Claudia is a student at heart and an activist by nature. She believes that the relationship between the therapist and the client is the most important tool that facilitates healing. Any person needs a community to heal and guiding the client to create safe spaces, safe relationships, and a safe community in order to heal is vital.
Claudia’s career spanning 33 years includes social work; addictions counselling; health and safety officiation; child and youth care; maternity counselling; counter-trafficking director and activist; training; empowerment of women; group therapy; trauma counselling; motivational speaking; shame educator; just to name a few.
As a survivor of childhood trauma and domestic violence, she has dedicated her life to creating a world where the importance of healthy safe connections for brain, human development, and healing of trauma is understood, embraced, and practiced. She trains various sectors to educate the need for understanding the interplay between neuroscience and human behaviour.
Claudia’s current venture is the Designed to Connect Life Academy where her mission is to assist individuals, couples, groups, businesses, and communities to heal from trauma, abuse, and other issues which block the way to authentic living. This is achieved through training, counselling, consulting, safe circles, and holding space. Claudia is an active Christian and loves to run, read, learn, spend time with her family, spend time in nature and be part of an international movement on The Art of Holding Space.
Tiaan is a minister/life coach with 21 years experience. His mission is to help individuals and businesses to reach their full potential. The ultimate aim is to have a positive impact on society so that we have a better world to live and work in.
He is a director at Maxima Training and Consulting which has been operating for the last 14 years. Maxima Training and Consulting has numerous products that have been developed to help solve every unique challenge of life.
Amongst the areas that are covered are the following: career, marriage/relationships, parenting, spirituality, physical, social, material, financial management and skills development.
Specialties: One-on-one and group life coaching
Soft skills training for corporate and small business
Trauma-informed and Restorative Therapists and Facilitators.
We all are the sum total of our experiences, positive and negative. It is through our experiences with people, from as far back as in-utero that we begin to make meaning of the world and build a mental model/internal working model within our brain, mind, soul and body of how we see/view the world (people) and either react or respond to them.
If our earliest experiences have been regulating, soothing and positive - adding that it does not mean without stress - we develop an inner working model of ourselves as powerful human beings who can navigate through the dysregulation of our nervous system when it is triggered, by "fetching tools" from our experiences which are stored within our nervous system and brain, and connect with people we feel safe with physically, and regulate ourselves to a calm space from where we can make rational sound decisions again.
If our earliest experiences have been ones of chaos, unpredictability, violence, not been recognized as important, and we did not feel safe, then our narrative is that we always need to defend ourselves and that no relationship is a safe place. Then we spend our days in our survival brains All this happens on a subconscious level. So you might not even be aware of it. A successful life is not one where there is no moments of conflict, misunderstanding or overwhelm A successful life is one where I understand my own nervous system and brain's way of making meaning of events, so when I get triggered and dysregulated, I can pause and know the process I need to follow to become regulated and reconnected again.
Model of Therapy
1. Create a space where you feel physically safe as only when we feel physically safe and not overwhelmed, triggered or dysregulated, can we engage in rational and meaning making conversations. So from the first session we help you to become aware of bodily sensations and to begin to add meaning to the discomfort you might feel in your body, at any given time. (Our bodies and nervous system keep the score). We will never move towards a memory or part of your relational history, your body is not ready to explore.
2. We help you to discover (through an adverse questionnaire first) the type of relationships you grew up with and are currently involved in and together we look for patterns which exist. (The brain is an experienced based organ so we tend to choose the same relationships over and over until we develop an understanding of the reason why).
3. We help you to discover the belief system you have developed about yourself, through looking at the relationships with your parents, care givers and the community in which you grew up.
4. This assists you and us to establish what the narrative is you have developed about yourself and your worth in the world.
5. We help you to discover what your survival behavior looks like and how it manifests in your relationships, behavior, and other areas of your life. (work, home, friends).
6. At this stage we motivate you to make contact with parents or care givers, if they are still alive, to find out parts of your childhood you cannot recall, to find out about their childhood and your mother's stress levels in her relationship/marriage when she was pregnant with you. We motivate you to follow this step in order for you to develop an understanding of your ancestors' history and in doing so, develop an understanding and compassion towards them for the way you were raised, which formed the neural patterns in your brain.
7. Once this understanding is developed, we do a meditation with you to "meet your inner child" as you now have developed an understanding as an adult of the adverse experiences your "inner child" had to endure, probably without support. This exercise is to create a different outcome for the inner child as you as the adult can create a different environment
8. Now we assist you to discover any areas in your life where there is shame and we help you to heal the shame - as you can own all parts of your story now.
9. We assist you to discover how strong or not strong your boundaries are by helping you to find out what you say yes to and what you say no to and how easy or difficult it is for you to stay consistent with these boundaries.
10. Throughout this process we assist you with tools to regulate your nervous system, to pause and respond and not react, to become more aware of the messages from your body and what they actually trying to communicate to you, to understand your original narrative but that you are can develop a different narrative now to understand that it is not about being right or wrong but about being powerful and free.
11. The final part of our model of therapy is to assist you when you get stuck in relationships and revisit with you, what happened and what the process was you followed, especially as you now understand your old narrative and the newly developed one. Remember you are on a journey of healing and change but others not necessarily.