Is your intuition faster than your logic?

Ever feel like that little guy in front? Literally running for your life in a whirlwind of danger and betrayal? Think, feel or flee?
Your instincts are powerful messengers that should never be ignored or over ridden by you rational brain.  More and more we are talking in terms of having 3 brains,  a gut brain, heart brain and logical mind.
For most of us this sensor is active and functions well.  Some times this system can go faulty for may complex reasons, such as trauma or dissociation and then it might give us false danger readings.  In this article, we will assume that your intuitive powers are well calibrated and functioning as they were meant to.
If your gut brain is sensing danger and it is at an all time high and your fighting for what literally feels like your survival most of the time, do not let the logical mind talk you out of  what your gut is sensing. Often time we rationally tell ourselves the following excuses to ignore our gut:
-that its not what we are thinking or seeing
-that there is a perfectly logical explanation for what is going on
-that it really can’t be, that we must be too sensitive
-that this would never happen
-that we do not have all the facts and need more
-that this is the first & last time
 or finally…. it does not matter what behavior I see, since, they said they said they care about me or love me.
Maybe your chest is tight and in a panic or your stomach’s in a knot and you cant breath or you feel like throwing up? Trouble seeping waking up with fears?  These are messages from your intuitive body to pay attention, that you might be in emotional or physical danger.
Did you ever ignore the signs only to later find your self shocked by unexpected betrayals, abandonments, lies, infidelities and/or by the outright unexpected brutalities and sucker punches that came later? Often times the impact is worse especially by some one who says they “love you”, “would never hurt you”, or “are trying to protect you”.
Do you find your self “rationalizing unacceptable” behavior time and time again that puts you in harms way? Reducing your expectations so low that you violate your own standards for your minimally acceptable behavior?  Are you overriding your intuitive gut brain by rationalizing what just happened, might not be as dangerous or as unloving as your intuition is screaming out, that it is?
You intuitively knew something was just “not quite right”! Assurances by the other person to the contrary can be false, controlling and manipulative with the goal to quiet your inner fire alarm and continue to put you into an unsafe acceptance of an ongoing dangerous situations and liaison wit them.
Your intuitive “gut” brain is quicker and wiser than your other brains because it does not ponder to think and elaborate,  it works a million times faster and it is there to protect you from danger …..so honor it and RUN.
Carmen Cubillo, LAMFT, LAC, EMDR
NWA Marriage & Familly Therapy

Kindness (Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952)


 

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.

 

-Picture credits:

Westwind Studios
Hand Crafted Web Design
http://westwindstudios.net

 

Power of Images, A Picture says a 1,000 words

That is an often used phrase.  So why is that? How is it that an image can be so powerful? Because we use only about ten percent of our brain power to process data, and to analyze. The subconscious mind and the other parts of our brain operate using emotions, pictures, stories, metaphors and images and connects and processes information at a much faster speed.  Some times this manifests as an intuitive sense in our “gut feeling” or a swelling of particular emotions after seeing an image or seeing some one.  Often times we are not paying attention to all of the images that we are exposed to on a daily basis that end up in our mind.

This is the reason that they say our first impressions of some one is so strong and lasting, and it is often made quickly with little verbal information mostly through the use of non verbal cues and often stays with us. Start noticing your first impression messages that you hear when you first meet some one.

Thus the importance of images and symbols to represent groups, cultures, religions, etc.  The media and advertisers understand the power of the image or logos better than most, when they use images and logos as marketing tools to reach us in ways we often do not even notice.  Researchers are using MRI scans to explore which areas of the brain light up when we are shown different images, in hopes of being able to recreating this stimulating effect in certain part of the brain in order to excite and influence our purchase selections.  There are many images that have become recognized throught history, like the swastika and the peace sign,  some are specific to a generation and or an epoch, some span a longer time period or are even reused or rebranded to have different meanings in later generations

The picture of this woman and her child came to symbolize the great depression and the hopeless poverty and difficult life people  were leading, it summed it all up in a moments glance and will for many years.

