Therapy Changes Your Brain Structure

Experiences change our brains. Not just in some vague way, but the structures and functions of our brains.

It’s true that our earliest experiences cast the longest shadows on our lives. But we can still heal and change our brains in positive directions throughout our lifetimes.

Yes, medications affect brain function directly, but “talk” therapy can also change your brain. For example, the more you practice thinking in a certain way, the more it becomes automatic.

If you were raised with conditioning (traumatic experiences, chaotic or abusive household) that led to depressive and anxious thoughts, you can practice new ways of thinking that will help to re-condition your brain. This is certainly not to say “just think cheerful thoughts and everything will be fine.” This is about targeting certain patterns of thoughts that you may not even realize you experience.

Thoughts are not the only part of your mental conditioning that can be re-trained, but they are often a good place to start.

Even severe conditions such as schizophrenia can show improvement in brain functioning through “talk” therapy, as research continues to show.

 

Seminars: Mental Health for Medical Practitioners

Mental Health Topics for Medical/Dental Practitioners (individual or team-taught):

Seminar format: Brown-bag or longer (30-90 minutes)

  • Treating Patients with Trauma History
  • Mental Health Issues in General Practice
  • Outpatient Treatment Teamwork With Mental Health
  • Psychology Issues of Medical Students / Practitioners
  • Multicultural Issues in Health Care

Depending on focus of topic and availability of speaker, co-leaders of team-taught sessions may include Dr. Latinia Shell, Dr. Radhika Sehgal.

Previous teaching in related areas has included:

  • York Hospital psychology outreach
  • Undergraduate and graduate classes

Rates vary depending on several factors including length of seminar or training, travel distance, number of attendees and facilitators. Please contact us for further information:

Email:

IntersectionalLife@gmail.com

Phone / fax:

Phone (717) 947-4623 / Fax (717) 947-4625

Workshops: Anti-Prejudice

Anti-Prejudice (individual or team-taught):

Common topics in this area include:

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Gender and orientation
  • SES/poverty
  • Immigration/nationality issues
  • Disability
  • Systemic issues and social context
  • Constructive approaches with self, family, colleagues

Depending on focus of topic and availability of speaker, co-leaders of team-taught sessions may include Dr. Latinia Shell, Nick Miron, Dr. Radhika Sehgal, Tim Hensley.

My approach is based in part on the works of Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw and Dr. Janet Helms, and group/class ground rules are based on works of Audre Lord (via Cultural Bridges) as per my teaching training at Eastern Michigan University by Dr. Nina Nabors.  I also employ experiential intervention methods based on research of Dr. Jason Lillis and Dr. Steven Hayes using cognitive methods (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to defuse defensiveness, resulting in reduction of prejudice.

Previous workshops and teaching in this area have included:

  • Exelon: Three-Mile Island Parents Group
  • F&M faculty and staff at Joseph International Center
  • Undergraduate and graduate classes

 

Rates vary depending on several factors including length of workshop or training, travel distance, number of attendees and facilitators. Please contact us for further information:

Email:

IntersectionalLife@gmail.com

Phone / fax:

Phone (717) 947-4623 / Fax (717) 947-4625

Compassionate Acceptance of Mental Illness

While there are many aspects of mental illness or injury that we can usefully learn to manage and to cope with, we may still have feelings, reactions, thoughts, and behaviors we would rather not have.  We may have internalized harsh or destructive judgments about those symptoms.

It is useful to cultivate an attitude of compassionate acceptance not only for the struggles of others, but also for our own struggles. When we first realize just how many aspects of life have been affected by mental illness, it can be overwhelming. It is also a chance to forgive ourselves and remember that we do not have to do everything “right” to have value as a human being.

This very useful post describes some of the unexpected ways mental illness may show up in everyday life, in things that we often criticize in ourselves or others:

 

Lancaster Pride 2018 – Guest Post by Jessica

This was my first year at Lancaster PA PRIDE FEST and I was not disappointed! There was so much love and happiness in the air the storms blew over and the sun shined for all. I’ve never seen so many amazing people living their best life! The shouts of happiness and pride filled the streets of Lancaster near and fair and brought smiles to each and every person there.

There was no shortage of support

Thousands of LGBTQ supporters attended the 11th annual fest. Vendors lined the 8 blocks of Water Street to show support along with politicians, schools, churches, and local companies. Crafts stands where you could create while talking about your experiences and life with others were nearly everywhere. Companies big and small were out with apparel to please every gender shape and size.

The drag show in Culliton Park was fierce! One side of the stage a beer and mix drink garden, and the other side general admission. No charge this year to enter the event, but so many wonderful fest goers donated. The communities response was overwhelmingly positive states vendors all up and down the streets.

With many people stating this was the best year yet for Lancaster PRIDE! We sure are looking forward to next year as the community gets stronger and the support becomes greater! 

“An amazing organization bringing Queerness to an amazing place. Lancaster Pride has seriously raised the bar for future cities I visit ♥ You are amazing.” -J.S. Via FB

“Best Pride yet!!!! Oh my, you all outdid yourselves! So much to see, excellent variety of stands and food, and the music and Queens were fabulous! Perfect venue and not one little sight of anti anything! Can’t wait until next year!!!! Thank you!” -B.Y. Via FB

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  • Jessica Yingling is our enthusiastic, efficient and creative Administrative Manager at Intersectional Life Counseling and Psychology

Supporting Coworkers and Employees During Social Crises

 

It is common for PTSD symptoms to spike during times of social upheaval, especially for those who are in marginalized groups or who have abuse histories.

Nicole Sanchez, a lecturer at UC UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, has some useful insights about how we can support marginalized friends and coworkers during critical events. She’s talking about race, but much of the dynamics also apply to events affecting LGBTQ folks (and other marginalized groups).

 

 

(Threadreader compiled version here.)

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Responsibility

For those experiencing Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is important to understand the difference between “blame” (which is about “fault” and “punishment”) and “responsibility” (which is about self-management and taking care of what needs to be taken care of).

Blame is not useful, in fact it is injurious. Responsibility is useful and necessary, however.

Every person has different sides or parts of their personality. Those whose sides or parts are dissociated can usefully develop responsibility as a whole by learning to accept and re-connect all parts. Sometimes this means that parts merge, but not always. No sides or parts should be shut out, silenced, eliminated, or disappear. It means the feelings and thoughts of all parts are heard and accepted as valid, though not necessarily acted upon.

The more we can listen to and supportively accept different sides of ourselves (whether we have dissociated parts or not!) the less likely it is that we will act out impulsively in ways we may regret later.

– Dr. Liz

Read more on D.I.D. in this article by researcher Dr. Michelle Maiese.