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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

Practicing Self Care Creatively

The holidays can be a trigger for those who have any unresolved trauma or grief. Having to see family can bring up all sorts of feelings, memories or sensations. Also during the holidays, we can get overly busy and overcommit ourselves to too many things. The path to self kindness is through pausing when unsure about what choices you want to make and practicing self care. You

5 Ways to Stay Calm This Holiday Season

During the stress of the holiday season, our moods and awareness can be far from peaceful. There will be moments…long moments…stretching into days…and maybe even weeks…that will be overwhelming, and stressful. Where instead of noticing the softness of the morning light, we are in our heads and filled with anxiety of the upcoming day, the family stress, the to-do list, not entirely sure how we’re going to

Can I Kiss You? A Survivor’s Experience at a Date Safe Project Event

Tonight I had the honor of attending Date Safe Project’s “Can I Kiss You?” event presented by their founder, Mike Domitrz. To say that it was incredible would be an understatement. I was blown away. I was honestly surprised at the turnout, everyone was so excited to be there; the entire room was filled to the brim with parents, providers, middle school and high school kids, and university

Healing through Humor

Why are we so serious? Maybe it’s just the area I live and work in here in the Midwest but people are so serious most of the time.  Why does therapy have to be so serious?  I remember that being a discussion in grad school that therapy is serious work.  In a way it makes sense.  My clients come to me with big issues.  They trust me

7 Tips to Heal Your Heartbreak

A bad break-up can trigger an immediate brain-mind-body cascade of emotions, body sensations, and thoughts. It’s a significant experience that can keep you stuck for years, decades, or a lifetime. But that doesn’t have to be your experience. You don’t have to suffer the ongoing emotional effects of a breakup, which include panic, sadness, grief, depression, rage, anger, resentments, guilt, and deep hurt. You can heal your

Breathe in Beauty: An Exercise for Healing from Trauma & Abuse

Here in the Pacific Northwest fall is here in all her glory.  Trees are changing into ballgown dresses of yellows, oranges and crimson reds. Some are adorned in tiny purple and red berries, it is stunningly beautiful. The air is crisp and clean with smells of pine, earth and cedar.  At night it smells of wood burning fires mixed with fresh rain. It reminds me to breathe deeply, as I can’t help but

Use Art to Reconnect with Your Light

My friend and colleague, Courtney Armstrong is a Rapid Resolution Therapist and this post was inspired by working with her.  In Rapid Resolution Therapy they use a guided imagery process to reconnect to your "Higher Self" or "Inner Light." When working with trauma survivors she works to elicit a memory of a peak experience. She has the client embody that peak experience in a vibrant and visceral

“I know it’s irrational, but I can’t stop feeling this way.”

Do you ever feel nagging self-doubt or insecurity that you know is irrational, yet can’t seem to turn off? Often it is because we are still carrying around what I call a negative embodied belief that has inadvertently merged into our sense of self. For example, John was a 48-year-old man who was frustrated by an inexplicable apprehension he felt when disagreeing with his father. As I

Emotionally Abusive Relationships

Recently I was sitting in a Starbucks catching up on my e-mail when it became impossible not to overhear the conversation happening in such close proximity at the next table. A young couple was engaged in the seemingly benign task of deciding what kind of coffees to order. What grabbed my attention was the subtle but powerful way in which the husband continually dismissed his wife’s timid

How Rapid Resolution Therapy Helps Heal Trauma

Have you ever heard of Rapid Resolution Therapy? Probably not. Honestly, before I serendipitously landed in a training, I had never heard of it either.  Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) is a strengths based, dynamic, clinical hypnotherapy approach that works specifically with the emotional mind. Dr. Connelly is the eccentric genius of a white haired man that pioneered Rapid Resolution Therapy.  He has a passion for healing and

Mountain Meditation: A Pillar of Hope

Today I offer you a mountain blessing and meditation to help light your way.  Mountain is fully aware that she can weather any storm that passes around her.  She is powerfully still, strong, gentle, fully aware of her own power.  She is deeply rooted to the ground below, for the earth rises on her gentle slopes. She is fully connected to heavens above as she reaches into

How EFT Helps in Releasing Trauma

This week we will be exploring a healing modality that mixes affirmations and acupressure points which help in releasing trauma. EFT (aka Emotional Freedom Technique, or tapping) is an excellent tool to use to reduce anxiety or overwhelm of any type. Since PTSD and Traumatic stress are forms of anxiety disorders, EFT is highly effective with them. EFT uses 15 acupressure/ acupuncture points to change thought patterns,