HEALING2018-07-19T22:58:48+00:00

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Why Therapists and Therapy Can Be Helpful

I have always considered therapy a “gift” and the decision to work with a therapist a proactive sign of self-compassion and courage as well as a healthy statement about one’s desire to learn, grow, and heal. However, for countless people the idea of seeking out therapy and opening up about painful emotions, intimate or shame-based thoughts and behaviors is too daunting, and sadly, keeps them from the

Understanding Self-Harm

First, let's start with a clinical definition of self-harm so we can be on the same page. Self-harm (self-harm and self-injury are terms used interchangeably) is typically described as a way of hurting oneself on purpose in a way that is generally socially unacceptable (as opposed to tattoos or piercings) that is done to reduce and/or communicate strong negative emotion. So generally we think of this as

Transform Your Self Talk through Mindfulness & Emotional Self-Care

A beautiful outcome of mindfulness meditation is the opportunity to slow down and explore our relationship with our minds.  We meditate to understand the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and experiences. This is so important for trauma survivors, mainly because we oftentimes make up a story that the world around us is scary, or that we aren't good enough or that there's something wrong with

Mindfully Feeling like Sh*t

Sometimes, life hits us with an arrow and we feel like shit. We lose our job, a relationship ends, we get sick, someone close to us passes away, someone insults us at work. Sooner or later, physical and emotional pain is bound to show up in life. If you’re hurting there are a ton of reactions that normally show up, all of which are human: Anger toward

Finding You Again After A Bad Break-Up

This was the week of talking to people who have just gotten out of bad relationships. It is such an excruciating process, isn’t it? Particularly if it was not a “we just grew apart” break-up but more of an, “I completely lost myself in this relationship” kind of a thing. I’ve talked a lot with people on how to start to recover from this experience, how to

How to Take a Nap: 16 Tips to Help You Benefit from Napping

If you are like most people, you are probably not getting enough sleep at night. So, what can you do to stop yourself from being a zombie during the day? Take a nap, of course! Believe it or not, napping can actually have a number of advantages, most of which improve your cognitive function. You will be more alert, improve your memory, be productive, and amp up

Trauma: Disconnect Between My Brain and My Body

Part of the experience of a traumatic event is a disconnect between the brain and the body. This disconnect or dissociation can become established as a pattern that continues to happen occasionally in response to triggers long after that person has survived the trauma. However, it’s really important to become connected to your body and its sensations! The feelings our bodies get are supposed to help guide

Trauma and Addiction

Trauma is statistically underreported, not talked about enough, and, as anyone working on the addiction field will tell you, it’s everywhere. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We often associate the disorder with combat vets returning from deployment deeply disturbed by events that have transpired overseas. We often picture irritable old man scanning his living room for safety, suddenly finding themselves diving behind a couch because

Why Asking For Help Is Hard To Do

Despite the fact that we’ve come a long way in our culture regarding the de-stigmatization of therapy, it still seems as if reaching out and asking for professional help is the last option for millions of people. There’s a list of strategies that come before therapy: Talking to friends and family Connecting with clergy Reading self-help books Watching talk shows that offer quick fixes for whatever ails

How to Trust in a Healing Relationship as a Trauma Survivor

It’s good, healthy and human to want love and seek it out. We live longer, healthier lives when we feel close to someone safe. Some people feel painfully disconnected, and long to open up to others. But then they stop themselves from reaching out. As therapists, we want to empower people to build more meaningful connections. For all of us, healthy relationships matter. In fact, deep relationships

Introduction to Mindfulness

I am often reminded that as a Psychologist, I take a lot of my knowledge as “common knowledge” and forget that many not trained in psychotherapy may not know the meaning of some of the terms I use or things I talk about in general. When I ask people if they have heard of mindfulness, I usually get a mixed response. Some will say they have heard

How to Find a Good Therapist

People seek therapy to get help making an important personal change, by their choice or urged by loved ones. Maybe you are being proactive and preparing for a happy event such as a wedding or a new baby, and you want to get off to a strong start. Maybe you are struggling with a relationship, a diagnosis, alcohol or substance abuse. You may be experiencing thoughts and

