Tag: anxiety

drawing of brain with caption energy psychology

Energy Psychology – Fast & Effective Treatment

When I began studying modalities of energy psychology I was skeptical. The techniques and interventions were strange. But after using these techniques I realized energy psychology was fast and effective for many mental health disorders and clients were pleased by the relief they felt.

I wish energy psychology was a mainstream intervention for psychological disorders. Why? Because energy psychology is fast and effective.

These are some physiological changes that occur in the body that explain how energy psychology works.PICTURE OF ALBERT EINSTINE WITH QUOTE THAT EVERYTHING IS ENERGY

  • Tapping on acupuncture points is thought to down regulate areas of the brain such as the limbic system and amygdala which are activated during stress. These points help to turn off the fight/flight/freeze response.
  • Techniques used in energy psychology change brain wave patterns to lower frequencies. These lower frequencies indicate relaxed states and higher frequencies indicate greater arousal.
  • Hormones such as cortisol, are reduced. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because it is used to activate the body’s stress response during anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Acupuncture points and meridians correspond with connective tissue in the body.  Connective tissue is made of collagen which is a conductor. Therefore, tapping on acupuncture point triggers the endocrine system to regulate the body’s parasympathetic chart showing results for vets with ptsd after using energy psychologynervous system

The simplest answer may be that everything is made of energy and therefore our thoughts and emotions have energy. We can use the interventions offered in energy psychology to instill healthy thought patterns and diminish the intensity of unhealthy thought patterns through the manipulation of the associated energy fields.

The scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of energy psychology is mounting.

103 Studies have been reported in Scientific Peer Reviewed Journals. 102 of those studies reported benefits of Energy Psychology. This chart shows results after 49 vets used an Energy Psychology technique know as tapping. The results are astonishing.

Clients report that not only are the techniques effective but the benefits are lasting.

be in peace – diane

 

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the word Anxiety in text

Anxiety Treatment

Top 5 Approaches

Although anxiety is classified as mood disorder, there are physical and cognitive (thinking) patterns that maintain the condition. Effective anxiety treatment not only addresses the anxious mood, but also the physical and cognitive aspects that support the anxiety.

At Authentic-Life Counseling, anxiety treatment utilizes traditional Western medicine and non-traditional Eastern healing techniques.  The top five anxiety treatment approaches include:

5. Anxiety treatment – Addressing the Physical Aspect

Woman lying down on bed.
Body relaxation techniques such as progressive body scans are effective in anxiety treatment. 

When our body relaxes our mind relaxes. Many techniques are effective in calming the body. Progressive body relaxation is an example of an anxiety treatment frequently used to relax the body. Many guided mediation apps and YouTube videos are available to teach and guide individuals in learning this technique. The important thing to remember is to practice.  The goal is to train the Central Nervous System to calm down so that the fight/flight/freeze response in the body is not so easily triggered.

4. Anxiety treatment – Life-Style Assessment and Changes

This may be a no-brainer but, anxiety treatment must include a thorough assessment of life style patterns. Poor sleep hygiene, exercise habits and diet contribute to the anxiety epidemic. Most people fail to honestly evaluate their life-style habits. Formulating a plan to make changes begins with setting small goals. Be mindful of realistic pacing to reach your goals. Ask for support from your family and friends. Be aware of your accomplishments and reinforce them in a meaningful way.

Woman doing yoga
Life-style habits including diet, exercise and sleep patterns are important considerations in anxiety treatment.

3. Anxiety treatment – The cognitive Aspect

Mindfulness.  Many anxiety producing thoughts project a fear into the future. Mindfulness practice anchors us in the here and now. We are not in the future, we are in the present.  The only place you can touch your life is in the present moment. In the present moment you can begin to notice the coming and going of sensory input. Your eyes, ears, and body are perceiving sights, sounds and physical sensations. Just let the sensations come and go.  Something in you is witnessing the sensations. This is your consciousness or observers mind. Try to be a mindful witness of the present moment. Do not add anything to the present moment.

2. Anxiety treatment – Meditation

woman meditating on bed
Regular meditation practice reduce the symptoms associated with many mental health disorders

I teach all clients how to meditate, because I believe that meditation improves mental health. The intensity of  racing thoughts determines how to begin your meditation practice. The easiest level of meditation is guided meditation. After learning to relax and concentrate during guided meditation, practice evolves into  sitting meditation with a mantra. The purpose of a mantra is to stabilize and concentrate the mind, and relax the body. More difficult still, is releasing the mantra and sitting in observer’s mind. In this meditation practice we let mental processes arise, with acceptance and observance. We do not let the content of the thoughts hi-jack our emotional reaction. The thoughts are simply mental processes.         

