Deep Adaptation as Psychological First Aid
I’m always reflecting on the value of what we do in the DA forum. Sometimes it seems too theoretical and not “real” enough. But during an emergency visit to assist my dad after a brain injury, I was reassured that our principles and practices are practical and relevant to all kinds and scales of crisis.
I knew it would be hard and I told myself that I am good at doing hard things. I was not wrong. He met me at his door with the words “why is she here and when is she leaving?” In my new third-person role, I appreciated his questions. I had just flown 4000 km from a predictable homelife on a one-way ticket into the unknown.
Like anyone facing drastic changes in their lives, my dad is now a contradiction of denial and despair, his resistance expressed in garbled speech and dismissive waving of his arms. Much like facing the planetary poly-crisis, we both experienced maplessness and a little panic. This is where the skills we practice in DAF came to life for me.
Deeply listening to him over 10 days and witnessing him throw 88 years of memories in the dumpster, I found surprising strength and clarity in the four Rs framework. After a brain injury, what can we hold on to, what can we let go of, what can we bring back and what can we make peace with? Until now, I hadn’t noticed that my tendency to control and fix things had taken a back seat. A new sense of willingness and acceptance allowed me to be of service to him in a way I had never imagined possible. I am home now, not depleted by facing hard things, but buoyant in the knowledge that what we do at DAF is “Psychological First Aid” for the chaos of daily life and the dread of the unknown.