The image below even though it looks natural, was a staged for the picture, it was meant to emote  the joy of post war celebrations of having troops back home after WW ll.  A classic picture that has become a symbol for many people of that generation. Looking at this picture instantly brings back a flood of emotions  at a specific  time and place, without having to think logically or analyze any information for people of that era.  Many future generations can understand the message as well.  Images and pictures bring back eras, feelings and memories quickly inside us.

What images and pictures are important for you?

Drawing, and creating them even if we do not think we are artistic is nurturing and healing for us.  Having important images or pictures around us that can give us inspiration, solace, or strength, and as reminders of staying mindful of our intentions, aspirations, and beliefs while staying in our present moment experience are helpful reminders.

Use the power of images to help you set goals for your self and to know what it is that is important in your life.  Maybe use them to say sorry in a different, special and unique way.  If you are dating or in a relationship using images can be a fast way to connect and communicate with some one,  how you are feeling.  Share your feelings with pictures, artwork, symbols to those important ones in your life and connect in a fun way that can be uniquely yours.

Image result for picture of a heart cartoon

Having trouble asking for help?

Wow that was an unexpected surprise!

So are you having trouble asking for help? Yup, there you are, and yes every is thing is just fine and thank you for asking.  You have it completely under control and in fact its not going to change any time soon, with out you reaching out and asking for help.

So how long to wait is the question? Days, months, years? Many people wait in anger or in silence till its sometimes too late, they end up loosing their job, relationship, opportunities, or their health.  Sometimes they wait till later in life to make changes when they could have made many years earlier.

So why is it so hard saying, I need help or I need support?   Or life threw me a real curve ball and I am having trouble adjusting?  Getting a new perspective or adding a few new tools or maybe just being listened to and sharing the story and understand it a different or new way?

That last bump in the road was a tough one and there you are, and it’s ok to ask for help to get back on your feet by going to counseling.  It is not a sign of weakness, but of strength to know when to ask for help.

Road is long ….you are moving right along, back on your feet now, carry on!!

 

Anger & Idioms, our colorful expressions.

Anger seems to be one of our most  often used emotions and often our only “go to” emotion.  Real anger is rarely a primary emotion. Anger is so often expressed  that we have many idiomatic expressions in our language that describe how some people  may feel when they become angry.

We say expressions  like:

  • driving me up the wall
  • driving me nuts
  • hot under the collar
  • blowing off steam
  • blowing our top
  • hitting the ceiling
  • flying off the handle
  • blowing our stack
  • mad as a wet hen
  • rage quit
  • hissy fit

Do any of these sound familiar?  These are all colorful ways that have been weaved into the fabric of our vocabulary and that we use to communicate our frustration, fear, or thoughts of being overwhelmed.  Try for a moment to really notice where anger resides in your body when your feeling over the top angry?

Are you able to visualize any of these expressions? Can you see yourself literally driving up the wall? Seeing that in your minds eye might bring some level of humor to the situation . Ask yourself how important is this really now? And in 25 years?  Is it really about this situation now or maybe there are some unresolved feelings from past that you might not have even been aware of?

You might find that “seeing red” does not always have to be the end result of your anger once you are aware of having anger notice where it resides in your body and of your triggers, and how to release it …. noticing this mind body connection might open up the possibilities to seeing aqua blue, emerald green, sunshine yellow and many more. Take a moment to consider all the other different emotions that we choose from, or at least allow.

Image result for free downloadable images of driving up the wall

 

Attachment styles and your relationship?

Attachment styles and your relationships?  What is your attachment style in your relationship?

John Bowlby (British) and later Mary Ainsworth (Canadian ) pioneering research in developmental psychology, known for their work in early work in attachment.  Ainsworth research in attachment styles explored how a mother’s (ie. caretakers) and infants bond to each other.   She described  3 types of attachment styles in infants. Secure, Ambivalent and Avoidant attachment style.  Suggesting that these early attachment styles are learned from our primary care giver)s) in our early years.  We internalize them as road maps  to then later repeat as adults in our adult relationships.

Secure attachment style is of course the most stable style, yet only about 50% of population is able to create a secure attachment style.   This can create less than stable relationships and over all difficulty in long term relationships or marriage, if we do not fall into a secure attachment style. Secure attachment It is  stable, honest, intimate and manifests as a willing commitment to the other and to the relationship in the long run, even in hard times.

