“What is to give light must endure the burning.”
Been there… done THAT!
You’ve been there…. walked through that door of the therapy room with hope that THIS TIME you’ll be able to summon enough strength to leave your emotionally abusive husband of 20 years.
You’ve done that… decided to stay with your husband now that you understand how you can set stronger boundaries.
You’ve been there… realized that your harmful pattern of taking on too many tasks at once is connected to your childhood when your father neglected your emotions and pushed you to “be the best.”
You’ve done that…. strategically breathing deeply while telling yourself that you no longer need to be the best, setting aside the work that is piling up on your desk for another day.
You’ve been there… gained 20 pounds within a month of finding out your 15-year-old son started smoking marijuana.
You’ve done that… joined Weight Watchers once again to lose this weight, even though you realize that you’re eating to manage your emotions.
You’ve been there… been on edge and unable to sleep since you agreed to give a presentation at work that will likely lead to the huge promotion you’ve been waiting for.
You’ve done that… come up with an excuse as to why you are not able to do the presentation, feeling ashamed of yourself.
About temporary solutions to larger issues…
Some of these strategies may be somewhat helpful, or at least relieving, but they are all temporary solutions to larger issues.
Sooner or later, some, or all of the strategies will fail because they are not addressing the underlying cause or causes of the issues. For all of the above are just symptoms of a larger problem.
For example, the woman who gains weight when her son smokes marijuana has struggled with overeating since she was a child. This behavior became the only way she knew how to soothe herself when her father would beat her mother.
Food based soothing worked so well that as she grew up, food became her go-to to provide comfort for herself in stressful situations. She knew this was unhealthy and wanted it to stop, and at times was able to stop overeating for a while. Eventually, something would set her off and the overeating behavior would come back, making her feel ashamed.
When we experience overwhelming, distressing events like this, our brain and nervous systems start behaving in dysfunctional ways. We may develop anxiety, depression, or low-self-esteem. We may turn to addictive substances or behaviors to cope. When this happens, we need strategies that can intervene at the nervous system level in order to fully heal.
Deeper therapy for deeper issues…
The field of psychotherapy is rapidly evolving. Recent neuroscientific and psychological research have shown us that the more traditional therapies, such as talk therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), although helpful, are very limited because they rely our ability to “think” our way out of our problems.
This isn’t always possible, due to the way our brains and nervous systems process events.
Research has showcased the need for more neurobiological modalities, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), somatic psychotherapy and and Brainspotting therapy. These approaches can access and work through deeper memories of past disturbing events and subsequent nervous system dysfunction.
I want to help you to RESOLVE your issues… not just manage them.
Whether you struggle with low self-esteem, fear, addictions, depression, chronic pain, perfectionism, obsessions, unresolved grief, or problems with relationships…
We can get to the root of your issues through EMDR with integrated somatic psychotherapy or with Brainspotting therapy.
EMDR: I sit face to face with the woman who is overeating. I ask her to notice the emotions, negative beliefs about herself, and sensations in her body when she brings up the memory of the last time she overate.
I then hand her two small tappers-one for each hand. The tappers softly vibrate from hand to hand I ask the woman to “just notice” what comes up as she focuses on the memories. This approach allows any memories to surface and be worked through with the tappers facilitating even deeper and faster processing because the vibration is considered right brain, left brain.
Somatic Psychotherapy Integration: Frequently, I ask, “What are you noticing” and “What are you feeling in your body?” This allows for all memories, even those she doesn’t explicitly remember, because they formed before her brain had the ability to store and retrieve them, to be worked through.
In addition to asking the woman what sensations she is experiencing in her body, I observe her gestures, postures, facial expressions, and movements and may comment on them and/or mirror them back to her, helping her to further process the memories that are held in her nervous system, beyond her specific recall.
Over several sessions, the woman can connect the overeating with her past trauma, to work through her emotions surrounding this, her faulty believe that, “I should have saved my mom.” Her body feels calmer and is finally able to stop overeating for good.
Brainspotting: While sitting in front of the woman who is overeating, I ask her how to bring up the memory of the last time she overate. I then ask her how “activating” the memory is from 0-10 and where she feels the strongest sensation, connected with the memory, in her body. I then help her to find a spot in her visual field where she feels the strongest emotion or body sensation (level of activation). I have her hold her gaze on this spot while listening to soothing music that has a slight, alternating, tone moving from ear to ear. I encourage her to “just notice and see what happens” while she processes the memory. It is her choice whether to share, or to not share, what she is noticing, but she will have my undivided attention and support throughout the process.
Over a series of sessions, the woman’s nervous system will calm down and she will no longer require outside soothing, because she will have gained the ability to do this herself.
Just imagine what your life could be…
Imagine if you were able to walk up to your emotionally abusive husband and say, “No more. Today I am leaving.”
… or being able to balance your need to get things done while being at peace with the fact that you can only do what you can do.
… or being able to deal with stressful events without turning to unhealthy behaviors like overeating.
… or nailing that presentation because you are confident in your abilities.
… or no longer shaking, sweating, and stammering around new groups of people.
… or going through your workday without second-guessing your decisions.
… or coming home to your partner feeling happy!
Are you ready for lasting healing?
It’s time to give up the strategies that don’t work.
If you’re ready to stop the “been there… done that…” cycle, this is the healing you’ve been looking for. Call me today for a consultation: (562) 375-4389.