You may be feeling different these days or maybe you're just realizing you haven't been happy in a long time. Depression, hopelessness, loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, and panic attacks can all take you away from your true self. When people are struggling sometimes they turn to dieting, restriction, binging, over-exercising or obsessive thoughts about their body in order to distract themselves and cope with feeling out of control. Negative life experiences such as trauma, neglect, abuse, and loss can also trigger sadness, overwhelm, feeling stuck, trouble sleeping, and avoidance. I am here to help you find relief from feeling trapped and not yourself.
A journey back to self requires compassion, patience, and different modalities of care. Many factors can influence your journey: relationships, culture, society, personality traits or parts, trauma, life experiences, and so forth. My treatment approach is to explore all the factors that have impacted your suffering and work toward healing. Treatment planning is done collaboratively so we can work together to outline the goals of treatment and set a pace that works for you.
I start with a thorough assessment in order to get to know you and learn about what you want to see change in your life. I utilize dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and acceptance commitment therapy (ACT) to teach coping skills and provide resources. Both of these modalities utilize value based living and mindfulness.
Mindfulness is moving your awareness to the present moment while at the same time allowing yourself to completely accept each aspect of your experience without trying to change any one part (Kabat-Zinn,1990). When you are distracted by anxiety and fear it is difficult to feel calm or relaxed. Instead, you are likely to feel disconnected, overwhelmed, and fragmented. Mindfulness can help change your relationship with the distress, symptoms, suffering, and pain that you experience. An example of a mindfulness exercise is grounding. Grounding involves strategies to help you stay present and know that you are in a safe place (when you are in a physically safe place). These exercises help you learn to distinguish the difference between the past and present. The past may hold suffering, fear, shame and a sense of not being safe. Being connected to what the present holds can lead you away from reoccurring memories and distressing feelings. Mindfulness can also lead to a decreased reliance on harmful coping methods such as drugs, drinking, disorderly eating, and numbing.
Coping methods are not usually sufficient to have full healing. They help you get through the moment and help you learn to cope better in the future, but they don’t remove the causes of the distress. I often use EMDR therapy to treat the underlying components that contribute toward suffering.
Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a complex approach to psychotherapy that incorporates much of the wisdom of other therapies. Although most people have come to associate it with eye movement, EMDR therapy is an accelerated form of information processing that includes an eight phase approach and numerous procedural elements that contribute to its success. EDMR therapy is used within a comprehensive treatment plan to promote recovery from your difficulties.
EMDR therapy involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. Attention is also given to current situations that cause distress as well as to the development of skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. With EMDR therapy, these items are addressed using an eight-phase treatment approach. EMDR therapy helps someone conceptualize his or her memories through a new perspective. After reprocessing the memory of a negative life event the person is able to let go of past negative personal beliefs (e.g. I am not enough, I am insignificant) and replace them with new positive beliefs (e.g. I am enough, I am significant).
Currently, there is extensive research on the successful outcomes of EMDR therapy. To learn more about EMDR therapy visit the EMDR Institute website. Additionally, my podcast, Savor, has an entire episode on EMDR therapy.
If you have any questions about my treatment approach please feel free to contact me.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delta.