1 Anxiety treatment – The Subtle Energy System and Energy Psychology

These acupuncture points are often used in Energy Psychology treatments to reduce anxiety.

In the East, the subtle energy systems of the body are utilized to support healing. The subtle energy systems include the Chakra and Meridian Pathways. Energy Psychology is an evidenced based treatment which combines Eastern subtle energy healing with Western psychological modalities such as exposure therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are.  In the treatment of anxiety, the intensity of anxiety producing thoughts are reduced by moving the subtle energy associated with and maintaining the anxiety producing thought. Conversely, reinforcing belief systems to promote our strengths and capabilities are strengthened through the manipulation of the subtle energy systems.

be in peace – diane

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Mental Health and the 2016 Presidential Election

Your Mental Health and the 2016 Presidential Election

 The Connection Between Your Mental Health and the 2016 Presidential Election

There seems to be a new issue in the offices of many psychotherapist around the country.  People are coming to therapy to discuss the connection between their mental health and the 2017 Presidential election

People are reporting a mental health decline since the election, marked by intense sadness, fear, and anger.

Our relationships with family and friends are taking a hit as well.  The discord in inter-personal relationships make us feel more isolated, invisible and alone which intensifies these emotions.

These  “clinical issues” are certainly not new for therapist.  However, a collective emotional reaction being triggered by a presidential election is a new phenomenon.

If you feel as though your mental health has deteriorated since the presidential election, understanding your reaction, and knowing how to respond with right action and right effort, can help balance and equalize your well-being

Understand Your Emotional Response

If you have been a victim of, or witnessed acts of violence such as sexual assault, bullying or racial discrimination, re-exposure to a similar threat can trigger responses associated with the fight/flight/freeze response such as fear, anger, or sadness. For example, the sexual predatory language used by President Elect Donald Trump may trigger a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder flavored reaction for women who have been sexually assaulted. The same is true for victims of racial discrimination and bulling. The exposure to the recent racially charged acts of violence can trigger a fight/flight/freeze response in those who have been a victim or or witnessed this type of violence.

Empowerment and Healing

If you have felt emotional upset by recent current affairs, this does not make you weak or thin-skinned. Don’t buy into this perspective which only re-victimizes the victim.

Although you may have been victimized, you are still responsible for your own actions, thinking processes and how you regulate your emotions.  

Victims have a responsibility to understand and take care of the part of themselves that is wounded.

When we begin to feel in control again, our sense of autonomy, confidence, and self-mastery is enhanced. Walking a path that empowers, although not easy, is the path which leads to healing.   

What You Can Do?

  • Engage in Self-Care – Do the things that make you feel cared for. Approach yourself with the nurturing love of a mother or father that protects, heals and soothes. Self-care does not mean you must spend a lot of money. Self-care might include  subtle actions such as speaking meaningful words of affirmation and encouragement to yourself.
  • Therapy – Release some of the pain by talking about it. Express your emotions. Therapist are trained to help us understand how we internalize emotions in a hurtful manner such as self-blame. If you cannot talk to a therapist consider a faith leader, a trusted friend or family member who will listen with compassion.
  • Master Yourself – Every long journey begins with the first step. Take the first small step to self-mastery. You do have the capacity to feel in control, safe and connected. Take risk and be willing to try new things. There are others out there who have suffered similar traumas, and like a phoenix, they have risen out of the ashes.
  • Unplug – Many of us have become obsessed with the latest political developments. If watching the news upsets you beyond what might feel like a normal response, take a break. Unplug. You don’t have to put your head in the sand or become uninformed, just take a little break. Instead, allow something uplifting to become the object of your mind such as spiritually uplifting material.

Be in peace – diane

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Watching the news is stressing you out

Is Watching the News Stressing You Out?

Watching the news is stressing you out

Images in the news of  police violence, racial tension, domestic and international terrorist attacks, and a divisive Presidential Election are constantly streaming. These images become part of our conscious mind. The result is that 

Watching the news is having a negative affect on our mental health.

I have noticed relationships between family and friends straining and breaking  as we argue and disagree about the causes and solutions to our problems. What I know about problems and solutions is this: Creative and solutions focused thinking, deep listening and flexibility are the ingredients  needed to solve the complicated problems we face in our families and communities. Stress, worry, ego and anxiety will always prevent collaboration and understanding.

If you are stressed out, understanding the root cause is critical, and will dictate the best course of treatment. The root causes of anxiety vary a great deal from one person to the next. Some of us are predisposed to anxiety because of heredity factors.   

We inherit personality types from our parents which make us susceptible to becoming  easily excited, aroused or threatened.

Anxiety might also be sustained through our beliefs, behaviors, or emotions. When we sustain anxiety we are often engaged in anxious self-talk, irrational beliefs, or disassociating from feelings.

