Rebus Theatre’s Project Alchemy and The Festival Of Daring Possibilities present:
‘Nye on the River of Life’ Book Launch
A new resource to help explain what happens in the brain with trauma.
November 12 from, 1pm at Tanja as part of Radical Hope in the Garden
Navigate Arts, 1140 Tathra Bermagui Rd, Tanja NSW 2550, Australia
Like many of us Sue Norman and Colleen Weir experienced the trauma of the “Black Summer” bushfires on the far south coast. The local artist and counsellor have teamed together to create a clear, simple way for people to learn about trauma. These presentations have been offered to volunteer and professional groups working with people struggling with survival after the fires.
The pair have also prepared a picture book called “Nye on the River of Life” to help people to learn and teach the process of recovery. This book is to be launched at the Radical Hope in the Garden event at Navigate Arts in Tanja on Sunday the 12th of November.
There are as many different stories about the bushfire as people caught up in it. The experience was so widespread many people have been unable to access the professional support they need.
Recent events have caused people to be triggered by smells, sounds and sights to remember and experience the trauma again. Parents and teachers are now seeing young children express their fears as we experience another bushfire season.
In early 2020 Colleen was visiting her family on the coast when she had to leave in the huge convoy of people driving through smoke and flames to Canberra. Sue’s small community suffered the loss of forty homes and many more outbuildings. The forest and wildlife surrounding her home was devastated.
Realising there was a desperate need for help Colleen came back to the area to work as a trauma counsellor and they met when Sue attended as a client.
“It was about eighteen months after the fire and I guess the adrenaline had worn off,” said Sue. “Colleen was able to explain what was happening in my brain and I was relieved to hear it was a natural response and that I was able to recover.”
Basically, the counselling recognises that negative thought patterns can arise from stresses and responses in the body and so need physical techniques to help heal. These can involve regulated breathing, observing the senses and holding yourself securely to calm the mind and allow the rational brain to be heard.
Clients are invited to locate their emotions within and outside their window of tolerance; naming them and learning to look at their emotions not through them.
Important to this process is an understanding of the basic physiology of the brain.
This gives an explanation of behaviour and feelings that can relieve the shame of being labelled unstable, neurotic or just mad. Neuroscience also shows that these patterns can be changed and recovery from the effects of trauma is possible.
At the end of 2022 Sue was selected as an artist participating in Project Alchemy, a bushfire recovery initiative of the Canberra-based Rebus Theatre. This project provides support for fifteen artists from five shires affected by the fires to develop creative recovery programs in their communities.
As part of her project Sue teamed with Colleen to create the Buffer Project presenting simple-to-understand explanations of understanding trauma and the brain. The book launch is part of the Festival of Daring Possibilities on the 11th and 12th of November.
Project Alchemy artists will be at Navigate Arts on the Sunday taking part in the
Radical Hope In The Garden event. This is the arty-farty-garden-party for a better world – playing with art, nature and community to remind us of what the finer things in life really are.
Project Alchemy is made possible thanks to funding from the Australian Government for the Black Summer Bushfire Grant Program. Rebus is also supported by Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres and the ACT Government. More about Rebus here: https://rebustheatre.com/More about Project Alchemy here: https://rebustheatre.com/projectalchemy/