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Introducing the Recovery Workbook for Ex Jehovah's Witnesses

Leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses, either through choice or by being forced out through disfellowshipping, is going to leave you with so much to deal with both practically and mentally.

Counselling is hugely important for many people as they try to come to terms with life outside of the JW's. A lot of former Jehovah's Witnesses speak of a difficulty understanding things about life that other people take for granted. Many of the life skills that help us navigate everyday challenges have either been denied or misrepresented as a result of being raised as a Jehovah's Witness.

The opportunity to be able to discuss these problems and try to find a way to move forward is vital for a lot of former members, and it is why there is such a great demand for counselling for ex Jehovah's Witnesses.

However, after working with many ex JW's, It has become apparent that there can sometimes be a block to a person's recovery. The presenting issues are relatively common and similar to many counselling clients in general. Stress, anxiety, depression, loss, guilt, shame and matters relating to identity. But when a person has been raised as a Jehovah's Witness, their beliefs and understandings are not the same as other counselling clients.

This is where the Recovery Workbook can transform a person's outlook.

Imagine if any time you want to think about who you are or how you are perceived by others, you always view yourself in the same mirror. The decisions you make about yourself and how you appear will always be based on the reflection from that same source.

But the mirror you have is one of those you may have seen at the fairground. Your image is distorted and really isn't a true representation of who you actually are. However, nobody tells you that the image is inaccurate. In fact, quite the opposite. You are told that how you are seeing yourself is correct and, crucially, you have no access to any other mirrors to confirm that what you are seeing is for real. As time goes by, that consistent reflection, combined with the confirmation of those around you that your mirror can be trusted, will inevitably mean that you believe it completely. You even believe that looking that way is the key to happiness, because that is the message you have always been given by people you trust.

But then maybe some doubts start to appear. Perhaps you have reason to question whether how you feel is actually correct. In fact you may notice that living your life, believing you look that way, is not making you feel happy. This can be when many people visit a counsellor.

You could work on your self esteem. You could work on your confidence. You could try to improve that sense that how you view yourself should not be based on what others say but on how you feel. This is all great and counselling is very good for this. But in the context of the person we are speaking about, this work is not going to have much effect if they continue to go home every day and look in that same distorted mirror. No matter what other people say to convince you other wise, if you keep seeing yourself in that reflection you are going to find it harder to think differently about yourself.

This is where the Recovery Workbook comes in.

It can explain how you came to own that mirror and why you only choose to look in that particular one. It can help you realise the psychological processes you were subjected to that made you believe you should only ever look in that mirror and everything that people tell you about yourself is true, without questioning it. As you progress through the Workbook you realise that you do not need to confine yourself and your beliefs to that single mirror, but there are others you can have access to.

With this new level of understanding, many people will find that the more traditional 'counselling' can have greater benefits. This structured recovery programme of Workbook and counselling is like replacing your old mirror with a standard version. Now when you take a look at yourself you see a true reflection. You finally see your authentic self. When you have an idea about who your authentic self is, you are more likely to take steps that are right for you, and not try to make changes based on an inaccurate, distorted view of you.

Sometimes, the Recovery Workbook is the missing piece in a person's healing and they don't feel they need the counselling aspect after all. Other's, however, find that the Workbook prepares them to get the maximum out of their future counselling.

Either way, this new insight into what happened can be life changing for many ex Jehovah's Witnesses so if you would like to read more or see some frequently asked questions, just visit my website or get in touch here

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