Irrational beliefs often have their genesis in childhood. We inherit them from our family of origin.

For example, if the unspoken family rule was “We don’t talk about feelings”, we may assume this behavior. Irrational beliefs further support the behavior. We may subconsciously  think “I am weak when I talk about feelings”. As the cycle continues as we begin to disassociate. We try not to feel anything when in reality, anger, worry and fear is marinating somewhere deep inside, waiting for the right conditions to erupt. The final nail in the coffin occurs when we begin to only pay attention to the stimulus that supports our entrenched beliefs and perceptions. We see what we want to see. We only tune in to the news or radio shows which will support our pre-existing beliefs.

Short-term causes of anxiety are driven by experiences we have in the world. A personal experience with a traumatic event is the hallmark experience which leads to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Witnessing a traumatic event in which we feel threatened or in danger can create PTSD symptoms.

PTSD is particularly relevant  concern today. When we turn on the news we risk witnessing a traumatic event in which we feel personally threatened.

Here are a few solutions to reduce anxiety, stress and worry.

  • A healthy mind must be supported by a healthy life style.

    If your lifestyle lacks exercise, a healthy diet or adequate rest, try to address these issues first. Begin with small changes. If a gym membership makes you feel overwhelmed, begin with a 15 minute walk.

  • Minimize the personality traits that feed anxiety.

    If you are a glass half-empty personality, try to see the glass  half-full. Don’t expect changes to come all at once. This will be a gradual process.  Start with a paradigm changes few times during the day.  I like the book Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson which provides great exercises for changing how we internalize environmental stimulus from a half-empty to a half-full paradigm.

  • Find a therapist.

    Maintaining causes or short term causes of anxiety, are often sustained through a complex interplay of cognition, behaviors, perceptions, and emoting. It is very helpful to have an objective person to help you figure it out, provide support, and offer specific treatments. Use list services  such as Psychologytoday.com or Networktherapy.com to find therapist in your area. These websites also allow for searching by criteria such as areas of specialty, treatment options, gender and religion

  • Practice mindfulness.

    Breathe and be in the present moment. Learn to turn down the racing thoughts. Stop right now and practice. Find something in the present moment that is beautiful, graceful, calming. Often we over-look stimulus in the present moment that will bring us peace, joy, or calm. There are many options for learning mindfulness. Meetup typically offers local groups that provide instruction and support for learning and practicing.  I learned a great deal about mindfulness from reading books. You A. re Here by Zen Master Tich Nhat Hanh is beautifully written, simple and easy to apply. If you are new to meditation, begin with guided meditations which can be found on-line for free.

  • Use a comprehensive treatment approach.

    .We are holistic beings. A change in our physical behavior can change our attitude and vice versa. Do not limit your treatment to one area. If you take up exercise, that will likely reduce anxiety or other psychological symptoms. Try to expand your consciousness and be willing to try changing your behaviors, thinking patterns and how you emote. You can then learn to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.

I often tell clients to try and be the best version of you. This best version is not a version that is hyper-vigilant, afraid, or worried. The best version is flexible, expressive, authentic, happy and calm. Be this. The world needs you at your best.

be well, diane

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Energy Psychology Named Evidenced Based Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently recognized Thought Field Therapy, a prequel of energy psychology, as an evidenced based treatment in mental health. This is a big deal particularly to those seeking a holistic approach with minimal side-effects in mental health therapy.

Who Cares ??

As a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMSHA is tasked with educating the public in regards to treatments options that are considered effective. Of course this is a moving target, which changes as theories are proved or disproved. Sometimes, the answer to the question “What is the best treatment for X?”  depends on who you ask and who is asking. Some folks  only consider New Age approaches, fearing side-effects and risk associated with mainstream medicine. Other folks only consider treatments endorsed by government agencies such as SAMHSA or a physician. The New Age crowd have been using energy psychology for awhile. The recognition by SAMHSA will offer more conservative individuals another option.  Who cares about the SAMSHA endorsement? My answer would be those who consider New Age approaches to be “out-there”, and want empirically based evidence to support their treatment decisions, with as few side effects as possible.