7 Key Nutrient Deficiencies Linked to Mental Health Issues

I’d been studying for a doctorate in psychology for four years before I had any idea that nutritional deficiencies could cause mental health symptoms. I wasn’t enlightened by a lecture or a clinical supervisor but from casually flipping through my cousin’s undergraduate U.S. History textbook late one evening during her Christmas break. In a section on the American South, there was a description of Pellegra which I

Essential Oils for Healing

When you walk into a room, home, or office, you often notice the scent right away. Often we will identify if a scent is warm or cool, pleasant or unpleasant, relaxing, uplifting, or soothing.  “Aromatherapy” is a term that is, maybe too loosely, used by candle companies and the like. However, I would venture to say that using essential oils are a bit more researched (John Hopkins

PTSD: Why Does It Happen? How Survivors Can Heal

A traumatic event is something no one is prepared to deal with. You may feel your mind and body are in a state of shock from the experience. You may have nightmares, feel jumpy, or find yourself re-playing the event in your mind. You may even feel disconnected from the world around you. What happened was traumatic, and any person would feel shaken up. This is natural

Survivors and Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma

Would you know if a friend or family member was the survivor of a sexual assault? Not necessarily. Many survivors do not talk openly about their assaults—not even to close family and friends. The reason for this choice is because our society has a history of treating sexual assault survivors poorly. You can find numerous examples of survivors being blamed for being sexually assaulted. The comments below

Why You Keep Dating Jerks

Recently a number of clients have asked me about patterns they’ve noticed in their relationships. They keep dating the same “type” of person… and that type isn’t “thoughtful, kind, loving, and generous, with great communication skills.” What they’ve noticed is that try as they might to change the pattern, they keep dating jerks. There are a lot of reasons people do this, and an extensive, in-depth exploration

12 Ways to Be Your Own Best Valentine

In my therapy practice, I’ve often noticed an increase in stress, anxiety, and depressed mood the week before Valentine’s Day. Men and women who are not in committed relationships report feeling more vulnerable, insecure, and even “inadequate” as they face the reality that no one will be sending them flowers, candy, jewelry, or a loving card. I would never minimize the sadness that might accompany being dateless

The Power of Thought: Using Affirmations

We can change how we feel by changing how we think. Affirmations may help break the habit of negative thinking. Negative thinking is often a major contributing factor in chronic anxiety, depression and the feelings of frustration, outbursts of rage, or being “stuck,” all of which are normal responses to unresolved trauma. From ancient, traditional Yoga teachings, it is said that all thoughts are “magnetic” and attract

Why It Can be So Hard to be Kind to Ourselves

At least once a week I see posts on the internet about the importance of being kind to yourself, loving yourself, or self-care. The message is great and an important one. Taking care of ourselves is incredibly important. The problem is, sometimes being kind to ourselves is a lot easier said than done. When someone says, “just be kind to yourself,” it can feel as if someone

Healing through Music

It was warm and breezy that afternoon in a forest nestled in the hills of New Jersey. The girls were bustling around, tiny boxes in hand, eager for the festivities to begin. It was an epic moment: this celebration of freedom was an appropriate end to a week-long journey chock-full of tears, laughter, outbursts of joy and anger. Camp CADI is a camp crafted and created by

Trauma Informed Care: What it is and How to Find It

These days, mental health organizations and individual practitioners are quick to throw around the term “trauma informed care” when touting the paradigms they use to treat victimized clients. But I’m not sure that all providers and agencies really understand what “trauma informed care” means. Certainly, many of them recognize the need to incorporate questions about the possibility of a prior history of trauma, abuse, or neglect during

Happy New Year!

A big Happy New Year from your Rockstar Community!! Thank you for being here with us and inspiring healing and hope every day! The start of a new year always brings to mind the idea of new beginnings. New beginnings feels like hope to me. Together, let's ask ourselves: In what ways will I start my life fresh and anew this year? We often talk about the

New Year’s Resolutions to Nourish the Soul

What I love about this time of the year and the hum of the upcoming new year is that it not only gives us an opportunity to sit and reflect on the lessons we’ve learned in the past year, but it also creates space for putting intention into what we hope to cultivate in the upcoming year. New Year's day is a special day that seems to