About Therapy

Charlie

The purpose of this photo is to make you feel warm and cuddly all over. Moments that make us feel this way cause a release of oxytocin in our brains and this generates a sense of well-being which also enables our capacity for adjustment.

For therapy to be effective we need to connect with the therapist. That connection also causes a release of oxytocin which, again, helps facilitate change.

Validation

Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes all we need is to have someone acknowledge and validate our feelings. It is not helpful when people say, “You probably misread the situation.” or what’s worse, “You’re making it up!” This makes us carry the burden even longer and/or makes us angry and conflicted. In some cases, it causes us to disconnect from our feelings which is not good at all.

Anger

In many cases, something unfair usually causes us to become angry. Assuming there is no injury to the brain or substance reaction, understanding the precipitating events and practicing some simple skills can often result in more tolerance and better behaviors.

Addiction

Long term substance addiction usually can be traced back to some kind of trauma. The substance of choice probably helped keep the unpleasant feelings buried. When we stop using the drugs the feelings return and they feel like monsters. Practicing yoga, mindfulness, slow deep breathing and talking to someone who understands, (AA, NA, Sponsors or addiction therapists) moves the trauma out of you so the triggers subside. Medication Assisted Treatment, (MAT), can help you avoid withdrawals and safely detoxify your body. Suboxone and Naltrexone can help. Talk to your prescriber about MAT.

Trauma

There are any number of events that cause trauma, (emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, life threatening events such as car accidents, war, home invasions, natural disasters…) and about 25% of us develop PTSD from such events. Our bodies store these memories in the muscle system. Physical symptoms such as anxiety, fear, sweating, recurring flashbacks, nightmares…, rear up when new situations remind us of past terrors. Our reaction to the current situation may seem out of proportion. This is because past trauma comes forward. Everything your brain knows about feeling scared is brought forward and dumped into your lap. Autoimmune problems can develop if trauma is not addressed. Stay in the moment, take slow deep breaths and help yourself feel safe by looking at pictures that bring happy memories.