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Introduction to Emotion: The wild and wonderful weather of our internal world

Emotions.  The wild and wonderful weather of our internal world. Emotions pose that classic “you can’t live with ‘em and can’t live without ‘em” dilemma. Research has proven that we feel before we think—emotions are not only part of being human, they are a necessity for decision making and learning. And for everyone I work with: leaders, parents, clients, kids—the biggest confusion is the difference between feelings

How To Rid Yourself of Negative Thinking Patterns

After a long, cold winter, now is the perfect time for a rejuvenating spring cleaning. But don’t limit yourself to emptying your closets and scrubbing the kitchen. Your mind needs a good spring cleaning too. I suggest you start by de-cluttering your mind and cleaning out your negative thinking patterns to boost your emotional health. When dealing with stress and anxiety, we tend to think in distorted

Healing, Self Care, and SLEEP

Experts will tell you that there are a variety of ways to deal with and heal from trauma.  There is no denying the accuracy of this statement – every person who has survived personal battles will find their own unique way to overcome trauma.  That being said, there is one thing you simply can’t avoid while you are recovering: self-care.  Unfortunately, when someone suffers from trauma, it

Why Your Partner Runs Away From Conflict (or why you do!)

I want you to imagine that you’re at a cocktail party, and you’re talking with someone you have just met. As people naturally do, you stand a comfortable distance away and start chatting about work, politics, the weather, whatever. But as the chat progresses, you notice that your conversation partner has inched towards you until they are standing uncomfortably close. What do you do? Most people, without

Healing Self-Harm with Compassion

The phrase “self-harming behavior” may call up images of troubled teenagers with cuts on their arms. But self-injury can occur for people of any age, in children, adolescents and adults, whether male or female. This is not at all a teenage fad! People who self-harm or cut are people who are in pain. We have to notice that. The important thing is to notice the emotional pain

10 Tips to Halt Flashbacks

Flashbacks can take many forms. Children and adults can have emotional flashbacks. Veterans can have combat flashbacks. They are part of the aftermath of trauma for many people. A person can experience trauma after an overwhelming experience, such as violence or an accident. Trauma may result from living with others who feel unsafe, such as parents or caregivers who were scary or shaming. In a trauma flashback,

Resilience Can Be Learned

Ever look at someone and think to yourself, “How are you still alive?” Maybe that’s just me and the field I work in, but we all know someone who has been through hell. Someone who either struggled with addiction, abuse, poverty, or other challenging life circumstances. We hear stories of life challenges and think, how did this person make it out? How are they so normal? Or

Why Is Gardening So Good For Our Mental Health and PTSD?

It seems that whenever I’ve had discussions with spiritually inclined individuals, it’s inevitable that someone makes a reference to being grounded or centered. Most people don’t question what this means, but somehow we all seem to know. Just saying or suggesting the two words seems to quickly bring about a sense of calm. Some people may think the terms are synonymous, but there are some distinctions. Being

Actionable Steps To Conquer Overwhelm

It is possible to conquer that dreaded overwhelm. We can conquer it with the right tools and actions. In this blog, we’re going to look at how to conquer overwhelm, as well as how to push it back into a dormant state, where it belongs. For many, overwhelm is a very familiar place. There are people who say to me, “I’ve felt overwhelmed for the last 10

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