Stay Connected for Monthly Articles, Updates, & Rockstars

Rejuvenation, Self Care, and Sisterhood: The Importance of Women’s Retreats

As women we tend to take care of everyone around us, but do a poor job at taking care of ourselves. We are expected by society to be motherly and nurturing to our children, husbands and friends, but are considered selfish and lazy if we take time for self care. Even if no one around us says these things, we internalize these societal expectations and mentally abuse

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

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

Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder

I live with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Both are difficult disorders to live with and make life very complicated for both myself and my family. Through psychyotherapy I have learnt strategies for learning how to cope with my complex ptsd. Understanding DID: Alternate personalities, known as alters in dissociative identity disorder (DID), are a fundamental part of the disorder. And while most people

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

Why External Validation is the Wrong Standard

When I was about three years old, my father taught me how to swim. He brought me into the pool, had me hold onto the edge in the shallow end, and then walked about three feet away. “Ok, Jennie!” he would shout, “Swim to me!” Delighted, remembering everything from the classes my mom had brought me to at the YMCA, I doggie paddled frenetically towards him. But

Imagine being loved anyway

I am so tired of people lecturing about trust. About how it is the basis of relationships and what ‘3 things’ lead to trust. I’m tired of it because it is all too simplistic. I am tired of it because they try to make it sound neat and clean and easy. Something you can accomplish in a workshop or in some online class. They give you catchy

A Mindful Step in Healing from Abuse

I was somewhere in South America, traveling on a bright yellow bus, staring out the window lost in thought. What was I doing all by myself on this bus, on this continent, where I didn’t know anyone for thousands of miles? I  had thought that if I just packed up and ran away from my problems, that it would somehow miraculously cure everything. Hindsight is crystal clear,

Why Sexual Assault Survivors Blame Themselves

It’s not your fault. Before I dive into a blog article about sexual assault, I had to say that. You may feel like it’s your fault. Not only is that extremely common; it’s also trying to protect you from your pain, which I’ll discuss in this blog article in a moment. But it can’t be said enough that if you were sexually assaulted, it’s not your fault.

Shaping Our Life’s Story

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if the challenging events in your life never happened to you? Would you be the person you are today?  Would you know your own resiliency and strength if it never happened? Even those events that have occurred in our lives that have been so hard to heal from, to overcome, those moments that feel like we are

There’s No Such Thing as “You Made Your Bed, Now Lie in It”

For many people raised in abusive, neglectful, or dysfunctional families, the message "you made your bed, now lie in it" is a common life philosophy taught and promoted throughout childhood. It’s a message typically passed down from one generation to the next, particularly when there was prior victimization or helplessness. This mindset gets normalized and subsequent generations stop challenging its legitimacy. Instead, the belief is that there

Life After Abuse: Don’t Judge Me

Life after abuse brings many obstacles and challenges. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult things after abuse is dealing with the reactions of those you confide in. Whether you wish to confide in a few select people or you decide to confide in everyone you know, anticipating someone’s response can be terrifying. It is impossible to know how exactly someone will respond when you tell them that

Loving a Trauma Survivor: Understanding Childhood Trauma’s Impact On Relationships

Survivors of childhood trauma deserve all the peace and security that a loving relationship can provide. But a history of abuse or neglect can make trusting another person feel terrifying. Trying to form an intimate relationship may lead to frightening missteps and confusion. How can we better understand the impact of trauma, and help survivors find the love, friendship and support they and their partner deserve? How

For Trauma Survivors, Quiet Moments Can Be Challenging

The quieter moments of healing can be oddly disconcerting. Healing in general isn’t quiet: maybe loud is the wrong word, but intense would be accurate. The feelings that go with healing from trauma loom large. The grief, sadness, sorrow, rage, anger, terror. These feelings take over your mind and your life. I have often compared them to a wild cat: a tiger pacing back and forth in

The Protective Power of “I’m Crazy”

In the last few weeks I lost track of how many times different clients uttered the phrase, “I must be crazy” as a way to make sense out of their symptoms or struggles. It’s so poignantly common for trauma survivors to conclude that something is inherently wrong with them. Personal flaws and shortcomings become the explanation for complicated or troubled relationships, unrealized goals that peers have already

10 Ways to Build a Foundation of Trust with a Trauma Survivor

When it comes to survivors (of all kinds of trauma) it takes more work than usual to build and establish trust, the 10 things listed below are not the only things, just the foundation of trust. When working with survivors, a few things need to be clarified. Unfortunately some of these should be a given such as respect but the are not always. 10 Ways to Build a Foundation

I deserved it: How I blamed myself for my abusive relationship

To be completely transparent this is not the easiest subject for me to write about. I am pushing beyond my edge of comfort, as I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone; that what I am about to share about my story, will resonate with other Rockstars who have survived a myriad the struggle of relationship abuse and pain.  Perhaps I am wrong, maybe it

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

It’s A Body Thing

There’s something the body does that reflects what the nervous system does – a reflex, in response to a trigger. I’d like to explore this with you. When a person encounters a trigger, the body closes. What I seem to be noticing with myself and my clients is a popular trigger called “ALLOWING A PART OF MYSELF TO BE SEEN THAT I WASN’T SURE I WANTED TO

We Are All Doing the Best We Can

The topic of perfectionism has come up quite a bit in my office lately. This idea about wanting to be perfect or get the best score, best grades, or be the best parents runs rampant. We are all trying to win some unnamed race to prove what exactly? That we are “winning” at life? That we are somehow doing “better” than the person sitting next to us?