New research shows that attachment styles are both environmental meaning they can be learned by modeling and some speculate, some part might be inherent to us when we are born, as well. Also attachment styles  are now considered more fluid than before, where they were considered unable to change.  The new research shows that  if  some one can model a secure attachment style in a relationship or marriage to an ambivalent or avoidant  that is anxiously attached,  this person might in four or more years have a chance at being  able to change their style to a more secure attachment style.  How ever this is not a given and there are many other factors.

Ambivalent or Anxious attachments manifest with an inherent need to get a lot of affection and attentions, sometimes it never seems to be sufficient.  They are often insecure about  themselves and need a lot of affirmation form others.  They have a fear that their partner will some how  or abandon them, because they are not worthy  or they have a fear that their partner will cheat on them.  Worry seems to over ride trust, and they seem to pursue the other more.  They are usually uncomfortable alone and seek to be in a relationship at all costs even if it is not a healthy relationship.  Sometimes anxious attachment can manifest as a high need for control, or neediness vacillating with anger if unable to get needs met..  Having said that, all manifestations of control attempts of one partner over the other are not always just anxious attachment issues.

An Avoidantly attached person will feel suffocated with real intimacy or too much closeness and have the need for alot of alone time, a high need for privacy and possibly even stray to have other relationships.  They might find a securely attached person too regular and too boring.  Avoidantly attached individuals, like change and excitement they are not very emotionally vested in a relationship, and will be quick to end and restart another relationship without too much time in between.  Their focus is more on themselves and their work. They will be less interested in sharing intimate feelings/ Avoidant often will often leave their relationships when times get  difficult and they feel stressed.  Avoidant  have difficulty establishing a sense of “we” identity.

Newer research from Mary Main now points to fourth attachment style, the Disorganized Attachment style. This is created when the parent has unresolved abuse, trauma or loss, and disorientates the child growing up.  Parents are frightening or frightened and struggle with emotional regulation, the world is an unsafe place.  Disorganized attachment style is full of mixed messages, creating a very unstable environment for the child and later in adult their relationships. Often manifesting as a difficulty in managing stress and self regulation, poor social skills and trust issues.  The adult them will have difficulty with later parenting or in relationships over all.  People with disorganized attachment styles are less likely to feel they need help or to seek help. These styles can be explored in therapy as to how they impact the couple or the individual.

Once you are able to better make sense of what attachment style you developed as a child and how this map is still guiding your life today,  you will be able to gain insight and learn new skills.  Most people can learn to develop  a secure attachment style with time  and therapy or  a securely attached partner.   This information might be useful to know about yourself and your loved one when dating or when looking for a life partner.

 

ONE BODY TWO BRAINS? YOUR GUT INSTINCT?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/

Surprising article in Scientific American Journal that explores the mind body connection. Scientists are now discovering that  people’s “gut instinct”  or “butterflies” are connected with mind and emotions through our body.  This gut instinct or some call it intuition, can process information much faster than our rational mind and it is usually accurate.

This other gut brain “second brain” is composed of many neurons in your intestinal tract and is connected with the brain in your head. The article points out that  it is the seat of your unconscious thought.  It can alert you very quickly to  danger, suspicion, excitement.

People  often say,” I just knew it in my gut”  that is because this second brain contains 100 million neurons,  give or take a few. That is more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.  The second brain can control gut behavior independently of the brain in our head, and it is very connected with our emotions and with our physical illness or health.

More research is needed in the future but preliminary research shows that maintaining a healthy gut contributes to good mental health and vise versa.  So notice your hunches and your gut feelings and be open to their influence, they can provide valuable information.

What is Sensate Focused Therapy and who can it help?

What is Sensate Focused Therapy and who can it help? Can I increase intimacy in my relationship?

Sensate Focused Therapy was introduced by the famous sex researchers Masters& Johnson, and it is a therapy often used by marriage and family therapists or sex therapists that are trained in this procedure to increase a couple’s ability to increase a couples feelings of intimacy, sense of safety and non verbal communication. It starts with increasing one’s own sense of self awareness through intentional touching and observations and eventually after some sessions (usually 6-10) the work will lead to more intimacy, unity, and better sense of  harmony between a couple.  It is a fairly simple and most couples find the practice enjoyable to do. The practice is done at home in private with your partner.  Each couple has unique needs that are taken into account and other interventions might be suggested as the work progresses.

