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He's, why Dr Samuels, is the opposite. Be as specific as possible and remember to name the behavior, list some self-soothing activities, and list people you can call if needed. If you have worked on a safety plan on your own, share it with your therapist and key support people. The more these issues are discussed, the safer you will feel. Sandra Hocking gives an example of a detailed contract for survival, reproduced in Figure 9. Self-Care Cards The safety plan should be carried at all times. A small spiral article of note cards that can be easily slipped into a purse or backpack can be the beginning of your self-care kit. On the first cards, write down the basic safety plan modeled after Figure 9. Also include a card that can serve as a reminder of your current age and the current year, such as the one illustrated in Figure 9. Some other ideas for things to include on self-care cards are listed in Figure 9. If you don't know where you are or specifically how you're doing with the habits you're trying to create, any expectation on your part that they'll develop by chance is unrealistic, as that's unlikely. This applies to business, where you have to track everything, growth, costs and so forth. It applies to your workouts, where you need to track your progress, how much weight you're lifting and for how many reps so you can see your improvement. Why would you not track progress in life, in who you are day in and day out? Whatever you or I want in this life is dependent on us, thus, our improvement should be taken pretty damn seriously. You are your habits. Whether you're successful or not is essentially a matter of being efficient or inefficient. Track your efficiency. There are a myriad of ways to do it, but until focus becomes your way of living, documenting your behavior is incredibly powerful.

When I began to track what I was doing it was like a slap in the face. I mean, he's got a hell of a lot of patients, real busy. There ain't so much time. But I guess what he do during the time he's with ya is what counts, what is most special about him. Dr Samuels cares what is happening to ya. He remembers what ya been through. Ya feel good just bein' with him. Hell, sometimes I can feel better just talking to him on the telephone. The symptoms, the pain it gets less listenin' and tellin' him. A tall, angular, balding man with a close-clipped salt-and-pepper beard, Paul Samuels is a family man with few interests beyond his family--his wife, four adolescent children, aging parents, and three brothers and their families--and his patients. Medicine doesn't interest me nearly as much as people. Use these techniques when you begin dissociating. The goal is to begin using them sooner and sooner so that you can eventually make use of them at the first hint of an emotion that might be difficult for you, such as anxiety. Be sure to add your own ideas to the list. It takes more concentration to be specific. The serenity prayer can be helpful too. It is good to have calendars and pictures of yourself as an adult throughout the house. Breathe with your eyes open. Read to them or play a cassette of lullabies or a story read by your therapist. Snuggle up in bed and hold a stuffed animal and watch cartoons.

You deserve kindness! I was not acting like I knew I could act. I was underperforming by a large margin, and seeing it woke me up to that reality. If we don't see it in an app or on paper, we usually go about our day as we usually would, inefficiently. Measuring habits, of course, calls for tracking systems different than for other things. For tracking habits, I've found the Way of Life app to be of value. It's in the iTunes app store. I'm sure it's available for other phones as well as the iPhone. It's a tracking system that reminds you when a habit should occur and that asks you if you've done it or not. This is good accountability. You can measure your progress and see if you're forging the discipline and creating a habit. In fact, I almost dropped out of med school because I found all the science dull and irrelevant. I wanted to take care of real people, not occupy my time with chemical equations and microscope slides. I work hard at keeping up with the latest developments. I want to be technically first rate. After all, that's what patients need. But that is only the mechanical aspect of care. I feel what really counts is the human aspect. That is both a lot tougher and a lot more rewarding. It is a great privilege being a healer.

Entering patients' life worlds and listening to their pain, helping them make sense of their suffering, helping them to cope with the burden of disease--all that is what makes my work rewarding. As therapy progresses, you will become more aware of how your own internal systems operate. This point is the time for making cards that address how to deal with specific issues, such as managing flashbacks. These cards will go a step beyond the basic safety plan and will be tailored to each person's individual needs and the way her specific system operates. An example of a self-care card for managing flashbacks is shown in Figure 9. Ask other parts inside for help. Breathe deeply. Refer to card on staying grounded in the present. Create safety inside for younger parts by Of course, even the best-laid plans will fail at times, especially in the early stages of therapy. In the beginning stage of therapy, dissociation can often happen before you even realize it, flashbacks occur, and sometimes it is hard to even remember you have cards to look at, but do not despair! But an better system for tracking habit development is that of Ben Franklin. You list the virtues, or habits, that you want to live by, and you check off any you've adhered to at every day's end. Throughout the article I've mentioned that the most important form of discipline is self-discipline, as it's the only form that benefits you and I, the individual trying to become better. You are the man looking over your shoulder. You don't lie to yourself if you have any ounce of ambition and self-respect or honesty. If you can hold yourself accountable, there's no need for coaches or mentors or bosses or managers in your life. That's how it should be, too. Which is why having a tracking system for your habits is important. You form a true relationship with yourself.

You're honest with yourself, where you're at and what you have to do to get to where you want to be. Frankly, I can't think of not doing it. In some way, I need to be a healer, I need to be of use to others. That's my self-image. I guess you would say that is my identity. Doubtless it has something to do deep down with the guilt I felt in not being able to help Dad. Maybe it also has to do with my sense of self-worth: in adolescence I was pretty uncomfortable, uncertain rather. I felt kind of lost. I think becoming a caregiver changed all that. It is what is most meaningful in my life. I don't mean to sound romantic or nostalgic, but this is not simply a job. Therapy is a learning process. You will be able to learn something about yourself even when your self-care plan gets tossed aside. Dissociation has been a lifesaving defense. The goal is to learn to understand how it works in your life so that you can make conscious choices about how you want to respond to present triggers. In the future, with practice, you will begin to recognize the signs of dissociation and will be able to slow yourself down early enough to implement some of the suggestions on your cards. Make the cards inviting so that you will want to use them and so that they will appeal to younger parts as well. Individual parts might even want to make cards of their own. Use bright colors. Be artistic.