Narrative Therapy & Acupunture With Ben
Our session began with us sitting opposite of each other and him asking what my main concern at this moment, short answer: insomnia. I’ve been dealing with sleep issues for many years and have been in the constant search of how to be able to lie in bed, shut my eyes and just sleep. As I started talking, Ben was asking questions about my body, when and how much I eat, if I get stressed easily, and what I think it is that leads me to have sleep issues. I found that with each question asked, I was answering far more than I normally would and really going deep into my answers.
One thing that occurred to me during the session was how easy it was to open up. Now, if you know me, then you do know that I’m a pretty outgoing girl and I do love to talk, share stories and engage with others. However, when speaking about very personal issues you have, it’s easy to shut off and try to minimize what you say because you don’t really want to admit to others that you struggle and are not a “perfect” human being. Don’t worry though, we are ALL the same, we all deal with issues and at the end of the day the more you can open up, the more healing you will encounter. I found that Ben had a very calming nature to him, which really allowed me to share things about myself without thinking about it. Anyways, I digress.
Ben explained that the first 30-40 minutes of the session would be focused on the Narrative Therapy. Narrative Therapy is an approach of understanding the story of our life, and how our story is affected by telling it over and over, or the history of what we share. The therapist helps to identify the problem then encourages the person to work from within themselves to minimize this problem and view it differently, causing it to no longer be a problem. Seems simple enough, right? I know, it’s a little bit confusing but it actually is more understandable than you think.
I was able to not only answer all of his questions, but within my answers, realize that things that I had always thought were problems, were actually not really problems at all. It was all in the story that I had been sharing with others and myself for many years. I’ll go a bit deeper and give you and inside view into our session: I have had sleeping issues for many years. Therefore I have equated nighttime with a bad experience and I end up getting slightly scared of night because this is when I cannot sleep. It’s when I feel lonely, end up overeating for comfort, and it’s when my mind goes haywire thinking about everything to the moon and back. I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, but only when night comes and I’m trying to sleep. With the Narrative Therapy, it was the first time I had voiced a lot of things out loud in such detail and it was really interesting and quite beautiful to be able to learn so many new things about myself. I was able to finally understand how a certain event caused the insomnia, why it affected me more than I originally thought, and that night meant something totally different than I had originally thought. I had convinced myself of a certain story that was not actually the true story of myself. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the session.
We then moved on to the acupuncture part, where Ben said his ethos is quantity versus quality, meaning to really pinpoint where the needles needed to be, rather than having lots of them here and there. I’ve done acupuncture before so luckily this wasn’t a new sensation of getting pricked, but for those of you who have not done it, it’s really not bad and this is coming from a girl who is scared sh*tless of needles. We started by Ben feeling my pulse on both sides for 5 minutes in order to see what was imbalanced in my body, which he said was metal. This comes from the Taoist Chinese Medicine, which Ben had studied and shared much of his knowledge with me. He pricked me with six needles to help with my insomnia, fixing the metal imbalance in my body (there are 5 earth elements for those interested), and to help with my weak digestive system. Periodically he would measure my pulse for another few minutes to see if the needles were doing their magic. (They were.)
After 20 or so minutes he took the needles out, we talked and he told me that most results start to happen anywhere from immediately to a few days later. Like most treatments, one is good but it’s more like a taster. To really get the benefits you must do a few sessions, the number depending on how severe things are with you.
I left the session feeling very refreshed, calm, happy and having a new found appreciation for nighttime, something that I didn’t think possible. I’ve been able to almost re-write this story of what I thought to be true and begin to understand where some of the sleep issues have come from. Rather than feeling bad for myself and stating that ‘I have insomnia,’ I now feel less stressed about trying to go to sleep. I totally realize that one session will not ‘cure’ this insomnia, but overall I think the Narrative Therapy was incredibly useful, especially paired with the acupuncture.
When you make it out to Ubud, find your way out to Alchemy to sit in the treatment room with Ben. I promise you will not regret it!
Some Q & A’s with Ben:
1. If you could give advice to your 20 year old self, what would it be?
Do less meditation and more drinking. There’s plenty of time for meditation later.
2. When someone is really struggling with a problem/issue in their life, what would be the first thing you believe they should do or focus on?
To look around and see who will stand with them and support them in their struggle. Maybe there are others who are struggling with the same problem and want to unite.
3. What is something you are proud of in your life?
My creativity and my flexibility.
With Love, Nikki