This type of work is great to rekindle and reconnect intimacy in a couple, even for those who for whatever reason feel like “sex” might not be an option for them anymore.  Please call me if you have any questions about Sensate Focused Therapy or if you feel like your couple could benefit from increasing your sensual and intimate connection. I would be happy to talk further and see if it might be beneficial for your couple.

Can fathers have Postpartum Depression or Baby Blues?

Postpartum Depression or Baby Blues? Can fathers have them too?

Post partum is a time with many transitions.  Finally healthcare workers and the populations at large are coming to understand post partum depression or :baby blues: in women.  More and more women are not suffering in silence but asking for help with this.  According to the Mayo clinic  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130

“Postpartum depression symptoms for the mother may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby Yet what about the changes that might take place in fathers as well?
  • Parenthood transition appears to be a time of higher risk of fathers developing depression, compared. Coming to terms with a new identity and a changing relationships and the responsibility of financial consequences of starting a family are all factors to consider.
  • Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.”

Might dad be experiencing any of these symptoms of paternal postnatal depression, or baby blues risk factors? Might you have some or all of these?

  • having a partner with postnatal depression
  • history of depression
  • marital discontent
  • low self-esteem
  • doubts about parenting role
  • first time parent
  • sickly or irritable Baby

There is no manual that comes with parenting. The earlier you address these issues of change and transition, the faster you and your wife can get your family back on tract and feeling better. If you are experiencing any of these baby blues symptoms, help is available now.

Let me know if I can help.

Insurance, Couples Counseling & the Affordable Care Act

Insurance, Couples Counseling & the Affordable Care Act

There was a time where insurance companies and your employer knew a lot less about what you did in your health provider’s office.  Now with the Affordance Care Act more and more people will get insurance and more mental health services are being covered.  Sometimes couples counseling is covered as such, sometimes one of the people in the couples session must be the “identified patient” for insurance billing purposes. Many clients do not know this.  If you use your insurance to covers your mental health services one of you probably will get a diagnostic code in order for you or the mental health care provider to be able to get reimbursement from the insurance company. No diagnosis code, no reimbursement. You may or may not be told or know what your diagnosis that you are being billed for.

Depending on the diagnostic code that might determine how many sessions you will be allowed, sometimes it can vary depending on your needs. Often time’s insurance company or employer will need an update as to your progress on your diagnosis, in order to determine if more sessions will be given.  All this information about you and your diagnosis is given to the insurance company and sometimes as to your employer.

In the past health care information would be kept for five or seven years.  In the paper days, this information would be kept by your health care provider, perhaps shared if referrals were made and then later destroyed. These days it is being most likely stored in the cloud for ever. This information will follow you along with the rest of your medical records, probably for life.  This should  clearly be explained to you.

This is one reason why many people still prefer to keep their mental health care outside of the insurance providers reach.  Having to meet insurance deductibles, having a high co pay and needing an “identified patient” for diagnosis makes using insurance less than appealing for some people.

A more attractive alternative model for many is to have an affordable, non diagnosis model as far as their mental health care. Many people thus prefer to keep their mental health information out of their employers or insurance company’s hands by not using their health insurance.

Remember that if you do use your insurance, be sure to inquire about the following contract details to make a better informed decision as a consumer as to which choice is best for you:

  • Is outpatient mental health covered? Is Couple’s counseling specifically covered? Or only individual?
  • Any preauthorization requirements before you begin?
  • What is your co-pay?
  • Is there a deductible that must be met yearly, before benefits will begin? What is it?
  • What credentials are required of the therapist? There are many types of mental health credentials; will my particular therapists be covered?
  • Will it be in either in network or out of network?
  • How many visits will be given per year?

Ask your therapists to explain your diagnostic code that they are using for insurance billing purposes, it could be one or several codes.  If you have any questions or need clarification ask.  It is important to be fully informed and protect your confidentiality. You have a right to know and make an informed decision.