What is NEST?
NEST (New Experience for Survivors of Trauma) is a therapeutic programme for adults who have experienced different types of trauma (e.g. abuse, neglect, witnessing violence), deprivation and/or loss. The significant personal losses addressed by NEST include the loss of a reasonable childhood and pregnancy loss (miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth and early infant death).
The aim of therapy is to help a person overcome the psychological conflicts and relational difficulties associated with his/her past experiences, as well as offering a context where s/he can learn essential life skills and more adaptive ways of responding to stressful situations.
The therapeutic process unfolds in 8 subsequent stages:
- The organization of a therapeutic system, which involves informed consent to therapy and commitment to the ground rules of the process, as a foundation for therapeutic work.
- Dealing with traumatic experiences.
- Addressing existential questions, like survivor guilt, and fostering an inner sense of personal worth.
- Getting in touch with the authentic self of the person and with his/her possibilities, through identifying and discarding social masks and grieving the loss of the “person one could have been”, had trauma and loss not interfered with his/her personal development.
- Dealing with the effects of significant personal losses e.g. pregnancy loss that may have occurred in the person’s life.
- Learning essential life skills, like planning, decision making and negotiation.
- Ending therapy. Reviewing progress and consolidating the changes made.
Throughout the therapeutic process the following aspects are facilitated:
- understanding past events and the connections between these and present day difficulties experienced by a person
- identifying, expressing and dealing with feelings of pain, fear, confusion and anger
- learning adaptive responses to trauma, like assertiveness and flight when necessary
- the initiation of natural psychological mechanisms like grieving losses and forgiving hurts.