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Maybe you’re suffering from unresolved trauma too (part 2)

What we’ve experienced when we were younger, doesn’t just disappear in a lot of cases. Even when you think you’ve moved past it and it doesn’t bother you anymore, it might still be affecting you below the surface. A lot of the time we realize that the way we grew up wasn’t exactly normal. Or we know that something happened that wasn’t okay. At the same time we compare what we’ve been through with others and we downplay our own experience. “Look at what that person survived! I shouldn’t complain.”

When we’re all grown up, we struggle with everyday stuff that goes so easily for everyone around us (or so it seems). Somehow we don’t manage to put two and two together. We don’t see the link between our childhood and the difficulties we have in later life.

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Maybe you’re suffering from unresolved trauma too (part 1)

There are a lot of misconceptions about trauma. People think of it as a single, isolated event. People think trauma is always obvious and only happens in the case of a life-threatening situation. People believe we can control our body and how it reacts when faced with a possible traumatic event. People don’t realize trauma is more disruptive the younger it’s encountered. In my last blogpost I tried to give you some insights into what trauma is, how it works…

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How our body is as important as our mind when talking about trauma

For tens of years, psychologists have solely focussed on the mind when addressing issues related to (childhood) trauma. Therapies are centred around our thought patterns, cognitive distortions, dysfunctional behaviours and emotions that are dysregulating. Cognitive behavioural therapy has the aim to identify and change patterns of thinking or behaviour that aren’t helpful to the individual. By changing these thought processes, it is assumed that the related feelings will go away. While this type of therapy has been proven to be…

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How my childhood traumas still affect my day to day life

I don’t have a lot of memories of when I was younger. When I hear friends reminisce about birthday parties, family gatherings, favorite teachers and fun traditions, I turn quiet. I don’t have a lot to add to the conversation. Having little memories is a common symptom of a traumatic history or event, especially situated in early childhood. As a small kid, we’re subject to our parents or other caregivers. For years we are solely dependent on them and how…

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My journey in the UK – how I turned this year around

It’s been almost 14 months since I left my safe haven in Belgium and moved all across the world (well yeah, I had to cross some water…) to volunteer with the British Red Cross for a year. A full 12 months. That’s a long time. Or so it seemed. And felt at some points too to be honest. As a newly graduated psychologist I was struggling the find a job I loved and was sufficient to sustain myself. In the…

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“Tutti Fratelli” – how I found a community

Time flies, it really does. Last night I said goodbye to the country that’s been my home for the last year (the UK, that is – you should know by now) and moved the last of my stuff back to Belgium. It’s hard to believe that only two months ago I was in the midst of the Red Cross Red Crescent spirit, celebrating a 100 years of humanitarian action and remembering the battle of Solferino in Italy. I was fully…

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HOW STUDYING ABROAD MAY CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY

As some of you may already know, I studied abroad for a semester during the first year of my Master’s studies. While I’ve been back in Belgium for over two years now, I believe my Erasmus experience still has an impact on me and is never far away. By moving 200 kilometers to the North I opened up a whole new world. A world I definitely want to discover. While the experience was nerve wrecking at times and caused a lot of insecurities, it also made me more aware of different cultures. It sparked an interest to learn about the immense diversity and to expand my vision of the world. When I started courses back in Gent, people told me I seemed more open and not as mysterious as before. Not sure if it was meant as a compliment but it sure indicated I had changed. Of course my personal journey of change isn’t enough to conclude on the impact of studying abroad. Luckily some (but not nearly enough) investigation has been done on the subject and I will go through the findings with you now!

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How to grow your resilience while travelling

Everybody has a history, good and bad experiences, a certain way of seeing the world and interacting with it. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing. We get wiser the more aspects of life we discover and phases we go through. Most experiences make us stronger. Not all of them though. Some life events just leave us devastated and not everybody can overcome the trauma it has caused. This doesn’t mean you’re weak. It just means you didn’t get the needed support in your early life to learn how to deal with these events later on. We don’t choose how resilient we are right now but this doesn’t mean it’s not open to change. While travelling many occasions arise that give us the change to build and grow our resilience. Concepts like thinking patterns, self-esteem and social support are tied together with how well we can handle difficult situations and are the ones I’ll highlight in this blogpost. Click the button to dive in!

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The personal baggage we should leave at home

It’s very easy to think about our literal luggage and how optimizing this baggage can have a freeing effect on our travels. But what about our emotional carry-on we never seem to shake off? With the years passing by, our emotional baggage only seems to add up. We all have specific patterns of communicating with others, forming relationships, (not) expressing feelings and deciding what’s right or wrong that are the result of our upbringing. Whether we want it to or not, these patterns accompany us on our trips abroad. Read more to learn all about your baggage and how to become more aware of it’s influence.

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My ten countries of 2017 (part 2)

Last week I took you on a trip through the first five countries I traveled to in 2017. Now it’s time for another five (+) countries who absolutely stole my heart. On the menu? Switzerland, Italy, France (already included in the last post but also an important part of our summer roadtrip), Spain, Hungary and The Netherlands. We also had short pit-stops in Luxembourg and Andorra but those were almost purely for cheap booze and gasoline. Still worth the mentioning right? Let’s see what I did this summer and the second half of 2017!

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