion: 

Connect with Your Autonomic Nervous System

As a planet, we have collectively experienced a wide and dramatic scope of trauma over the past 22 months that includes the loss of millions of lives, drastic changes to everyday life, ongoing uncertainty about the future and loss of physical connection with one another. With this latest wave of the pandemic, many are back in survival mode–feeling emotionally and physically exhausted.

At Redeemer Counseling Services, we hold a holistic view of caregiving that values human beings as embodied souls. Our bodies hold onto unprocessed trauma experiences long after the events have passed through what is called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS can get stuck in perceived threat responses that impact all aspects of our well-being. When we can help clients understand more about their reactions, and their body's learned involuntary patterns, it can reduce the shame and judgment that often accompanies the reactions, and offer helpful steps forward. The goal of this month's tool is to help ourselves and our clients to better understand and regulate these nervous system responses in order to move from a state of fear and overwhelm to a state of safety and connection.

The story of how God takes care of Elijah as he recovers in 2 Kings 18-19 is just one example that highlights how intertwined the care of body and soul is. Through his Incarnation, Jesus himself also so beautifully affirmed our embodied design by choosing to take on a human body to fully identify with us as he stepped into our collective trauma and brokenness. How great is God's compassion for us! This affirms our belief that compassionate and wise care will include our bodies in the process of healing and restoration.

This tool contains a map, as well as a video introduction on how to help your clients using it.

Natasha Steenkamp, LMHC and Clinical Supervisor

Natasha Steenkamp graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary. She works with individual clients on a broad range of issues including depression, anxiety, shame, interpersonal struggles, sexual abuse and trauma.

Toolkit PDF

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