For most of us, 2021 has not been off to a kind and gentle start. We are still experiencing and dealing with multiple losses and trauma since the advent of the pandemic. Loss, grief, hopelessness—and dare we say it—a downright diabolic vibration, are the order of the day. And yes, for some, prayer, gratitude, affirmations, exercise, (and whatever lifts your vibration) has been the anchor, helping keep hope alive.
However, one thing that is shaking-off layers of stigmatised beliefs is going for counselling and therapy. It has and continues to be a lifeline for many. People are seeing the necessity to normalise going for counselling. Making a conscious effort to seek help, get tools, do the required work and be consistent in seeing it through—is the highest form of self-care. Counselling is a tool that not only helps you cope, deal and ultimately heal—it can improve your mental and overall health, help you achieve your goals and lead to improvement or create success in all areas of your life. We should all try it. Psychotherapists and counsellors work from a variety of approaches, styles, models and specialities. But have your tried or even heard of inner-healing counselling?
Tanya Jeniker is a qualified Christian Counsellor, currently doing her Masters degree in Christian Counselling through Team Impact University, USA. She is registered with the Council of Counsellors of South Africa (CCSA) and has 14 years of active counselling experience.
As a young Muslim girl, little Tanya witnessed her father emotionally, verbally, and physically abuse her mother, and went through the same ordeal as well. She went through primary school as a top student, while suffering in silence about what was going on at home. While in high school at age 15, she had a full-on stroke that temporarily distorted her face. This led to seven months in therapy and group counselling, where she had to finally speak out.
Broken, bruised, rejected, and abused, she dropped out of school. Several years later she converted to Christianity and went for inner-healing counselling, that completely changed the trajectory of her life.
Her estranged relationship with her father was restored, before he sadly passed on. Jeniker went back to school, completed her Matric, and enrolled at university for her first degree at the age of 40. She graduated with Honours, at the age of 44. A true overcomer and achiever.
Deep Healing Counselling was launched in 2020 and is based in Cape Town but also available online. “I believe counselling is my calling. I have deep compassion for broken and hurt people. I was also a broken and hurt individual at a time, and I wanted to give back what I received through counselling. I am passionate about getting people healed, whole, and delivered,’’ she says.
Jeniker specializes in Adult Counselling, Children and Youth Counselling – (from 4 years and older via Play Therapy), Marriage Counselling, Grief Counselling, and Anxiety, Depression and Trauma Counselling. She is also a mentor, coach (who trains people to become counsellors) and a motivational speaker.
We chat more about her work, dealing with doubting and questioning God, and coping with loss and grief below:
What does inner healing counselling entail?
Inner healing counselling is where we deal with the actual emotions of the person. The aim is to get to the root of the issue. Most people that come for inner-healing counselling have never dealt with the rejection and/ their broken childhood issues. We deal with the inner child of the person's wounds and pain, looking at every stage of the person's life to help them get total healing.
What are the greatest challenges of doing this kind of work and what keeps you going—who ‘heals’ the ‘healer’?
My greatest challenge in inner healing counselling is to not let it affect me emotionally. In my 14 years of experience, I have managed to gain some tools and methods in this area. After every session, I make time whereby I detach myself emotionally through prayer and committing those emotions and situations to God.
I have also had a mentor that guides me and where I go to release my inner thoughts and emotions since I’ve started doing this work.
How do you help or give hope to someone that is very angry and questions the very existence of God especially during these times we are in right now?
In counselling we have methods that deal with this specific issue. Through life’s disappointments, pain, and hurt we get very despondent at times and do find ourselves angry and disappointed with God. I believe God understands when we are angry and disappointed. He created us with emotions and knows us better than we know ourselves. We have the right to feel these emotions, but it’s very important not to stay in it. We need to face and deal with those emotions for us to move forward and into our healing. One of the methods that we use is getting the counselee to write an honest letter to God. Through this method, the person expresses and releases those emotions and thoughts from pen to paper.
What are the common and not-so-common stages of grief?
This is important to know as it makes it easier to support someone who is grieving. Grief is different for every person. Not everyone will experience all stages and may not go through them in this order.
Shock and denial:
Grief is an overwhelming emotion. Denying it gives you time to absorb the news and begin to process it more gradually. This is a common defense mechanism. Shock allows us time to absorb what happened and to begin to adjust. As the numbness wears off and acceptance grows, we regain control of the direction of our lives.
People in grieving naturally ask’ Why? Why him? Why now? Most of these questions have no answers. Frustration then causes us to feel resentment and anger. We then shift the blame towards anyone involved e.g., God, doctors, ourselves even sometimes the person that died. If we can accept the lack of answers to why ‘Why?’ we might begin to ask instead, what can we do now to grow through what has happened. Then we starting to move beyond anger and towards hope.
Bargaining is a way to hold on in a situation of intense pain. The person might think to themselves that they willing to do anything if their life is restored to how it was before the loss.
People that grieve typically, but in varying degrees, experience depression and loneliness. This pain too will pass. Reaching out to others is a key to minimize loneliness and overcome depression.
Acceptance and Hope:
This is a very gradual acceptance of the new way of life and a feeling of possibility in the future. At this stage, your emotions may begin to stabilize. You re-enter reality. You come to terms with the new reality that your loved one is not coming back, and you make peace with that. You start to understand your loved one can never be replaced, but you move, grow, and find hope.
How can we support a friend or loved one that is currently mourning the loss of a child, parent, partner, friend, or family member?
The most important thing is to be there for the person but also to give the person their mourning and grieving time and space. Even in counselling we do not do grieve counselling immediately. We give the person about a month to first grieve on their own. We do however see people immediately when there are depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s very important to check for these signs as it is very common after losing a loved one suddenly, it’s a very traumatic experience.
Especially in the times where we are finding ourselves with the pandemic. People get admitted to hospital and families cannot visit and many times do not get to say goodbye. This is very difficult and causes a lot of negative emotions.
Many people struggle to grief and to release the deceased or were not able to attend their funeral. That is why it’s important to get the person to release their loved one to God. Grieve counselling plays a vital role in this process.
Visit www.deephealing.co.za or contact [email protected] / 061 410 0669 for more information.