Hi, I’m Laurinda Jones, a trauma-informed creative play therapist and founder of SageAffect.
I work with children and families who have experienced grief, loss and trauma, and for them to begin to heal the broken aspects of self, they come to therapy, where they have to open up and be vulnerable in front of a complete stranger.
I don’t know if you have ever been in a position like this, but trust me, if you have experienced any form of trauma, it can take a very long time to let your guard down and trust someone with your deepest secrets.
Since I am expecting my clients to be vulnerable, I think it’s only fair that I am willing to show my vulnerable side too. So here goes …
I was raised in the heart of South Africa by loving parents who influenced my love for nature, science, spirituality, music, the arts, and helping others.
Life in South Africa was a little bumpy, and I had to cope with intense emotions during many turbulent times. Luckily, I was able to channel some of these strong feelings by connecting with nature, spirituality and engaging in creative forms of expression.
As someone who experienced trauma back in South Africa, I know just how harsh a teacher it can be. Luckily, as evidenced by my grey hair, I have gained much wisdom as a result (wink). For the past 25 years, I have dedicated much time, sweat, and tears to better understand the human psyche, but more importantly, trying to figure out who I am and my place in this world.
My passion for science, spirituality, and the arts, naturally led to a career as an early childhood teacher, which, over the years, evolved into becoming a counsellor who specialises in Art- and Play Therapy.
Even though I achieved outstanding academic success and raised two beautiful children any parent would be proud of, it was only when I began consulting the wise healer, the Sage within, that I began to feel whole again.
BUT, it has not always been like this!
Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I hit rock bottom, and I mean ROCK BOTTOM!!!
TITLE: Rock Bottom
CREATOR: Laurinda Jones
I was 26 years old at the time and in constant fear. Every day, we were bombarded by horrific stories of adults and children being beaten, mugged, raped, or murdered.
I was just waiting my turn …
My protective, motherly instincts tried to take over, but I felt helpless. Helpless because of the situation in South Africa … and helpless because of my own childhood trauma.
To clarify, my trauma was not about the violence, murder or child rape I witnessed around me on a daily basis. Nor was it about the childhood trauma I experienced …
… these were only the EVENTS that led to my trauma.
My trauma was caused by what was happening inside of me. By the stories I created in my own mind about these events … about what I made these stories mean about ME.
It was an inner trauma not seen or known by my very loving and protective parents.
To echo the words of trauma expert Dr Gabor Maté:
For many years I created stories in my mind about my trauma experiences.
For many years I suffered in silence:
“Why Me?” “What is wrong with me?” “Why am I being punished?” “Why am I so bad?”
My body, mind and spirit were beginning to reveal the ugly cracks of trauma that I so desperately tried to hide. It became more evident in how I reacted to triggers in my environment and responded to those closest to me.
Eventually, I could no longer pretend to be this perfect wife, mother and model citizen who had it all together. I fell to pieces like a fragile porcelain doll.
HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN IS NO JOKE!
I had one panic attack after the other and struggled to understand what was happening to me. I felt terribly weak and helpless and did not even have the confidence to care for myself! Never mind my two young children who relied on me for love, care and protection.
I thought I was the biggest failure as a mom and just wanted to disappear, forever.
Eventually, I begged my husband to take me to see a psychiatrist. In his wisdom, the psychiatrist decided that a week’s rest in hospital with strong medication would be best.
All I can say about that is that it takes a lot of energy to focus on the light in those darkest moments. But the light is there; we just have to look for it.
People who hear my story for the first time often ask what I did to become the person I am today.
- “How did I overcome my anxiety and now remain so calm?”
- “How did I overcome my depression and negative self-talk?”
- “What drives me to follow my dreams and stay positive, even when life knocks the wind right out of my sails every so often?”
In every sad story, if you are willing to look for it, you will find the Hero Inside.
This is exactly what I had to do. And it didn’t happen overnight. It was a long journey. It still is!
Road to Recovery
For the first two years after the nervous breakdown, I spent much time exploring “me” and gaining back control.
I also gave up my career as a hairdresser and pursued a career in teaching.
When we moved to Australia in 2002, I enjoyed many fulfilling years working as an early childhood teacher. These were beautiful healing times where I felt safe enough to explore the awe and wonder of our world alongside the children.
They were my best teachers. Patiently showing me how to appreciate the beauty of this world instead of always focusing on the negative.
The more secure I became in myself, the more I wanted to learn about the human psyche. Over a period of fifteen years, I completed numerous qualifications, including Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Counselling, Art Psychotherapy and Play Therapy.
During this time, I had many different roles working with both adults and children.
~ I supported frustrated parents in understanding their child’s behaviour better.
~ I mentored educators who looked after children in their Family Day Care businesses.
~ I became a lecturer, training adults who had enrolled in nationally recognised early childhood qualifications.
~ I started a Life Coaching business that included hypnotherapy and mindfulness training.
~ I worked as a forest kindergarten teacher and early childhood intervention therapist.
Not too bad for someone who once was so fragmented because of trauma!
Finding my Sage
All along, my inner Sage nudged and guided me to continue growing, learning and exploring.
However, it was only when I was brave and vulnerable enough to explore the neglected, underdeveloped part of my true self, that I finally understood my worth.
Now, instead of seeing myself as someone who is broken and unworthy, I see myself as a creative, caring, sensitive being, DETERMINED to show up as the best version of myself. Finally, I can leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren that will support them in their future roles as parents.
Other than drawing on my life experience and training as a teacher, counsellor, hypnotherapist, and creative play therapist, most people don’t know that I’m also interested in spirituality, going on long nature walks, climbing mountains, joining African drumming circles and being creative.
These are the activities that feed my soul and keep me grounded.
I now see it as my soul’s calling to guide parents/caregivers and children who have experienced trauma, grief, or loss to discover their worth and create a beautiful new life filled with confidence, hope, control and self-worth so they can feel whole again.
I am also determined to use my passion for nature, spirituality, and creative expression to raise people’s awareness to the wonder of our beautiful world, despite the aftershocks of having experienced trauma.
If you can resonate with any of this and are looking for gentle encouragement to discover your worth as a parent, please reach out or sign up to my blog. It is 100% FREE, and includes many useful strategies to support children and parents who have experienced trauma, grief and loss.
If you are ready to book your first session with me, click the button below.
I look forward to connecting with you.