An early experience of trauma can have effects that you may not start experiencing until adulthood. It can feel “crazy”! But having PTSD symptoms doesn’t mean that you will always feel that way. It means that you have emotions and reactions that are ready to be processed so that you can begin healing.
While healing from trauma can be a lifelong process, you can often start feeling better in many ways right away! You are still a whole, worthy human being, rich in the capacity to enjoy life in your own ways.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed about recent events. There are a lot of really overwhelming, scary, and depressing things happening! What can you do to maintain your balance, stay grounded, and keep a sense of optimism?
Dr. Glenda Russell is a licensed psychologist and researcher in Colorado with whom I had the great fortune to work during my training in Michigan. In the short video below, she has some really important and reassuringly concrete things to say about moving forward during frightening times.
This clip is only five minutes long, but it can really help.
Did you find this message encouraging? I hope so, and I hope you have friends and loved ones to connect with!
Calling yourself “lazy” or “unproductive” is usually an internalized message of shame from your formative years. The message is “If you would just ‘will’ yourself to do more, then you would be acceptable and worthy. Otherwise, you must just be a bad, unworthy person.”
The fact is, you are already acceptable and worthy, without doing anything to “earn” that worth. Now, you might feel better or happier if you were doing certain things, and they are certainly worth trying, to see if that is the case.
But feeling terrible about yourself is not a good motivator for anyone! In fact, it is likely to worsen your exhaustion, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and concentration, which will make it even harder to do whatever it is you would like to be doing.
We receive a lot of mixed messages about what it means to “talk to someone” when experiencing distress. Does it mean going to a hospital? The ER? Inpatient? Outpatient? Is it mostly for people who are suicidal or experiencing hallucinations? Is it really just for rich people who don’t have survival stress? Where should you even start looking?
Call me biased, but I truly believe that in fact most people could really use some kind of therapy at some point in their lives!
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has a useful graphic (below) to help figure out which path might be the most useful for you to pursue, based on your own preferences and needs.
To be clear, this is primarily about psychology / counseling, which most therapy falls under, rather than psychiatry, despite how therapy is portrayed in most movies and TV shows. (To better understand the general difference between seeing a psychologist versus seeing a psychiatrist, ADAA has a useful explainer here.)
Did you find an approach that sounds like it might work for you? I hope so!
Intersectional Life Counseling and Therapy offers nearly all of these options: in-person sessions (individual and groups when available, and even outdoors!) as well as teletherapy sessions by video. (We do not offer text-based interventions.) See the chart below to compare them!
The physical and health benefits of meditation have been noted for years and repeatedly validated by science. You don’t have to switch to an entirely new lifestyle in order to practice meditation! There are many ways to begin practicing, a little at a time.
Many people with anxiety do very well with the structured approach taken by Headspace (Andy Puddicombe). With simple graphics that clearly explain physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects of meditation, you will find the process easy to understand and implement. Even if you do not get a subscription and only use the first sessions that are free, it is well worth a look:
Today is #WorldMeditationDay and also Headspace's 9th Birthday. A very happy coincidence. To celebrate, both we're unlocking nine of our favorite singles today, free to the world. Check out our thread and get celebrating. pic.twitter.com/cgLBglo0G6
And if you’re ready to go a little deeper into the emotional aspects of meditation, I highly recommend anything at all by Tara Brach!
Meditation: Choosing Living Presence (19:14 min.) A meditation on being present with our living, breathing life (includes body scan and chanting the Om’s in community – a favorite from Tara’s Wednesday night archives).https://t.co/0XK5AoOkKn via @TaraBrach
Our physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects are interconnected and interdependent. This is the case whether we use a psychodynamic approach or a cognitive-behavioral psychological approach. If we are experiencing (noticing) dysfunction in one area, the whole system is actually affected. The good news about this is that by changing things in one aspect, we can affect other aspects as well.
This does not mean that we can simply “think away illness” or that if we can exercise “perfectly” (whatever that would be!) then our thoughts and feelings will just “snap out of it” into rationality and/or bliss. What it does mean, however, is that when we gradually move our habits towards health and balance in one aspect, the other aspects will also move more towards health and balance.
That means when behaviors become healthier, thoughts and feelings become healthier. When thoughts become healthier, feelings and behaviors become healthier. When feelings become healthier, behaviors and thoughts become healthier. A change in any one of them changes all of them!
When we consider the interconnected areas of behavior, cognition, and emotion, the most easily and directly influenced aspect is behavior. We can change what we do, which can help to change what we think and how we feel.
Remember, with any behavior change, the idea is not instant change, but rather successive approximation: doing things a bit more like the goal behavior, and then when that sticks, we do it a bit more like the goal behavior. Attempting drastic changes is less likely to create long-term change than creating and conditioning gradual habit change.
This really interesting clip discusses some ways in which developing–for example–a yoga practice can influence not only thoughts and feelings but also our bodies down to the cellular and chemical level:
As some of you know, many years ago I was a Rotary exchange student to Norway. Today is Norway’s Birthday (Constitution Day)! Norway has more layers to its history and diversity than some may realize. Let’s look at some of them!
And if you are watching Eurovision this weekend, check out Norway’s group, KEiiNO, featuring Sámi songwriter Fred Buljo who incorporates traditional indigenous joik singing style into their performance:
The Sami people are one of Europe's last Indigenous peoples, and have experienced (among other erasures) generations sent to boarding schools. It's a big deal that their traditional song is in Eurovision this year. https://t.co/9wbfk9H9bX
— Bae'd Runner [basically Lillian Kaushtupper] (@_L1vY_) May 17, 2019
You may qualify for a discount if you are a health / wellness practitioner, staff / faculty at a college or university, or staff / faculty at public schools. Please ask for a discount application.
For prospective clients in Pennsylvania but outside of the Lancaster service area, video sessions may be an alternative to in-person sessions.
Meeting face-to-face has some definite therapeutic advantages. This includes helping to develop the habit of placing self-care “on the front burner” long enough to leave the house for a session. Also, meeting in person allows for more thorough communication and connection in both directions via non-verbal cues.
But sometimes it may be worth forgoing a little of that advantage in order to access some other type of therapeutic benefit, such as a specialty or a particular therapeutic relationship. For some there may not be a local option for in-person therapy at all. In those cases, remote therapy can be the best choice.
Our video therapy sessions parallel in-person sessions as closely as possible and are conducted using a HIPAA-compliant video platform.
Dr. Liz is a fully PA-licensed Clinical Psychologist with eighteen years of experience doing therapy for those experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, dissociative disorders, and many others.
~For those of limited means of any profession (including students) we also participate in Open Path, which can be used for video sessions.
Beginning next week, ILC&P is expanding services to include hiking sessions for adult clients in the Lancaster area!
Hiking (or strolling!) sessions will be conducted in a public hiking area during limited daylight hours. You may walk at whatever pace is comfortable for you; athleticism not required! Prospective new clients must attend a standard in-office intake assessment before scheduling hiking sessions.
I am an all-weather walker! Hiking sessions are rain or shine unless conditions are bad enough to qualify for school cancellation.
Clinical service fees and discounts are the same for hiking sessions as for in-office sessions. (For example, if someone qualifies for Open Path sessions in person, they would qualify for Open Path hiking sessions).
Further details will be posted, but clients need not wait to contact us regarding scheduling or with any questions.