For the Traditionalist

Energy Psychology is a smart pairing of traditional psychological interventions which are tried and true, with Eastern ancient approaches to healing, which have been used for thousands of years. Traditional psychological interventions which are also utilized in Energy Psychology include:

  • affirmations which support a new and more positive beliefs or thought patterns
  • exposure therapy which suggest that progressive and continued exposure to a traumatic event results in desensitizing the responses when re-callling the event
    • exposure therapy is used to treat phobias and often post traumatic stress disorder
  • changing brain chemistry by releasing endorphins which help regulate mood
  • slows the fight/flight/freeze response in the central nervous system

Specifically…

The endorsements by SAMSHA recognized Energy Psychology as effective in the treatment for the following:

  • Personal Resilience
  • Self Concept
  • Self Regulation
  • Trauma
  • Stress Related

The endorsements by SAMSHA recognized Energy Psychology as promising in the treatment for the following:

  • Depression and Depressive Symptoms
  • General Functioning and Well-Being
  • Phobia, Panic and Generalized Anxiety Disorders

If you have any questions re. how Energy Psychology may help treat a condition, please do not hesitate to call Authentic Life Counseling. We have used this treatment option to help many people with a variety of mental health problems feel better. I will do my best to answer your questions.

be in peace – diane

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Energy Healing Therapy… Much Ado About Something

Energy Healing Therapy…Much Ado About Something

Energy Therapy uses the subtle energy of our thoughts and emotions to promote psychological health.
Energy Therapy uses the subtle energy of our thoughts and emotions to promote psychological health.

There is currently a great deal of buzz and excitement in mental health regarding the multi-faceted modality known as Energy Healing. While specific techniques used in energy healing may vary, the various protocols rely on manipulating the subtle energy within our body in order to promote healing. Because we are made up of energy, we can influence our health by attending to the subtle energies which are thought to be aspects of thoughts, emotional reactions and neurological responses.  Like our heart, our temperature, and the protons and electrons that make up every atom of our body, thoughts and emotions are assumed to also have an expression of energy. We can therefore diagnose and heal through the expression of energy contained in our emotions and thoughts.

How Does It Work?

In energy healing, we begin  by honoring the notion of mind-body connection. Certain thoughts, memories, images stimulate a reaction in the brain which is followed by a reaction in body. These reactions can be classified as energetic reactions. Let us take a specific example. Let us assume a person suffers from anxiety. An anxiety provoking thought activates a certain part of the brain, neurons fire, neurotransmitters are released. These signals tell the body to react in a specific manner. In this example perhaps we begin to sweat or our heart rate increases.  In Energy Healing, energy points are activated through touching, tapping or holding as we attune to the anxiety producing thought.   Stimulating the energy point  adjust the energetic reaction that was occurring in the brain and our feelings of anxiety are reduced.  Researches postulate that activating the energy point desensitizes the memory. The result is a change in neurological reactions with lower levels of stress related neurotransmitters and rewiring new neural pathways.

Does It Work?

I know this might seem a little to “out there” for many. Keep in mind, we still cannot prove, measure or explain several expressions of “healing” that are relatable to each of us such as positive thinking, intention, intuition or visualization.  However, several clinical trials support the use of Energy Healing to treat many mental health problems such as anxiety, PTSD, and phobias. These studies are being conducted by esteemed institutions such as Kaiser Permanente, Harvard Medical School and other institutions around the world. Not only are the results demonstrating Energy Healing as effective, in many cases the number of treatments used is much less than traditional psychological interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Much ado about something … indeed

with blessings – diane

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Counseling Is Hard Work

Talking Is Only Part Of The Process

People are best served when they actively work with their therapist to set goals, do homework, acknowledge and dissolve defensive mechanisms, and become more conscious. The talking component of counseling is very therapeutic.  Discussing, admitting or purging your most tender, sensitive, or secret thoughts is an important part of the counseling process. However, it is only part of the process.

Counseling Is Hard Work

If long-term benefits are to be sustained, new skills and tools are needed to solidify new behaviors, emotional reactions, and thought patterns.  There is a reason why therapy is hard-work. Replacing old behaviors, emotional reactions and thought patterns with new ones is an active and ongoing process. There is no finish line. The process is not over at some time in the future. Many times our unproductive responses have become part of our personality. They have been reinforced for years and have become automatic. Sometimes we are not even conscious that these behaviors, reaction and thought patterns are diminishing our health, peace and happiness. It is realistic to acknowledge that changing our automatic reinforced responses will take commitment, time and energy. To make changes requires our active participation in the change process.

Empowerment

We can become attached to our irrational behaviors, emotions and thoughts. Subsequently our thinking becomes clouded and confused by these destructive patterns and we begin to make poor choices. When the suffering becomes unbearable, we understandably begin looking for relief from our suffering. For example, a person who is anxious may have thoughts, actions, or emotional reactions that promote and sustain their anxiety. Identifying environmental triggers which cause anxiety is very helpful.   However active awareness and control of their behaviors, emotional reactions, and thought patterns will be a core component of recovery.   Empowerment, to a large extent, is dependent on our desire and ability to be conscious of how we perceive, define,  attach to and react to our environment.

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drawing of brain with caption energy psychology

Energy Psychology – Fast & Effective Treatment

When I began studying modalities of energy psychology I was skeptical. The techniques and interventions were strange. But …